FOOL-FALL

 

Who pronounces ‘fool’ and ‘fall’ the same?

Previous findings

Hughes et al. propose that, given its intermediate location between the South West and South East, Southampton features an accent with very distinctive Southern qualities; this is expressed by, amongst other things, a neutralisation of vowels preceding the consonant /l/ (2012: 90). This leads to words like fool, full and fall all possessing the same vowel and therefore being homophonous in this accent.

Our findings

Unlike fool-full and full-fall, fool-fall homophony can be found in substantial clusters of speakers, limited to southern regions of the UK, where 29% of speakers pronounce the two words the same. Homophony between these words is particularly frequent among speakers on the south coast, from Brighton and Dartmouth, as well as the Greater London area.