FOOL-FULL

 

Who pronounces ‘fool’ and ‘full’ 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

Contrary to Hughes et al. (2012), none of our six respondents from Southampton pronounced these words the same, but more data would be needed for reliable results. The homophony between these words is most probably a Southern feature, however, with 13% of speakers from the South possessing it, compared to just 3% in the North. The accents of Northern Ireland and Scotland differ greatly to those throughout England, with fool-full homophony a frequent feature in the speech of these parts (63% and 55%, respectively).