Dating the new open TRAP sound change in South East England


  • Sidney Wood Lund University


The new open trap sound change was reported in the 1980s, in Received Pronunciation. The earliest example found by Fabricius in 2007 was born in 1926, still Received Pronunciation. Jones and Gimson reported only the earlier closer trap. The earliest regional example of new open trap, born in 1866 in Kent, was reported by Wood in 2017. Four groups of informants were studied, RP and regional. The earliest RP speaker found with new open trap was born in 1857, one hundred years before it was noticed. This raises questions like how did Jones manage to miss it? (or ignore it?). Suggested explanations include inadequate vowel theory (the Bell vowel model) and experimental methods (feeling the Bell vowel locations).