MERGER OF HIGH VOWELS IN PAKISTANI ENGLISH: AN ACOUSTIC INVESTIGATION
Non-native varieties of Englishes in outer and expanding circles show a tendency to merge long and short vowels, particularly /i/ & /i:/ and /u/ & /u:/. The current study aims at finding the phenomenon whether Pakistani speakers of English merge long and short vowels or whether they articulate them as distinct vowel phonemes. Fifty participants(twenty five male and twenty five female) from among the students of MPhil English University of Sargodha, all with Urdu as their mother tongue, were scrutinized and selected for the research purpose,observing a meticulous process of selection. Monosyllabic words with /hVd/ context, containing the required vowel tokens were selected and recorded using a carrier phrase. The participants were recorded individually in a noise free atmosphere. Praat was used for the acoustic measurement of formant frequencies F1 and F2, and of duration of the vowel tokens.Tukey’s HSD test for statistical analysis was performed to see whether the results are significant. The results showed that Pakistani English speakers did not merge long and short vowels, i.e. /i/ & /i:/ and /u/ & /u:/, rather they realized them as distinct vowel phonemes.