Remember back in December when I posted about vowels? Bearing and Jenny sent me recordings right after I wrote that post, but I am just getting around to writing about them.
So I'm sure you were all so RIVETED by the original post that you don't need much in the way of a recap, but just in case you were traveling or you had some kind of RSS feed hiccup, here's the summary: phoneticians say that when we produce the diphthong "oy" in mainstream American English, we're saying "aw" plus "ih." Some of you regarded this assertion with skepticism, so I shared a spectrogram.
This is my "ih" vowel on the left, contrasted with Jenny's "ih" vowel on the right. She's distributing acoustic energy differently, sending more oomph to that second formant-- the one with the horizontal red line through it. See how the region around her red line is darker than mine, and darker than the third formant, the band of energy above it? (Hm, can you see that in the screenshot? In the analysis window it's really striking. Like first formant, SECOND FORMANT, third formant, fourth formant -- whereas my first three formants are all pretty similar, with a lighter fourth formant. Actually, her fourth formant is pretty high-energy too.)
Although I learned to talk in the south and there are still traces of Kentucky in my vowels from time to time, that spectrogram on the left is me speaking Midwestern. Bearing also speaks Midwestern: Ohio flavored with Minnesota. In her "ih" vowel, energy is distributed more evenly across the formants. Her spectrogram is on the left underneath mine: the first three formants look roughly equivalent, with a lighter fourth formant.
But here's an unexpected wrinkle: Bearing's diphthongs look more like Jenny's than like mine. Down below I've included a snippet in which you can see Bearing contrasting "toy" with "saw-ee." The horizontal red line marks the center of the second formant for the vowel she's using at the the end of "oy." It's a little lower than the formant that characterizes her "ee" vowel (you can see her "ee" at the right edge of the image), but there's is very little of the second formant energy from her "ih" vowel. It's a sort of in-between character. If I had just seen Jenny's, in which the pattern is the same, I would have guessed it had something to do with the fact that southern "ih" vowels can be distinctive. But no: same thing across both productions.