R-labialization is a process occurring in
Cockneyspeech where the IPA|/r/ phoneme is realized as a labiodental approximantIPA| [ʋ] in contrast to an alveolar approximantIPA| [ɹ] . To speakers who are not used to IPA| [ʋ] , this can sound like a IPA|/w/.
Although traditionally regarded as an idiosyncrasy, speech defect, or infantilism, use of labiodental IPA|/r/ is increasing in many accents of
British English.Foulkes, Paul, and Gerard J. Docherty. (eds.) (1999). Urban Voices. Arnold] The majority of speakers using this realization are from the southeastern part of the country, particularly in London. It is also occasionally heard in some speakers of Bostonand New York CityEnglish.
The IPA|/r/ realization may not always be labiodental: bilabial and velarised labiodental realisations have been reported.
R-labialization leads to pronunciations such as the following:
* red - IPA| [ʋɛd]
* ring - IPA| [ʋɪŋ]
* rabbit - IPA| [ʋæbɪt]
* merry Christmas - IPA| [mɛʋi kʋɪsmɪs]
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