Is the vowel in bulge a Short U?

Here's a recording from a movie. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/83182336/your%20undereye%20vein%20is%20bulging.wav

your under eye vein is bulging

Dictionaries say that the vowel is short U, but it sounds more like Short OO than Short U to me. How do you think she pronounces it, and how do you pronounce it? Thanks in advance

  • I agree with you on that point.It's important to listen to others and be prepared to take advice and I will wait a bit longer untill I get more satisfied.Thank you. – Masa Apr 18 '15 at 23:54

You may be right about this particular speaker; her pronunciation here sounds a little bit like the short OO sound to me as well. Before the L sound, there are not many words where the short OO and short U sounds contrast in English, and it is known that at least some American English speakers* pronounce all of these words with the same sound (usually more like the short OO sound). You may know this already, but the short OO sound is usually spelled with the letter "u" before a L. This recording does not sound too odd to me, but the standard pronunciations of American and British English keep these two sounds distinct.

In my own speech I pronounce them distinctly, so for me, the words "hull" and "full" do not rhyme (the former has a short U, the latter a short OO sound).

In other words where these vowels are not before an L, I don't know of any dialects that pronounce them the same way.

*See this thread on ELU: hull and full

  • I agree, and I see no reason to wait -- great answer. ----- Just wanted to add that (1) this speaker has a bit of a drawl, and (2) when there is an R or an L after a vowel, there can be subtle changes that could cause some confusion. ------ I just listened to Google Translate's recording of this word. I think you'll like it -- I think it sounds like a clear short U. – aparente001 Apr 19 '15 at 1:59
  • This sounds fairly close to standard American pronunciation to me. It sounds as though she's saying "BOWL-ging", which is quite far from the vowel she would use when saying "full". In my accent, the vowels in "bulge" and "hull" are identical in tone/location but of different length. I believe in hers they'd be slightly different in tone. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 19 '15 at 11:32
  • @TRomano: it's interesting that you heard it as "BOWL-ging". In fact, another known merger for some speakers is between words like "hull" and words like "hole". – sumelic Apr 19 '15 at 22:13

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