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There has been a long-standing debate whether the intrinsic fundamental frequency (IF0) of vowels is an automatic consequence of articulation or whether it is independently controlled by speakers to perceptually enhance vowel contrasts along the height dimension. This paper provides evidence from regional variation in American English that IF0 difference between high and low vowels is, in part, controlled and varies across dialects. The sources of this 0 control are socio-cultural and cannot be attributed to differences in the vowel inventory size. The socially motivated enhancement was found only in prosodically prominent contexts.


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