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Hi,
I know that an "a" sound as in "cat" usually is pronunced differently before n's or m's. It becomes a kind of diphthong (/ɪə/, /eə/ or /ɛə/). Example: Damn ---> could be /deəm/

Now the question is: does this happen with "e" sounds like in "bed"? I always hear millions of different ways of pronouncing vowels, but I wonder if this is typical of a certain dialect. The feature I'm talking about is:
again --> /əgeən/, /əgɛən/, etc. instead of /əgɛn/
friend ---> /freənd/, /frɛənd/, etc. instead of /frɛnd/
I also notice this in other cases, not only when the following sound is an n or m. Example:
myself ---> /maɪseəlf/, /maɪsɛəlf/, etc. instead of /maɪsɛlf/

I think I tend to speak that way. Here's an "again" like the ones I'm talking about (direct link): again.mp3

Thanks Emotion: smile
Comments  
The mp3 sound's like a southern U.S. accent. They seem to stretch out the vowel sounds of those words you're talking about. BTW for me at least 'cat', 'can' and 'damn' all have the same 'a' sound.
Hi, thanks... I don't think it is Southern, I think I hear that feature in clearly non-southern accents, probalby western accents...
That way, in "My friend doesn't understand", "friend" and "understand" might rhyme...
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Rhyming friend to stand sounds peculiar to me, and somewhat Texan, perhaps. It's definitely not standard.

CJ
CalifJimRhyming friend to stand sounds peculiar to me, and somewhat Texan, perhaps. It's definitely not standard.

Thanks.
Well, I'm not an expert on accents... but did you listen to the audio clip? Would you say pronouncing "again" that way sounds southern? I think I've heard that feature from Californians, but I told you, I'm really not sure.

Btw, I read something about "phonemic and non-phonemic æ tensing" on Wikipedia... very interesting, but they only talk about the æ sound:
More widespread among speakers of the Western United States and southern Midwest is a "continuous" system. This resembles the nasal system in that /æ/ is usually raised and tensed to [eə] before nasal consonants, but instead of a sharp divide between high tense [eə] before nasals and low lax [æ] before other consonants, allophones of /æ/ occupy a continuum of varying degrees of height and tenseness between those two extremes, with a variety of phonetic and phonological factors interacting (sometimes differently in different dialects) to determine the height and tenseness of any particular example of /æ/.

Nothing about "e" as in "bed"...
did you listen to the audio clip?
Yes. Just now. (But not before my earlier response.) Texas still does not seem that far off. Nevertheless, IMHO, it's a horrible accent, and it may as well be from outer space as from Texas, i.e., it could well be from anywhere.

/æ/ is usually raised and tensed ... before nasal consonants
I've only observed this in its strongest form in one speaker, a guy who grew up in Kentucky. For him Ann was nearly rhymed with rain. I don't hear it much in others, and not at all in most, but so many people here originally came from so many different places that it's hard to know which features of California accents are native and which are imported.

CJ
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Hi, thank you... I really didn't know that could sound southern. I asked another native speaker to listen to that clip. She knows the character and the series I took that clip from, and she told me that character has a strong southern accent... wow!
Thanks Emotion: smile
>> Now the question is: does this happen with "e" sounds like in "bed"? I always hear millions of different ways of pronouncing vowels, but I wonder if this is typical of a certain dialect. <<

These are two different things. The /{/ is realized as [ e@ ] in many dialects before /n/ and /m/. What you are hearing is the Southern "drawl", which is described in Wikipedia as:
"the diphthongization or triphthongization of the traditional short front vowels as in the words pat, pet, and pit: these develop a glide up from their original starting position to [j], and then in some cases back down to schwa.

/æ/ → [æjə]
/ɛ/ → [ɛjə]
/ɪ/ → [ɪjə]

I would recommend imitating these pronunciations unless you want to learn a Southern American accent. /E/ can also be affected by the Northern cities vowel shift, in the Northern US, and the Canadian and California vowel shift:

Northern cities vowel shift: /E/ -> [ V ]
Canadian/California/some Western: /E/ -> [ æ ]

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