I am wondering whether you hear /æ/ or /eɪ/ in the sound recordings for US English in your LPD software (3rd edition) for the word “bank”. To my ear I am hearing /eɪ/ in all of them (to varying degrees).
I have a US English accent and I find it natural to say the vowel in bank, sank, tank, or thank as either /æ/ or /eɪ/, so I think I can hear the difference.
For instance, the recording of “bank balance” from the US speaker really sounds like /beɪŋk/ … to me. Does it sound like that or /bæŋk/ to you?
I hear bæŋk, with a bit of an offglide of the ɪ type such as many Americans use before a following voiced velar nasal. But it's not beɪŋk - compare what you hear at bane.
I believe there is a phonotactic constraint in English against eɪ before the cluster ŋk. I suppose that means we could say that the opposition æ-eɪ is neutralized in the context of a following ŋk, which would mean it’s meaningless to ask which of the two we get in this context.
I wonder how other Americans would react to Mr Ellerman’s opinion.
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Further to my report of the death of Stanley Ellis (blog, 4 Nov), I would refer those interested to Jack Windsor Lewis’s obituary published in the Guardian (you may need to go to the front page, www.guardian.co.uk, then down through Obituaries | Stanley Ellis), as well as to what he has written in his own blog.
Edward Aveyard has drawn my attention to a press report from the Yorkshire Evening Press dated August 1953.