You may have been able to guess the decade of recording based upon the topic of conversation; it is possible that what elderly people talked about in the 1970s is very different from what elderly people talked about in the 1990s. In addition, recording quality can be indicative of decade due to advances in recording equipment. Although you may not have been consciously aware of it, you may have also based your decisions on aspects of pronunciation which we know have changed over time. Someone who was elderly in the 1970s will pronounce some sounds differently to those who were elderly in the 2000s. For example, we believe the pronunciation of sounds such as ‘p’, ‘b’, ‘t’, ‘c’, ‘l’, ‘r’ and some vowels to be different today in comparison to in the 1970s. Looking at change between points in time in this way is known as looking at real-time change..
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