/or/ distinctions and more

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu Apr 13 13:50:48 UTC 2000

Ron is right. Even some of these so-called high-frequency environments can
contain the cot rather than caught vowel. I don't agree with him, for
example, on soggy (always cot for me) but I agree with him and vary with

My rule appears to be this: if I learned one of these high-frequency caught
environment words as a kid, it's caught (frog, log, dog, hog); if it's a
later learned word it's variable or cot (cog, smog, togs, soggy).
Fricatives, hwoever, appear to be an exception. Cough is a kid-word and is
a caught, but lofty is obviosly not a kid word (I don't weant to hear about
it if you knew it when you were three) but is also invariably caught.


>In a message dated 4/13/2000 6:40:10 AM, preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU writes:
><< They appear to still have the caught vowel in the historically
>high-likelihood environments, however (voiced velars [frog] fricartives
>[cough], etc...) so the merger is complex. >>
>For me, an Iowan born in 1940, FROG (and most pre-/g/ words) can only rhyme
>with CAUGHT, but CHIC*A*GO is in free variation, and SOGGY and SLOG are

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