/or/ distinctions and more

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Fri Apr 14 18:10:50 UTC 2000

From:    Kim & Rima McKinzey <rkm at SLIP.NET>

: In my experience thus far, it seems that the or (horse/hoarse)
: distinction is definitely disappearing, though older and
: Southerners are most likely to still have it.

: cot/caught breaks even younger.  I don't have the horse/hoarse
: distinction, but I do have the cot/caught.

For my part, i'm from Southern Maryland (south of Washington DC), b. 1970,
and i show the following pattern (i think i got everything under discussion

          merged            distinct
          ------            --------
       horse-hoarse        cot-caught
        which-witch         card-cord

Also, to complete the picture, i'm from an r-ful region, though it was
apparently r-less a century ago. My pattern of cot-caught vowels before [g],
also, runs as follows:

         cot          caught        variable
         ---          ------        --------
         cog            dog            hog
        togs           frog            bog
        agog            log
         jog           soggy
         nog            fog

Interestingly, "slog" isn't a word i'd ever use, having not ever really
learned it except seeing it discussed earlier in this thread. If i *had* to
classify it, it'd have the caught vowel.

And, as a bonus for those of you who've read this far, my wife, b. 1971 and
from Maryland north of Baltimore (with some western influences), has a
near-merger of cot and caught--she doesn't perceive the difference between
them, but she produces it. Other than that, she matches me for distribution
of mergers and distinctions (leaving aside the vowels before [g], which i
haven't inventoried in her speech).

David Bowie                                       Department of English
Assistant Professor                            Brigham Young University
db.list at pmpkn.net              http://humanities.byu.edu/faculty/bowied
   The opinions stated here are not necessarily those of my employer

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