/or/ distinctions and more

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Apr 18 17:51:30 UTC 2000

Dale Coye writes:

>In a message dated 4/13/00 12:49:07 PM EST, laurence.horn at YALE.EDU writes:
><< I grew up with the New Yorker's [ar] for all of these (that is, low
> relatively back unrounded, as in CAR), but when I went to college in
> upstate New Yorker, I became self-conscious enough to adapt to the
> indigenous [or] (as in SORE, with open o/backward c) in such words as
> "forest", "moral", "orange", "Oregon", and especially "corridor"--after my
> KAH-r at -dor pronunciation got mocked once too often for my comfort.  I
> mostly still use the SORE vowel for these words (although it's somewhat
> variable), but I don't think I ever switched over on "sorry".  I'm not sure
> what determined this, other than the shibboleth status of "corridor" and,
> to a lesser extent, "orange".  Anyway, it's interesting that others might
> have shifted in the opposite (or-->ar) direction.
> larry >>
>Not sure where you were in upstate NY, but Central NY, and I think most of
>upstate NY except near the Canadian border has /ar/ in sorry, tomorrow, but
>/or/ in forest, Dorothy, Florida, and words of that class (orange by the way
>is a nice solid monosyllable /orndZ/).  I believe that Canada has /or/ in
>sorry, tomorrow, sorrow, morrow, but am not sure if it's universal there.
>This is for the speakers who have no horse/hoarse distinction.

Thanks; that may explain why I never unlearned my pronunciation of "sorry",
or "tomorrow" for that matter.  Where I was was Rochester, and it's nice to
have an explanation for that apparent anomaly, although the question
remains why the split should exist for those two classes of /or/~/ar/ words.


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