Peter A. McGraw pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU
Fri Jul 12 15:37:55 UTC 2002

--On Thursday, July 11, 2002 9:56 PM -0400 Mark A Mandel <mam at THEWORLD.COM>

> On Thu, 11 Jul 2002, Fritz Juengling wrote:
> #Perhaps this is an isogloss that separates Oregon from Washington (I
> would be #very surprised, though), because I pronounce 'hock' and 'hawk'
> with all their #meanings exactly the same and I cannot ever recall anyone
> distinguishing #them--that would have struck a chord right off.

And Mark Mandel replied:

> Would it? If you are a conflater, I would not expect you to hear the
> difference in non-conflating speech as clearly and automatically as you
> hear differences that are distinctive to you, such as /ae/ vs. /E/.

On the other hand, I distinguish hawk-hawk (though not merry/marry/Mary,
etc.) and find it outlandish that anyone would merge them, and yet I was
just as surprised as Allen and Anne to learn that I'm apparently surrounded
by people who do (merge them).  I apparently "project" my pronunciation on
those around me.  I don't think there's a Washington/Oregon isogloss,
though I also have to disqualify myself as a "pure" representative of
Pacific NW speech, since I moved here in 5th Grade and both my parents came
from other parts of the country.  However, similar backgrounds are shared
many, many other people residing in the Northwest and contributing to its
linguistic mix.

In another post, Matthew Gordon observed:

"Labov's TELSUR project found noone in the NW who had a consistent
distinction between the low back vowels. The general pattern is as expected
of waves of the future: younger speakers merge while older speakers are

I suspect there must be a lot more complexity behind the word "consistent"
and the variability among older speakers than is captured in this simple
statement, and more to the agreement of Allen, Anne and myself in favor of
the distinction than a simple failure of all three of us to correctly
observe our own speech.

Peter Mc.

                               Peter A. McGraw
                   Linfield College   *   McMinnville, OR
                            pmcgraw at linfield.edu

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