James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu Jul 18 13:46:27 UTC 2002

In a message dated 7/17/02 4:37:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
flanigan at OHIOU.EDU writes:

> > > I've never come across a hoarse horse.
>  >
>  >Of course not.  That would be a horse of a different collar.
>  Perfect--especially since in my area (SE Ohio) "color" is pronounced like
>  either "collar" (with /a/) or "caller" (with the almost-/O/ of British

I find that odd, because I was born and raised in Louisville KY and have
never noticed anyone making homophones out of "color", "collar", and
"caller".  My play on words would work as well verbally as in writing, (for
me, at least).

color: short 'u" in the first syllable, rhymes with "cull 'er" or "hull 'er"
collar: /ah/ as in "father". rhymes with "holler" or the first two syllables
of "tolerance"
caller: /aw/ as in "arm", rhymes with "taller"

MWCD10 agrees with me, so I guess you'd better have your landspeople start
sending their resumes to Merriam-Webster's phonetics department in time to
influence the 11th Collegiate.

Now as for "hoarse"---MWCD10 provides me with a surprise.  I always thought
it was strictly a homophone for "horse", but the M-W people give a second
pronunciation of /hawrse/, that is, the vowel is the /aw/ of "law".  I've
never heard that one, but I'll concede it may be widespread somewhere.  (A
friend in high school claimed that he and his mother went to the doctor.  Her
throat was red, but he had a hoarse of a different color.  If 'hoarse" were
not a homophone of "horse", that pun would not have worked.)

Now for a surprise.  I was going to say the second pronunciation of "hoarse"
had the same vowel sound as "harsh", but luckily I looked up "harsh" in the
10th and discovered only one pronunciation listed: /hahrsh/ with the vowel
being the /ah/ of "father".  That's a new one on me, since I pronounce
"harsh" with the /aw/ vowel of "arm".

So I checked the 10th Collegiate's phonetic-symbol guide.  There are two
examples given for the phoneme specified for "harsh".  One is "mop", which
definitely has the /ah/ of "father".  The other is "mar", which I always
pronounce with the /aw/ of "arm" or "law".

I always distinguish the /ah/ of "cot" and "hock" from the /aw/ of "caught"
and "hawk", but do I have an unusual speech pattern in which most people's
/ahr/ is  converted to /awr/?


     Jim Landau

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