Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Thu Jul 18 22:42:39 UTC 2002

At 09:46 AM 7/18/2002 -0400, you wrote:
>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" [and "haul 'er," to
>continue the pattern?]
>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.
>      Confused,
>      Jim Landau

Now you know dictionaries don't always capture all variant
pronunciations.  I assure you, all three words can be homophones in this
area of Ohio, where merger of /a/ and /aw/ (or /O/) is common but not to
the /a/ of central Ohio and west of the Mississippi. (These are not my
"landspeople", but I've studied the area for 22 years.)   The vowel in
"color" may lower to /a/, OR it may back to form a triple merger with
'collar' and 'caller', but at the intermediate low back rounded vowel heard
in Brit. Eng. "hot" (cf. Kenyon).  One of our dept. secretaries says
"color" with /a/, the other with the "turned script a" used by Kenyon,
Ladefoged, Wells, Kurath & McDavid, et al.  Louisville doesn't merge any of
these sounds, if I understand you and Dennis correctly.  SE Ohio has the
Pittsburgh merger of /a/ and /O/ to "turned script a," but it adds (in the
local "uncorrected" vernacular) the lowered and sometimes backed vowel in
"color."  Trust me.  I've learned that it is also used in Newfoundland,
where one linguist I talked to attributes it to Scots-Irish and/or Irish roots.

BTW, as a native Minnesotan, I have the same three-way split in the test
words that you do, assuming you have "color" with a wedge (or stressed
schwa).  If you mean /U/, as in my Northern "pull," that's a different
matter.  But our mixed use of symbols on this list IS a problem.

Beverly Flanigan
Ohio University

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