Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 17 15:15:48 UTC 2002

Douglas Wilson:

>>This quasi-developmental phoneme classification is clearest in my
>>speech as regards the cot-caught distinction (which I have
>>well-preserved) when it comes to classifying those two phonemes,
>>especially before /g/. All my childhood words (fog, hog, dog, frog,
>>log, etc...) have the vowel of "caught"; later-learned words are
>>often invariably that of "cot": togs, cog, clog, bog, jog, etc... . I
>>seem to have learned metaphoric (verbal) "bog" before the literal
>>noun. Therefore, I have a variable "bog down" (=become mired in) with
>>both vowels - but now early-morning introspection begins to fail me.
>Why is "g" different? I speak all the "-g" words (I think) with the
>"caught" vowel /O/, but comparable words with other terminal stops have /a/
>like in "cot" ... e.g., "cop cob cot cod cock cog" = /kap kab kat kad kak
>kOg/. Others in my family have the same. My talking RH dictionary seems to
>tend this way too. I think /kag/, /klag/, /dZag/ do seem less 'wrong' to me
>than /dag/, /lag/, /fag/ -- something like Dennis says above. My weather
>radio (Pittsburgh) says "fahg" /fag/ instead of "fawg" /fOg/ ... which
>strikes me (and at least some others) as odd.

For the canonical /a/-/O/ contrast, "dog" (with the "caught" vowel)
is an exception (when I work with colleagues whose interest is in
phoneme-grapheme correspondences and early reading instruction, "dog"
is often highlighted as an exception word). When FogDog.com first
started out, I found the TV commercials in which "fog" and "dog"
rhyme most disconcerting; since I first saw these in Maine, I thought
that they were regional to the greater Boston area, but they weren't.


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