-og words

Johnson, Ellen ejohnson at BERRY.EDU
Mon Jun 17 17:04:17 UTC 2002

here's verification of Charles's speech from another Atlantan.

only 'dog' has the vowel of 'caught' for me, of the -og words.
I don't have the merger otherwise, i.e. don't use /a/ in all, straw, bought, but some of my students do.  some think it sounds funny though.  they are mostly from metro atlanta.

I distinguish hw/w but most of my students don't.  except I do have /w/ in whoa and wharf.  I don't use an exclamatory why, so I couldn't really judge on that one.

and 'got' does indeed have the (monophthongal) vowel of 'ride', and seems to be an anomaly among -ot words for me too.  for those who are not native southerners, you should know that this is a FRONT vowel, not the low back 'ah' sound as it is often caricatured, intentionally or not.


-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Wells [mailto:charles at FREUDE.COM]
Sent: Monday, June 17, 2002 11:38 AM
Subject: -og words

I say "dog" with the caught vowel and all other -og words with the cob
vowel (not distinguished in my Atlanta-based dialect from the a in father).
 Like Alice Faber, I was bothered as a child by verse that rhymed dog with
other words.

I also noticed when I was young that we said "got" differently from other
-ot words, so got and hot don't rhyme; the vowel in "got" is higher, and is
the same except for length as the monophthong in "ride".  (I say "right" as
a diphthong, however.)  Thus this short vowel occurs in exactly one word in
my dialect, except when I am imitating hillbillies.  I understand that this
feature of the Atlanta dialect has been noticed by linguists.  Does that
mean it is an extra phoneme?

There are apparently phenomena like this in Cantonese and in Arabic:  In
Cantonese, there is one tone that is used in exactly one fairly common
word, nowhere else.  And in standard modern Arabic there is supposedly a
sound used only in the word "Allah" and nowhere else, but I forget the details.

My Cantonese informant once told me, "Cantonese has nine tones, but it only
uses seven."  Now just what does that mean...?

Charles WElls

Charles Wells
professional website: http://www.cwru.edu/artsci/math/wells/home.html
personal website: http://www.oberlin.net/~cwells/index.html
genealogical website:
NE Ohio Sacred Harp website: http://www.oberlin.net/~cwells/sh.htm

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