Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Fri Apr 21 12:47:54 UTC 2006


Ah dint know you were doin folk perceptual dialect phonology. I
suspect you are right. I'm always amazed that local Michiganders hear
Ontario "about" (and imitate it) as "a boot"); but this is a more
subtle mishearing. The native Michigander diphthong starts at the HOT
vowel and glides to somewhere around the GOOD vowel. The Ontario
vowel starts at CUT (probably backer) but ends in the same place. In
this case the misperception of the onset (which is higher than the
typical Michigander's) causes those tin-eared hearers to hear no
diphthong at all.

Kuhl, huh?


>But the nonnative tends to hear the [o] offglide as the most prominent
>feature of the vowels in both cases, so LAWN and LOAN sound a lot
>alike--especiallybecause, in both cases the onsets, while
>phonetically distinct, are quite
>similar (nonback, nonhigh, nonrounded, nontense) and overlap a lot in their
>Of course, we don't mow the lawn very much here in North Carolina, we coot
>(rhymes with BOOK) the grice.
>In a message dated 4/20/06 5:46:21 PM, preston at MSU.EDU writes:
>>  Jest what ah sed. A lower and fronter onset for LAWN. (And clearly a
>>  fonted onset for LOAN.)
>>  dInIs
>>  >In a message dated 4/19/06 9:22:46 PM, preston at MSU.EDU writes:
>>  >
>>  >
>>  >>  This would amaze me for most of NC, where the low-back vowel has
>>  >>  become a diphthong with a fronter (not raised and backer) onset.
>>  >>
>>  >
>>  >I'm hearing LOAN = schwa + [o]
>>  >                   LAWN = [a] + [o]
>>  >
>>  >which tend to sound a lot alike to the non-native
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
preston at

The American Dialect Society -

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