saying "ah" for "awe"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Sep 30 16:52:53 UTC 2006

I think you mean "awe" substituted for "ah." (See earlier discussion, though in the light of that there's no way to know what you mean !)

  In the North, "cot" and "caught" seem always to have been differentiated.  In the barbaric rest of the country, they fell together in the quite distant past.

  Many "aw"-sayers profess an inability to hear the difference between "cot" and "caught" even when I go out of my way to demonstrate.  And they mean it, because they're getting graded on phonemic ID.

  I grew up saying "Ahregahn."  There's a character in Dos Passos's _Three Soldiers_ (1921) who talks about the "Oregon Forest" meaning the "Argonne Forest."  I had to switch when a girl from Ahregahn took great exception and made me say "Awregin" like she did.


Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Tom Zurinskas
Subject: saying "ah" for "awe"

I'm hearing the phoneme "ah" substituted for "awe" all the time now. What's
going on. Is it a fad or what? Not good. It gets away from phonic form
consistency and creates words that sound alike but are spelled differently,
mean different things, and initially were meant to be spoken differently,
like "cot" and "caught", "tock" and "talk".

How is it in your neck of the woods?

Tom Z

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