"open o" loss

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Fri Apr 25 02:04:39 UTC 2008

It's interesting to me that you discern this as loss of open o; where
I'm from (central Canada now, western Canada originally), "four" has
open o normally (in emphatic use it might get all the way to [fowr]
for some people, but the open-o version is, I'm pretty sure, citation
form for most people). The citation form of "for" is homophonic with
that of "four", though of course it's much more often actually said
as [fr] with syllabic [r].

So "4" for "for" has always made perfect sense around here. "What
for?" and "What four?" sound exactly the same. And it's not open-o
loss; rather, it's merging in open o.

Which is not to say that's what's up in Georgia!

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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