"open o" loss

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Apr 27 19:33:30 UTC 2008

When people who speak a dialect that distinguishes between "far" and
"for" / "four" speak, I clearly hear that distinction. However, for me
and two or three-odd other speakers, the "natural" distinction is
between "far" / "for" and "four."

In Southern BE, there's yet another distinction: "far" [fa;] vs.
"four" [fou], but, e.g. "farm," is [foum]. Examples can be heard in
any country-blues song.

There are other oddities, but I'll skip them, for now. Among my many
medical hassles is the fact that I'm a migraineur and I can't get
ready for carrying on.


On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 4:43 PM, sagehen <sagehen at westelcom.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>  Poster:       sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM>
>  Subject:      Re: "open o" loss
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  on 4/24/08 2:07 PM, Wilson Gray at hwgray at GMAIL.COM wrote:
>  > What "reversal"? These two words are homonyms, falling together as "farmer."
>  >
>  > At first, I didn't even notice the difference in spelling in Larry's
>  > example, since "farmer  former  fart  fort" all have the syllabic
>  > sound, far - uh, I mean "for," of course - us speakers of the (old?)
>  > Saint Louis dialect. And "for" and "far," seem-like to me, fall
>  > together universally as "far" in r-ful BE dialects.
>  >
>  > For me, spoken English reached the peak of perfection ca.1958. So,
>  > many of my observations may be as outdated as my observations WRT
>  > slang.
>  > ~~~~~~~~~
>  I'm gettin' pretty confused here.  By me, "far" & "for" are quite distinct:
>  rhyming with "tar" &  "tore", respectively.  Thinking back to my childhood,
>  I recalled that my father (formative years 1880-1900, Mansfield, Ohio)  & my
>  mother  (formative years 1905-20, St. Louis, Mo) pronounced the name
>  "Dorothy" as /Dar at thy/ and /Dorothy/ respectively. But I'm pretty sure  they
>  both distinguished "for" & "far" same as me.
>  WRT "Horse" & "hoarse," I can barely hear any difference in my own speeech.
>  (Cot & caught very distinct.)
>  AM
>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>  The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
 -Sam'l Clemens

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list