coffin pronunciation

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 13 19:21:52 UTC 2008

In my Inland Northern, "coughin'" and "coffin" are homophones.  However,
I've found that a lot of Northern Midlands, Northern, and Western speakers
have, as I do, a low back rounded vowel (turned script a), not open o.  So
the vowels in my caught/cot contrast differ only in rounding.


On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 2:53 PM, Matthew Gordon <gordonmj at>

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Matthew Gordon <gordonmj at MISSOURI.EDU>
> Subject:      coffin pronunciation
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I was listening to a podcast featuring 2 thirty-something New Yorkers. One
> of them pronounced 'coffin' with an open-o, and the other ridiculed him,
> saying something about how it's not 'coughin'.
> My question for those of you who maintain the distinction between /a/ and
> open-o: Do you all have /a/ for 'coffin'? I'm wondering whether this is
> another example of a word that varies in its phonemic assignment.
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