Raleigh, N.C. -- awesome or aw-dropping?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Feb 15 05:43:21 UTC 2014

On 2/14/2014 9:45 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Raleigh, N.C. -- awesome or aw-dropping?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 8:12 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>>> Cf. HOG and DOG.
>>> JL
>> Right.  I think we discussed these a while back.  For me (NYC, b. 1945), nothing rhymes with "dog" but "blawg".
> On the pronunciation of "blog" vs. "blawg", see my Language Log post of 1/24/06:
> ----
> http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002780.html
> For speakers with the cot-caught merger of low back vowels (such as
> most residents of the western U.S.), the vowel in _blog_ merges with
> the vowel in _law_, with the result that _blawg_ is homonymous with
> _blog_. Speakers without the merger tend to use the _cot_ vowel for
> most words ending in _-og_, with the exception of _dog_ and
> occasionally other common words. _Blog_ is not (yet!) common enough to
> be subject to this lexical diffusion and thus remains distinct from
> _blawg_ for most speakers lacking the merger.
> ----
> I don't think "blog" has become common enough in the intervening six
> years to join the "dog" class for us non-mergerers.

Some of us non-mergerers (e.g., myself, my family, Dennis Preston [2002,
this list], John Lawler [2006, LanguageLog]) use the "caught" vowel (I
write /O/) pretty generally for "-og" words. I would pronounce "blog"
exactly the same as "blawg" /blOg/, rhyming perfectly with "dog" /dOg/,
"hog" /hOg/, etc. ... but different from "blague" /blag/.

-- Doug Wilson

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

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