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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Feb 15 14:39:19 UTC 2014

On Feb 15, 2014, at 12:43 AM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> On 2/14/2014 9:45 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> 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/.
I do distinguish "blog" and "blague", but only by length.  (And that does correlate with frequency, and possibly by +/- nativeness in this case.)
So do you distinguish "blog" and "blawg"?  (I would also use /O/ for "hawg" if I were, say, reading a banner at a U. of Arkansas game.)


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