Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Sun Dec 31 20:34:48 UTC 2006

As some of us have noted on this list every time the cot-caught merger
comes up, some words have [a] even for us splitters--"calm" and "balm"
among them.  So the merger may not be at issue here.

At 03:32 PM 12/31/2006, you wrote:
>At 2:25 PM -0500 12/31/06, David Bowie wrote:
>>Driving back to Central Florida from visiting family in Maryland for
>>Xmas, i saw a couple billboards on I-95 in Georgia advertising a
>>residential community in, as i discovered from looking at the website,
>>St. Mary's, Georgia (which is in extreme southeastern Georgia). The most
>>noticeable text on the billboards read
>>    cumberlandharbour.calm
>>with "calm" written in a different, more flowing script that the rest of
>>the sign.
>>Well, what caught my mind about this, aside from the gratuitous "u" in
>>the word "harbour",[1] was that it looked like a web address, but i
>>wouldn't expect there's be a .calm top-level domain.
>>About a half-second later, i realized that it was a play on
>>However, i don't have the cot-caught merger,[2] so it was initially
>>opaque to me.
>>Anyway--while recognizing that there is a large military population in
>>that area, which presumably means there are a number of people with the
>>cot-caught merger for whom this would be a transparent play on words, i
>>wouldn't have expected that area to have this merger. Anyone know if
>>this advertisement reflects some sort of cot-caught merger incursion
>>into the South, or if it's just some LA (or wherever) ad agency being
>>clueless about what would work for a particular location?
>>[1] <wave> to the Brits amongst us!
>dot-calm is cute--never seen it.  But "harbour" is quite common in
>non-British contexts of precisely this type--it's intended to
>correlate with the price at which property can be offered.  The upper
>crust factor, don't you know.  I noticed a trendy new "Washington
>Harbour" development with various expensive restaurants and condos
>and offices and such in D.C. a few days ago, and I'm sure I've seen
>at least one or two similar enterprises called "Harbour Place"
>somewhere or other (stateside).
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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