James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Sat May 19 23:29:01 UTC 2007

>I wasn't disputing your last claim, that there's no real distinction
>between Canadian 'hawkey' and 'hockey'; my understanding is that they are
>indeed merged.

Sorry, didn't mean to imply that you were. I was just giving that
info for the sake of contrast.

>However, it seems to me that the vowel isn't really script
>a but is rather somewhat farther back and slightly rounder, but not as back
>and round as open o--on a continuum somewhere between script a and open
>o.  By the way, as a Minnesotan, I also have the same centralized diphthong
>in 'right' and 'write', though perhaps not quite as far back as you do.

I think you're right, at least for some Canadians; there can be a
little variation in the location of that vowel between local
dialects. I think some work has been done in mapping the sounds in
Canadian English, but I doubt I could find a link to send. In spite
of my presenting the Canadian dialect as rather homogeneous, there
are certainly small variations. For instance, where I grew up
(southern Alberta), "Canadian raising" on the [au] diphthong before
unvoiced consonants (oy, I forgot to say that that one also gets [a]
in it) was not a notable feature, but in much of southern Ontario it
is. But the raising on [ai] that you describe before unvoiced
consonants was certainly present there as here.

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

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