Provenance of /Or/ > [ar] / __@ ?

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Sat Nov 17 20:02:57 UTC 2012

I'm not sure what my original pattern was, though my parents (NYC born) had [a] in nearly all or all words in this set intervocalically.  I, however, have [O] in them all, despite living a good deal of my childhood in the NY/NJ suburbs.  I could have picked it up in Chicago, where I lived from 6-14.  However, my high school years were in Morristown, in Morris County, NJ, not far from the Oranges, and my birthplace was a stone's throw from Florida,NY (not the state)in Orange County, so there's plenty of words there in the classthat would come up all the time.  My memory may be playing tricks on me but my impression was that local Morristonians had [O] like me, but the incomers from NY
and farther toward the Hudson had [a] (in my day, distributing very much like rhoticity).  Monroe, NY was also in the [a] area.  But if Philadelphia also has [a], shouldn't all New Jersey have it too?  Am I projecting my Illinois pronunciation on others?

What I remember, too, is Morristonians using [O] and contrasting it strongly with southern NJ's Moorestown [mu:rztaUn], which was always being confused with our place.  We'd never use [O] in the latter.

Throughout, NORTH =FORCE for all areas that I've lived in in this country.

By the way, what's the Eastern New England pattern for <orV>, [a] or [ɒ]?  The last one would equal NORTH in many places there, with NORTH and FORCE being different.  Would Boston and Providence be different?

Paul Johnston
On Nov 17, 2012, at 12:49 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Provenance of /Or/ > [ar] / __@ ?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 11/17/2012 01:36 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> On Nov 16, 2012, at 6:24 PM, Neal Whitman wrote:
>>> I'm sure this has been analyzed somewhere at some point, but I
>> don't know where.
>>> What is the dialect that has /O/ lowering to [a] in a stressed
>> vowel preceding
>>> /r/ and an unstressed vowel? In other words, the dialect that pronounces
>>> "forest" as "farrest," "Florida" as "Flarrida", "Oregon" as "Ahregun,"
>>> "horrible" etc. as "harrible" etc., "authority" as "autharity",
>> but still has
>>> [O] in "fort", "lore," etc.? What is this realization called?
>> It's what I grew up with in NYC,
> Me too.
>> although I've shifted over to [O] most of the time for these; I
>> suspect I go back and forth (on "Florida", "orange", "forest") even
>> though I think of myself as an open-o employer for these (the first
>> group, that is; I've never varied on [O] for "fort" or "lore").  I
>> think of "AH-rinj" as the locus classicus, but as I recall it was
>> getting mocked for my [a] in "corridor" as a freshman in Rochester
>> that led to my abandoning my native vowels in this frame.  I'm sure
>> I never say "flarrist", but I probably did before the fall of 1961.
> Except my vacillations and shifts are different from
> Larry's.  (Perhaps because he stayed close, in New Haven, while I
> moved further (farther?), to Boston.)  For example, I'm sure I seldom
> say "florist" but mostly "flarrist".  But I say "floral", not "flarral".
> Joel
>> LH
>>> I've been vaguely aware of it for many years, but have begun to
>> notice it more,
>>> especially among certain NPR speakers. I even heard one guy on
>> Planet Money talk
>>> about a "flarrist" (florist), which is right in line with the phonetic
>>> environment I described, but was still a new pronunciation to me.
>>> Neal
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