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

Paul Johnston paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU
Sun Nov 18 04:14:26 UTC 2012

Funny you mention that, Ben.  In Morris County, we do have a split short-a, mostly like the New York City pattern, but with some minor differences.  If I am anything to go on, I have an intermediate value before/N/ in bang, etc. (some raising, no diphthongization) and variation before /g/.  There is also no word-initial constraint.  Otherwise, it's like New York.  The allophony of /a~A/ (and /ai~Ai/) is also like New York.

Paul Johnston

On Nov 17, 2012, at 4:32 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Provenance of /Or/ > [ar] / __@ ?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sat, Nov 17, 2012 at 3:02 PM, Paul Johnston wrote:
>> 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?
> Nope. Consider another dialectal discontinuity -- the "short-a split,"
> found in NYC and Philly, but not in the band of central NJ falling
> between those two cities' orbits of influence.
> I grew up in that central region (near Flemington in Hunterdon
> County), and I don't recall locals using the AH-rinj pattern either.
> --bgz
> --
> Ben Zimmer
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