Pronunciation survey - "o" in American

Ryan   Wednesday, September 17, 2003, 16:45 GMT
Maryland is considered a middle Atlantic state. In most of this state, as well as in Philadelphia and New York City, the /ah/ sound has merged with the /o/ sound, so that "father" is pronounced more like "fother." So father and bother are spoken with the same vowel, but with a completely different vowel than how I prounce it. I say father like "fahther" and "bother" like "bahther."

Where this does not happen is in Eastern New England: Boston, New Hampshire and Maine. These places speak the most "traditional" English like the way the British spoke it back in the 1600s and 1700s. I should have specified when I talked about an "east coast" accent as meaning a New England east coast accent. Father, bother and law are all completely separate vowels there.


Tom   Wednesday, September 17, 2003, 18:59 GMT
According to Bronstein's "The Pronunciation of American English", speakers who distinguish between [a:] [o] and [o:] pronounce [o] the British way. Have you ever spoken to anyone who talked that way?
Ryan   Wednesday, September 17, 2003, 19:36 GMT
I was mistaken about Boston before. In New England, they merge the vowels /o/ and /O/, but they pronounce the vowel differently so that a word like "god" sounds more like "gawd."

I've spoken to speakers from New York City who pronounce the /o/ sound and it is about the same as the British sound, although the intonation of the accent is different. Of course, New Yorkers prounce the /a/ in father like /o/ as well, unlike the British.

So I don't really think that there is anyplace in the US where people pronounce the /A/ /o/ and /O/ vowels separately, although not everyone in New York merges the /A/ with the /o/ and I think in these accents, you might hear three different vowels. Many northern speakers pronounce the /o/ sound, but it is in words like "law" that the British prounounce with the /O/ sound.

wassabi   Saturday, September 20, 2003, 04:19 GMT
are canadians allowed to answer this question? or would it throw off the accuracy of the survey (not to be said mockingly, this was in no was meant to be offensive)
Ryan   Saturday, September 20, 2003, 05:03 GMT
It would probably throw off the accuracy. Many of us here are aware of how Canadians pronounce the word "sorry."