Pronounce "vague"

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jeanbean14
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Pronounce "vague"

Postby jeanbean14 » 2020-09-12, 17:24

I heard an audiobook reader pronounce the word "vague" as "vahg."
Is this a regional thing?
Every dictionary I checked indicated the same pronunciation, vayg. I looked at American, British, and Australian dictionaries.
I found one online post where a Canadian pronounced the word to rhyme with "bag," but it seemed to be a small region of Canada that says it that way.

Do you pronounce "vague" like "vahg"?

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linguoboy
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Re: Pronounce "vague"

Postby linguoboy » 2020-09-12, 20:03

I've only ever heard vague with [a] in the fixed phrase Nouvelle Vague, which is borrowed from French. If you used that pronunciation outside of that phrase, I don't think you'd be understood.
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Re: Pronounce "vague"

Postby Gormur » 2020-09-21, 20:04

Canadian raising has -ag raising, so you do get bag and vague sharing the same vowel sound, [ei]. It's something not everybody has just like the features of certain regional American dialects. Well, it's said that certain American dialects have Canadian raising but to my ear they have something clearly distinct from Canadian raising; even only talking about -ag raising where an American with so-called Canadian raising will say [æ], but perhaps change the length or quality somehow unexpectedly while authentic Canadian raising has [ei] by default.

This reminds me of the word apricot. I say [ei] while more people say [æ]. In any case, you don't say vague with [æ] so that clears up the confusion or at least I hope it does. :)
Eigi gegnir þat at segja at bók nøkkur er hreinferðug eðr ønnur spelluð því at vandliga ok dáliga eru bœkr ritnar ok annat kunnum vér eigi um þœr at dœma

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Re: Pronounce "vague"

Postby linguoboy » 2020-09-21, 22:57

Gormur wrote:Canadian raising has -ag raising, so you do get bag and vague sharing the same vowel sound, [ei]. It's something not everybody has just like the features of certain regional American dialects. Well, it's said that certain American dialects have Canadian raising but to my ear they have something clearly distinct from Canadian raising; even only talking about -ag raising where an American with so-called Canadian raising will say [æ], but perhaps change the length or quality somehow unexpectedly while authentic Canadian raising has [ei] by default.

This is not what is meant by the term "Canadian raising", which refers to the centralisation of the diphthongs /ai/ and /au/ in certain environments. Raising of /æ/ before velars is a completely separate phenomenon, found not only in (Western) Canada but also in much of the American West as well. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Northwest_English#Commonalities_with_Canada.
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Re: Pronounce "vague"

Postby Gormur » 2020-09-22, 0:29

linguoboy wrote:
Gormur wrote:Canadian raising has -ag raising, so you do get bag and vague sharing the same vowel sound, [ei]. It's something not everybody has just like the features of certain regional American dialects. Well, it's said that certain American dialects have Canadian raising but to my ear they have something clearly distinct from Canadian raising; even only talking about -ag raising where an American with so-called Canadian raising will say [æ], but perhaps change the length or quality somehow unexpectedly while authentic Canadian raising has [ei] by default.

This is not what is meant by the term "Canadian raising", which refers to the centralisation of the diphthongs /ai/ and /au/ in certain environments. Raising of /æ/ before velars is a completely separate phenomenon, found not only in (Western) Canada but also in much of the American West as well. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Northwest_English#Commonalities_with_Canada.
You're right, of course. Maybe I'm thinking of something else. It's when -ag words use [ei] instead of [æ], which is heard in other dialects. This is standard in Winnipeg (to use [ei]) but if you travel south to North Dakota it isn't. Still I've read about -ag raising in the Upper-Midwest and I just don't believe it as I haven't run into it after spending lots of time there and in Canada

Maybe a different form of raising :hmm: It should be called something else then although maybe there simply isn't much interest in studying the dialects of that area, so it's hard to describe these things

In simple terms I could say my bag and beg sound different but yours don't; both like beg, or my [æ] is shorter than yours so I'll call it [] raising. I'm not sure. Thanks for listening :hmm:
Eigi gegnir þat at segja at bók nøkkur er hreinferðug eðr ønnur spelluð því at vandliga ok dáliga eru bœkr ritnar ok annat kunnum vér eigi um þœr at dœma

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Re: Pronounce "vague"

Postby linguoboy » 2020-09-22, 1:09

Gormur wrote:It's when -ag words use [ei] instead of [æ], which is heard in other dialects. This is standard in Winnipeg (to use [ei]) but if you travel south to North Dakota it isn't. Still I've read about -ag raising in the Upper-Midwest and I just don't believe it as I haven't run into it after spending lots of time there and in Canada

I know what you're talking about. The link I included in my post takes you to an article which discusses it in the context of Pacific Northwest English. According to the article, it's found at least as far east as Utah. I haven't noticed it around here at all.
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Re: Pronounce "vague"

Postby Gormur » 2020-09-22, 15:12

Well, I was saying that I know what this article is talking about; I looked at it and have seen it before and also the one on Inland Northern American English, but I think this is something else that hasn't been clearly named because it's a different sound from the -ag raising in Canada

Too bad I don't know IPA because I could probably describe it and the different sounds more effectively. Thanks though :)
Eigi gegnir þat at segja at bók nøkkur er hreinferðug eðr ønnur spelluð því at vandliga ok dáliga eru bœkr ritnar ok annat kunnum vér eigi um þœr at dœma

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Re: Pronounce "vague"

Postby linguoboy » 2020-09-22, 15:32

Gormur wrote:Well, I was saying that I know what this article is talking about; I looked at it and have seen it before and also the one on Inland Northern American English, but I think this is something else that hasn't been clearly named because it's a different sound from the -ag raising in Canada

The Inland North has a form of /æ/ raising which results in the breaking of /æ/ into [ɛə] or [eə] (not shown in the chart, but I've heard it in Chicago). Unlike other forms of /æ/ raising, this is unconditional, i.e. it happens in all positions, not just before velars like /g/ or /ŋ/.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


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