Fronting of /uw/ and cot-caught merger

Moderator: JackFrost

Rom
Posts: 132
Joined: 2005-10-02, 0:30
Real Name: Rom
Gender: female

Fronting of /uw/ and cot-caught merger

Postby Rom » 2005-10-26, 2:24

I was just reading an article that said that the fronting of /uw/ coupled with the low back merger were the main defining characteristics of the West. (or at least that's what I got out of it.) Is the Pacific Northwest the only region in the West that doesn't have the fronting of /uw/ or are there other areas in the West that also lack this feature?

User avatar
Kirk
Posts: 2607
Joined: 2005-05-26, 19:43
Real Name: Kirk
Gender: male
Location: Los Angeles
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Fronting of /uw/ and cot-caught merger

Postby Kirk » 2005-10-26, 6:01

Rom wrote:I was just reading an article that said that the fronting of /uw/ coupled with the low back merger were the main defining characteristics of the West. (or at least that's what I got out of it.) Is the Pacific Northwest the only region in the West that doesn't have the fronting of /uw/ or are there other areas in the West that also lack this feature?


Here /u/ is very clearly fronted, which is one way that Pacific Northwest speech is distinguished from Californian speech. We both have the "cot-caught" merger (which is generally true thruout the Western US and Canada) but our /u/ and /o/ are typically much fronter than a typical PCNW realization of it.
Image
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks

User avatar
Gormur
Posts: 7549
Joined: 2005-05-17, 1:11
Real Name: Gormur
Gender: male
Country: CU Cuba (Cuba)
Contact:

Re: Fronting of /uw/ and cot-caught merger

Postby Gormur » 2005-10-26, 18:18

Kirk wrote:
Rom wrote:I was just reading an article that said that the fronting of /uw/ coupled with the low back merger were the main defining characteristics of the West. (or at least that's what I got out of it.) Is the Pacific Northwest the only region in the West that doesn't have the fronting of /uw/ or are there other areas in the West that also lack this feature?


Here /u/ is very clearly fronted, which is one way that Pacific Northwest speech is distinguished from Californian speech. We both have the "cot-caught" merger (which is generally true thruout the Western US and Canada) but our /u/ and /o/ are typically much fronter than a typical PCNW realization of it.


Now that you mention it, I'm quite positive the cot-caught merger hasn't taken over in Manitoba. If I understand correctly, wouldn't the merger mean that the sounds in "cot" and "caught" sound the same? To my ears, they sound slightly different (the "au" sound being further forward and unrounded, while the "o" is further back and rounded). I'm not sure why I hadn't noticed this before. Maybe it was too obvious and I'm kind of used to it now...

What I notice is that people who tend to watch a lot of TV (i.e. American media) have the cot-caught merger, while I'd say 90% of professors native to Manitoba don't have it (maybe because they tend to overemphasize their Canadian accent). I suppose a lot of it has to do with the relative isolation of the towns, etc, because I tend to hear the "non-merging" from non-Winnipegers; people from the farm communities south of here. Funnily enough, I haven't heard the cot-caught disinction from northern Manitobans (by that I mean, who live north of Winnipeg - esp Gimli, Swan River, Thompson, Churchill, Flin Flon), and almost exclusively from people native to - Steinbach, Morden, and a few small towns.

On another note, I remember first arriving in Winnipeg, and suddenly realizing the dialect was quite different from North Dakota (similar in many ways, but the one thing that stood out was the "o" sound) - because in ND, the cot-caught merger is dominant, while here there's almost an even mixture (since a lot of Winnipegers originally came from surrounding farm communities).

Also, of course the "ah" sound is not a nasal (does that make sense?) in Manitoba like it would be in the MW US (this sound can be heard esp in "Wisconsin", while here the "o" is far back in the throat).

User avatar
Kirk
Posts: 2607
Joined: 2005-05-26, 19:43
Real Name: Kirk
Gender: male
Location: Los Angeles
Country: US United States (United States)

Postby Kirk » 2005-10-26, 22:10

Gormur, that's interesting because most descriptions of Canadian English (barring Newfoundland) claim it's almost 100% "cot-caught" merged, while only 40-50% of Americans are "cot-caught" merged. "Cot-caught" merging is a traditional feature of Canadian English but I guess there are always a few exceptions.
Image
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

I eat prescriptivists for breakfast.

maɪ nemz kʰɜ˞kʰ n̩ aɪ laɪk̚ fɨˈnɛ̞ɾɪ̞ks

Rom
Posts: 132
Joined: 2005-10-02, 0:30
Real Name: Rom
Gender: female

Postby Rom » 2005-10-26, 22:25

Kirk wrote:Gormur, that's interesting because most descriptions of Canadian English (barring Newfoundland) claim it's almost 100% "cot-caught" merged, while only 40-50% of Americans are "cot-caught" merged. "Cot-caught" merging is a traditional feature of Canadian English but I guess there are always a few exceptions.

According to the Atlas, it looks like Saskatoon is in transition, and Winnipeg has two dots next to it: one is mergered the other says: /o/ does not - /oh/ in production or perception. Regina also is "/o/ does not - /oh/ in production or perception". All the other dots in Canada are completely mergered.

User avatar
Gormur
Posts: 7549
Joined: 2005-05-17, 1:11
Real Name: Gormur
Gender: male
Country: CU Cuba (Cuba)
Contact:

Postby Gormur » 2005-10-27, 14:04

Rom wrote:
Kirk wrote:Gormur, that's interesting because most descriptions of Canadian English (barring Newfoundland) claim it's almost 100% "cot-caught" merged, while only 40-50% of Americans are "cot-caught" merged. "Cot-caught" merging is a traditional feature of Canadian English but I guess there are always a few exceptions.

According to the Atlas, it looks like Saskatoon is in transition, and Winnipeg has two dots next to it: one is mergered the other says: /o/ does not - /oh/ in production or perception. Regina also is "/o/ does not - /oh/ in production or perception". All the other dots in Canada are completely mergered.


Interesting! :o

Yes, definitely a good percentage of people sound like this here. That's why even other Canadians often comment on the Manitoban accent, I believe. It's very distinguishable from the others. Without exception, the Winnipegers (born and raised in the city) that I've come into contact with are merged while the majority of people living on-campus (mostly from rural Manitoba) are non-merged speakers.

Ok, I've got to sneak a recording in soon-like. :)


Return to “English”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron