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  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default cot-caught merger not official?

    According to some statistics such as Phonological history of English low back vowels - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and other websites, "cot-caught merger" has become prevalent across North America, but its percentage in 2005 seems to be only 43%(I mean people that pronounce cot[kɑ:t] and caught[kɔ:t] the same way are almost 43%.)

    I've learned English from people from Utah mostly, so I'm cot-caught merged, is the reason why they still adopt distinct /ɔ/ sound in online or paper dictionaries that /ɔ/sound still has higher percentage than /ɑ/?
    Last edited by keannu; 27-Mar-2012 at 08:11. Reason: error

  2. #2
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    I remember hearing from SoothingDave that there's no official accent in USA, then why is "ɔ" introduced to other countries as the standard pronunciation for words like talk, saw, auto, etc while cot-caught merger is quite prevalent throught the states? Is it because "ɔ" is still used in Washington, the capital?
    Is the capital's language designated as the formal accent?

  3. #3
    PinkDolphin is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post

    I've learned English from people from Utah mostly, so I'm cot-caught merged, is the reason why they still adopt distinct /ɔ/ sound in online or paper dictionaries that /ɔ/sound still has higher percentage than /ɑ/?
    Hello...

    What makes you think it's not official?

    All Hollywood accent coaches recommend the cot/caught merged accent of Western type (that is, to the low back UNROUNDED vowel, and not to the low back ROUNDED vowel [typical of Boston/Pittsburgh/Canada]).

    Take a look at the Merriam Webster's Learner's Dictionary, only the cot/caught merged pronunciation is given:

    COLLAR /ˈkɑ:lɚ/
    CALLER /ˈkɑ:lɚ/

    dawn = Don
    Paul = pol ...






    The low back merger is spreading, it has reached the state of New York :

    ”Progress toward the low back merger in New York State” (the complete article is available free of charge)
    just Google it ;)

  4. #4
    PinkDolphin is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    Something more:

    The Socio-Economic Significance of Four Phonetic Characteristics in North American English

    Abstract: This paper uses a least-square regression method that relates per-capita income to four phonetic characteristics (r-dropping, and the so-called "father-bother", "cot-caught" and "pin-pen" mergers), to study the socio-economic significance of those characteristics in North American English. As a result we find a positive and statistically significant relationship between per-capita income and r-dropping, and between per-capita income and the presence of the "cot-caught" merger, and a negative and statistically significant relationship between per-capita income and the "pin-pen" merger. No statistically significant relationship is found, however, between per-capita income and the presence of a "father-bother" merger or split.

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    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    It's amazing!!! You are the man!!!! Thanks a million!! Molto Grazie!! Abrogado!!(I forgot it in Portugest) Gracias!!!

  6. #6
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    In Marriam Webster's Learner's Dictionary, one thing I found weird was that they still have ɔ sound for ɑ spells, I mean if you actually click on the words like "dog, law, cost, etc", the actual sound is not /ɑ/ but /ɔ/. and the voice actors are all the same as in Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online


    ***Merriam Webster's Learner's Dictionary,
    only the cot/caught merged pronunciation is given:

    COLLAR /ˈkɑ:lɚ/
    CALLER /ˈkɑ:lɚ/

    dawn = Don
    Paul = pol ...

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    thatone is offline Member
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    The merged vowel can be [ɒ], [ɔ], [ɑ] or even [ä].
    However, most people have rounding (
    [ɒ] or [ɔ]) before [ɫ] and (some) before [ŋ].

    However, many areas, especially in the Northeast, do not have the merger.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    For me, talk and saw are the same sound as caught, but cot is different - it's the same as hot. I'm from New York, and the only thing that would tell you that is when I say coffee as cawfee - more like saw and less like hot. And Dawn and Don are completely different as well.


    And as for the accent of the capital being "official"? God no! I'm not sure I'd know a "Washington" accent if there even is such a thing but no one concsiously tries to emulate it. Baltimore is just of the road from DC, and it has a weird accent all its own.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  9. #9
    keannu's Avatar
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    Thanks a lot! I'm more interested in if you happen to know why almost all the dicitonaries and many English textbooks have [ɔ] sound instead of [ɑ] while cot-caught merger is quite prevalent. Who selects the sound based on what? Do they do it based on a specific area or the percentage of use as a whole? I guess it's percentage base.This might be the share of linguists, I'm sorry.

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    PinkDolphin has given an example of a dictionary that doesn't do it. It's an American dictionary. For other American dictionaries, I generally use two: a paper version of M-W and the AHD online. My M-W is at the bottom of a rather impressive-looking pile of books now, so I won't check what's done there. But the AHD does indeed split "cot" and "caught". For British dictionaries, it would be strange if they did. The merger is not present in English English, and those dictionaries tend to stick to some kind of "generic RP".

    As PinkDolphin said, the merger is spreading. Only recently, I came across a blog post by a person who just realized they were starting to merge "cot" and "caught". When older dictionaries were complied, the percentage of merging Americans was lower, and you should take into account that linguistic changes take their time to penetrate dictionaries, especially ones with traditions. We will see what the future will bring, but indeed when I watch American television, I very rarely hear these vowels unmerged. Still, even on this forum, I remember an American calling this merging lazy pronunciation. So some haven't gotten used to it yet.

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