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  1. #11
    PinkDolphin is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    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.
    As for British dictionaries, learner's dictionaries give both the British (RP) and the (General) American pronunciation, but there are differences:
    1) Cambridge Advanced Learner's uses cot/caught merged American pronunciation
    2) Oxford Advanced Learner's uses cot/caught UNmerged American pronunciation in the entries (IPA transcription), but the recorded pronunciation is cot/caught merged since they've hired voice actors from California. So, in the Oxford ALD case, the pronunciation given in IPA symbols does not match the recorded pronunciation. (it the opposite what MW did: they give the merged pronunciation in their learner's dictionary but link to recorded words from their main/large dictionary which features the cot/caught unmerged pronunciation).

  2. #12
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    keannu is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    Thanks for your endeavor. But in Oxford Advanced Learner's, some pronunciations by the female actor are cot-caught merged, while others by the male actor are not so. I think they recorded only some of them following cot-caught merger. I couldn't find Cambridge Advanced Learner's online dictionary. I guess cot-caught merger's percentage will overturn non merger in the near future.

    Anyway, here on this website, I learned from some teachers that America doesn't have any standard language, respecting each state's accent as it is, so whether cot-caught merger is higher in percentage or not, I feel we should respect both ways equally.

  3. #13
    PinkDolphin is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: cot-caught merger not official?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Thanks for your endeavor. But in Oxford Advanced Learner's, some pronunciations by the female actor are cot-caught merged, while others by the male actor are not so. I think they recorded only some of them following cot-caught merger. I couldn't find Cambridge Advanced Learner's online dictionary. I guess cot-caught merger's percentage will overturn non merger in the near future.

    Anyway, here on this website, I learned from some teachers that America doesn't have any standard language, respecting each state's accent as it is, so whether cot-caught merger is higher in percentage or not, I feel we should respect both ways equally.
    Remember that the cot/caught merger is a phonological merger (rather than a phonetic merger).
    Both Vancouver and Seattle are cot/caught merged,

    but,
    most people in Vancouver pronounce dollar, song, politics, lot, Don/Dawn, naughty/knotty with the rounded vowel [ɒ] (RP British English John/song vowel),
    while in Seattle most people have the unrounded vowel [ɑ] in these words.

    Chicago is cot-caught unmerged, but cot is [kät] (low central unrounded) or [kat] (low front unrounded), while caught is [kɑt] (low back unrounded vowel). So, many people in Chicago/Cleveland/Detroit/Buffalo pronounce words like caught, long, wall with [ɑ], exactly the same way most people in the low back merged areas (for example St. John's NF, Plattsburgh NY,Burlington VT, Denver CO, Phoenix AZ or San Diego CA) pronounce these words.

    Lana del Rey is a perfect example of a cot/caught merged person from the low back merged part of the New York state (NE part of this state, next to Vermont which is completely cot/caught merged to [ɑ]).

    Listen to her song Video games...

    Many native New Yorkers, like Lady Gaga and Brooke Shilelds are cot/caught merged, but they've been accent coached in order to sound as if they were from California, it's not the native accent of the NYC area (although as I said before, the merger can be found in parts of the state of NY).

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