Pronunciation survey - "o" in American

Julian   Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 20:33 GMT
Clark, my man from So-Cal, if you pronounced "cost" that way, you'd be saying "coast."

Tom, I don't round my lips for any of those words. I pronounce them all with an "ah" sound, including "law".
Lana   Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 20:39 GMT
<< So if "taught" was spelled "tawt", you'd pronounce it differently? What about "taut"? >>

I pronounce taught, taut, and cot with the same vowel sound. Any word with the aw, I pronounce with the more rounded sound, including law, crawl, dawn, and (if it were a word) tawt. As I said before, I think my pronunciation of this sound is not as strong as it is for those who also use it in 'caught.'

<< I don't get the midwestern accent thing, Ryan is from the Midwest and he clearly distinguishes between "bot" and "bought", as evidenced by his post in this thread and his recording. >>

Apparently Ryan is a red dot and I am a blue dot :)
Maybe the cot/caught issue is not the thing that defines a Midwestern accent. If you want me to make a recording of my accent, give me the text you would like to hear and I will send it to you.
Clark   Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 20:52 GMT
Oh yeah! What is with me with all of this pronunciations!!!! Sorry about that. I must have been thinking "coast."

Crazy English spelling system!!! Why ca't they get it straight! :-P
mjd   Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 21:00 GMT
I think "bot" is short for robot, but I believe people in chat rooms use the term to describe those fake screenames that are typically porn links etc.
Ryan   Wednesday, August 27, 2003, 23:26 GMT
Lana, I am originally from Michigan and not Kansas. They are both considered "midwestern," but Michigan is further east than Kansas, of course.

Tom, I know that the map was a bit inconclusive, but I thought that I could detect a higher concentration of blue dots in California than red dots, and that the blue dots were more numerous in the west overall and the red in the east. I am guessing that if you ask the Americans on here where they were raised (not where they live right now) and then ask how they pronounce the "o" sound, it will confirm my assertion.

As for which way it is pronounced on CNN, I've never listened closely enough. It's a difficult distinction to detect in most Americans' speech until you specifically are trying to hear a person's name (Don vs. Dawn is a problem that I've had in the past based on the way Kansans talk).

Lana   Thursday, August 28, 2003, 01:29 GMT
People in the US move around a lot. So it is not surprising that the accents are spread all over the country. So I think Ryan is right that if they had mapped it based on where the person was raised, you would see the pattern more.

Besides Kansas, I lived in St. Louis for a while as a child, so maybe that's why I picked up more of that midwestern accent. Kansas is right in the middle of the country and has a mix of accents.
Californian   Thursday, August 28, 2003, 05:46 GMT
I say Bot and Bought the same.
Tom   Thursday, August 28, 2003, 11:08 GMT

I'd be most interested in listening to the way you (and other Americans) pronounce these words:

Ryan   Saturday, August 30, 2003, 01:32 GMT

-   Sunday, August 31, 2003, 01:42 GMT
I notice many English native speaker pronouce words like "got", "dog", etc very near to /ah/ sound, but listen to the song "I don't wanna grow up" of Ramones on the verse "...makes me wish that I could be a dog.". The word "dog" is pronouced with a prolonged sound that starts with /o:/ and ends with a sound near to /oh/. I know that's because it's sung but I guess it shows these vowels are very influenced by accents and can assume different forms without endangering the understanding.
Tom   Monday, September 01, 2003, 21:39 GMT
I watched MSNBC for about an hour today and all the anchors and reporters pronounced an [o:] sound ("law") that was distinct from the [o] sound ("lot"). For [o] their mouth was wide open and not rounded. For [o:] it was less open and somewhat rounded.

Actually, I find it hard to believe that some Americans pronounce "law" or "talk" with the same vowel as "got". I don't think I've ever heard an American talk like that. Maybe people who claim to pronounce both vowels the same way are mistaken about their own pronunciation?
Clark   Monday, September 01, 2003, 22:07 GMT
Tom, maybe that is the case, but since this thread has been up, I have started to listen to my fellow countrymen speak, and I can tell you that the vowel sound in "law," "talk" and "got" all sound the same.
Ryan   Tuesday, September 02, 2003, 00:09 GMT
Clark, where do you live? People do not talk that way in Michigan where I am from, and they definitely do not talk that way on the East Coast, especially in New York City where the "O: (aw)" sound is extremely strong and distinct from the sound in "got."

Western Pennsylvania and anywhere west of Kansas City is where the sounds are not distinct. Everywhere else in the US they are distinct. Do some Google searches or some traveling and you will discover this yourself.

Julian   Tuesday, September 02, 2003, 00:13 GMT
The big news networks like MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News are all based out on the East Coast where people do tend to differentiate between the vowel sounds in "law", "talk" and "got". But if you ever get a chance to listen to broadcasts from the West Coast, you'll find that many of the anchors and reporters pronounce these words with the same "ah" vowel sound.
Tom   Tuesday, September 02, 2003, 00:30 GMT
And all their reporters would be from the East Coast as well?