ASCII Alphabet - adaptation?

Paul   Sunday, January 25, 2004, 18:23 GMT
I checked out the CMU Carnegie Mellon University On-line Dictionary and it doesn't use "a:" sound. Of course it doesn't use the Schwa sound either.
Only has 39 letters.
Tom   Sunday, January 25, 2004, 20:23 GMT
1. I think [fo:r] is more common than [fOur]. To me, [fOur] sounds uneducated. I wonder what Americans on this forum think.

2. According to the Harvard Accent Survey, 60% of Americans pronounce [a:] and [o:] differently. See:
Jim   Monday, January 26, 2004, 00:06 GMT

You wrote "o is used for 'long o' or the 'o' sound in 'boat.' 'a' is the symbol used in SAMPA. So product in US English is /"pra:d@kt/". What do you mean by this? Neither in SAMPA nor Antimoon's alphabet is "o" used this way.


There are Americans, mjd for example, who make the distinction between [a:] and [o:]. I think it depends on which part of the USA you're from. Also I don't think that [fOur] is that common in the US though I don't doubt that it exists, sounds a bit hillbilly to me.
paul   Monday, January 26, 2004, 16:29 GMT
It is interesting there is no regional variation in the cot/caught differentiation. Maybe it is just an educational difference. An educated person might feel obliged to accentuate a written difference in his pronounciation in order to make his speech more intelligable.

Most American speakers when asked to repeat a word, not only speak more slowly, but will pronounce those softer vowels which are pronounced as a Schwa in normal speech.
For example, becomes t^meitOu or tome:tOu

Anyway, I am basing all this on what I hear. That is hardly statistically significant as the above study. As a Canadian, I probably minimize differences that may be more significant to Americans. So I can hardly make an argument on this matter.

From a RP British point of view father/farther should be Homonyms, but I suspect they're not, at least in the minds of their speakers.

Regards, Paul V.
Jim   Tuesday, January 27, 2004, 00:48 GMT
"Farther" and "father" are homonyms for me, though I have an Aussie not an RP accent. I'd thought that the cot/caught differentiation that mjd makes was a regional one, though I suppose you'd have to ask him. Which part of Canada are you from, Paul?
mjd   Tuesday, January 27, 2004, 01:05 GMT
Yeah, I do think it's regional. It's very obvious when a Midwesterner starts pronouncing "caught" as "cot".....they also use that "cot" vowel sound for the word "awesome" whereas for us it's the same as for "caught."
Paul   Tuesday, January 27, 2004, 17:02 GMT
According to Tom, the Harvard Accent Survey shows that 60% of Americans (The Majority) pronounce [a:] and [o:] differently. (cot/caught)
We are assuming of course that the normal American pronunciation of short "o" is "a:". I would say that is probably correct on the whole.

for the regional mapping of the minority who don't differentiate cot/caught.
They are the Blue Dots and they are spread very equally across the whole of the Continental U.S.A.
If their is no region where this lack of distinction pre-dominates, I would hesitate to call the differentiation or lack of differentiation to be a Regional Characteristic.

So I suspected that there might be another explanation?

Anyway, I am an Expatriote Westerner from Alberta living in Toronto, Ontario.

I suspect my accent is pretty standard Mid-Western, but who knows what distinctions, I hear after all this exposure to different English Accent groups.

Regards, Paul V.
Paul   Tuesday, January 27, 2004, 17:08 GMT
I enunciate the number word "fOur" a little longer than the regular word "for". Just to ensure my listener gets the number, right.
I suspect a lot of people drag out the number words for clarity. Not just the Southerners and Texans.

Regards, Paul V.
Paul V.   Wednesday, January 28, 2004, 18:58 GMT
I declare this topic officially closed. So please start a new topic.
Thanks to one and all for their enlightening input.

Bye, Paul V.
Jim   Thursday, January 29, 2004, 00:20 GMT
Thou canst not so declare Paul V.