/@r/, /e..r/ and /er/

Guy   Saturday, April 03, 2004, 14:45 GMT
How many of you differentiate the vowels in the following words?

hairy / Harry / Herry(i know herry is not a word, but its my friend's name)
Kerry / carry
ferry / fairy
Steve   Saturday, April 03, 2004, 15:11 GMT
I pronounce ''ferry'' and ''fairy'' the same. I pronounce ''hairy'', ''Harry'' and ''Herry'' the same.
Dithean   Saturday, April 03, 2004, 16:33 GMT
Of course I differentiate between the pronunciation of the vowel sounds.
mjd   Saturday, April 03, 2004, 20:12 GMT
I pronounce all of those words differently.
Guy   Sunday, April 04, 2004, 04:33 GMT
Steve, thanks for your reply. So you pronounce ferry and fairy the same, hairy, harry and herry the same, but "carry" and Kerry differently? I'd appreciate it if you tell me where you are from... Is it a regional thing?

Dithean and mjd, so you differentiate all of them. How would it sound to you if someone pronounce them all the same?? And also would you tell me where you two are from too?
Steve   Sunday, April 04, 2004, 04:41 GMT
Guy, No, I pronounce ''carry'' and ''Kerry'' the same too. You sure have a long and weird name.
Steve   Sunday, April 04, 2004, 04:43 GMT
Guy, Are you the same person as ''guy''? The person that started this thread.
mjd   Sunday, April 04, 2004, 05:19 GMT

I do differentiate them all. I'm from New Jersey near New York City on the East Coast of the U.S. We differentiate those words as we do for caught/cot and Mary/marry/merry.

How would it sound to me? It would sound like he/she were from the Midwest.
Steve   Sunday, April 04, 2004, 06:02 GMT
I pronounce Mary/marry and merry the same and also pronounce caught and cot the same.
Dithean   Sunday, April 04, 2004, 09:32 GMT
If someone pronounced them all the same ~ I wouldn't know what they are talking about. I am from Scotland :)
Steve   Sunday, April 04, 2004, 14:17 GMT
Yeah, in Scotland they're pronounced differently.
Guy   Sunday, April 04, 2004, 15:55 GMT
Sorry, Guy is me indeed... there must've been something wrong with my PC when I posted that message. I'm sorry about the confusion.

So not differentiating these vowels is more of a Midwestern/west coast thing than the East Cost in the US, am I right? And for many Scottish people, it can be unintelligible...

To me, differentiating these vowels is kinda tricky, so I think I can't help but pronounce them more or less the same even if I tried to(which I don't even try most of the time) And throughout my stay in California for about a month I couldn't find them different when spoken my native speakers, so I was even more confused.

To those who distinguish hairy and Herry, fairy and ferry, what makes them so different from the other pair? A slight schwa between the "e" sound and the r?
mjd   Sunday, April 04, 2004, 17:46 GMT
Yeah, I think a slight schwa is a good way to put it.
Ryan   Monday, April 05, 2004, 23:18 GMT
Californians don't pronounce those vowels differently. They probably never will. If you're trying to learn to speak like an American, I wouldn't bother with trying to pronounce either the marry/merry/Mary vowels or caught/cot ones differently.
Jim   Thursday, April 08, 2004, 00:42 GMT
I make these distinctions.


Harry [h@ri(:)]
carry [k@ri(:)]
marry [m@ri(:)]


Herry [heri(:)]
Kerry [keri(:)]
ferry [feri(:)]
merry [meri(:)]


hairy [he..ri(:)]
fairy [fe..ri(:)]
Mary [me..ri(:)]

Note that for me [e..] is more of a long vowel than a dipthong. In other words, it is not a slight schwa sound between the [e] and [r] (though writing it in Antimoon's Alphabet makes it look that way) that makes the distinction but the lenght of the (first) vowel. I'm Aussie & this is pretty typical (I believe).


caught [ko:t]
cot [kot]