-g, -ng, -s endings in American English

mjd   Tuesday, May 18, 2004, 17:18 GMT
Hmm...I used to work with some people from Michigan and they'd pronounce them the same...Difficult thing to pin down, this caught/cot issue.
Ryan   Tuesday, May 18, 2004, 22:49 GMT
You weren't listening closely enough, mjd. The northern midwest American dialect is marked by a vowel shift, in which the /a:/ sound is moved up in the mouth, so that a word like "pop" sounds exaggeratedly like /paaap/. A word like "caught" sounds like how other Americans say "cot." The "pop" shift is more likely to be present than the "caught" shift, but this still makes the vowels quite distinct. Google "Northern Cities Vowel shift" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

The first few maps on this page will show you exactly where the vowel is merged and where it is not based upon actual linguistic data.

Ben   Tuesday, May 18, 2004, 22:58 GMT
Only NORTHERN New England has the caught/cot merger thing. In Southern New England (Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Southeastern Mass) they're pronounced differently.
Ryan   Wednesday, May 19, 2004, 15:54 GMT
Oh, and I also some Michiganders do merge the vowels, but they are all Yoopers. The Upper Peninsula might as well be a different state.
Ryan   Wednesday, May 19, 2004, 15:56 GMT
Oops, please delete that "I."
Ben   Wednesday, May 19, 2004, 16:11 GMT
Unless I'm mistaken, I think some Northern English accents merge the vowels as well.
Jim   Friday, May 21, 2004, 05:22 GMT
Cloth = /kloth/ verses /klo:th/ verses /kla:th/

How about these:


off cough trough
soft croft oft
often soften lofty
Australia Austria Austen Austin
cost frost lost
cross across loss floss toss fosse doss
broth froth


boss gloss joss moss Ross
accost glossy foster Boston Gloucester sausage
long strong wrong gong song thong tongs throng
coffee coffer coffin offer officer

How do you pronounce them? Are lists A and B any different? Of course, being an Aussie, I pronounce all of those "o"s and "au"s (and the "ouce" in "Gloucester" ... I suppose) as /o/.

This list I pilfer from Max Wheeler.