''pause'' and ''paws''

The Cat's Paw   Sunday, July 25, 2004, 02:09 GMT
Do you pronounce the words ''paws'' and ''pause'' the same. Are there people that pronounce these words differently [similar to the fact that there are people that pronounce ''caught'' and ''cot'' differently.]

I pronounce ''pause'' and ''paws'' and also ''cot'' and ''caught'' the same way?
CalifJim   Sunday, July 25, 2004, 07:28 GMT
"paws" and "pause" are pronounced the same.
I doubt anyone pronounces them differently.

The vowels in "paws", "pause", "caws", "cause", "caught", "taught" (all the same) are not the same as the vowels in "pot", "cot", "tot", "pop".
CalifJim   Sunday, July 25, 2004, 08:11 GMT

That is, if you want to speak Standard American English (General American).

But you can pretty much ignore the difference and say them all as in "cot", and nobody is going to notice.
I'm assuming you are asking from the point of view of someone just learning American English.
Justin   Sunday, July 25, 2004, 12:27 GMT
And standard British English makes a clear distinction between "cot" and "caught" too.
HUGO   Monday, July 26, 2004, 23:44 GMT

You are right ,they are pronounced the same way.
It is the same for both cases.
VW   Tuesday, July 27, 2004, 00:36 GMT
The Cat's Paw - Many people pronounce them the same, and CalifJim is right that nobody would really notice if you pronounced them the same in learning English. However, not everyone pronounces them the same, I pronounce 'paws' and 'pause' differently (as I do 'cot' and 'caught'), the vowel in 'pause' is more rounded than 'paws'.
CalifJim   Tuesday, July 27, 2004, 05:07 GMT
Wow, VW! That's amazing.

I'm not sure which vowel goes in which group, though. Are there three vowels involved? Can you line them up for us?

I think you're saying:

paws, caught is one group (same vowel)

pause is another (closer to the /o/ sound than the paws-group)

cot is another

Is this what you mean?
VW   Tuesday, July 27, 2004, 05:33 GMT
Okay, let's see how I can describe this coherently. In my way of speaking 'Pause’ and 'Caught' use the same vowel.
'Paws' is separate, close, but the vowel is not as rounded.
'Cot' is separate from 'paws'. In fact 'Paws' sounds much closer to "pause" than "cot" (which despite my best attempts to be conscious of such things, usually comes out 'caht').

I realize that it may not be the standard California accent (or even standard US English). My history is as such; I grew up in Chicago (south-side) and my mother (very influential in my speech) is from Boston. And while I acknowledge that anyone learning English would be best served by following the pronunciation guidelines you mentioned, there is a large population of the US that do not quite pronounce it that way.
CalifJim   Wednesday, July 28, 2004, 00:36 GMT
Thanks. That was pretty coherent, all right!

I guess I misunderstood in the first round. :-)

You certainly have an interesting linguistic background.
flywoud   Wednesday, July 28, 2004, 00:49 GMT
haha, I am poor in english, for I have never known such knowledge and history about the two words. It is my pleasure to learn from all of you!
Thanks a lot!
VW   Wednesday, July 28, 2004, 02:37 GMT
CalifJim -- I'm glad you understood, I was about to break out the phonetic alphabet (which I really must relearn to use). I have found regional dialects and accents interesting especially after mine came under so much scrutiny when I left home to go to college in an area much more influenced by the southern US dialect (which made my Chicago accent with a slight Boston touch stand out like a sore thumb). I also once served as a guest speaker in a conversational English class in Brazil (the instructor, who I knew, wanted the class to have experiences with different varieties of English.).
Ben   Wednesday, July 28, 2004, 14:28 GMT

Boston is definitely a "caught/cot" merger region. Both words are pronounced with the same slightly rounded vowel. I have a hard time believing Chicagoans wouldn't make a distinction between the two, since the vowel for "cot" is so tight in that accent (nearly rhymes with "cat").

I don't quite understand how "pause" and "paws" would be pronounced differently, but I'm an American, so "o," "au" and "aw" sounds tend to be interchangeable.
The Cat's Paws   Wednesday, July 28, 2004, 14:54 GMT
VW, Do you use the same vowel in ''paws'' that you use in ''law'', ''dawn'', ''pawn'', ''drawn'', ''draw'', ''slaw'' and ''caw''.

Do you use the same vowel in ''caught'' that you use in ''bought'', ''taught'', ''taut'', ''cause'', ''sought'', ''talk'', ''walk'', ''wall'',
''hall'', ''haul'', ''all'' and ''autumn''.

I guess your ''cot'' vowel sound is the same as the sound you use in ''got'', ''hot'', ''shot'', ''not'', ''mop'', ''on'', ''father'', ''calm'', ''palm'',
''balm'' and ''pod''.


So, do you pronounce ''fawn'' and ''faun'' differently or the same?
VW   Wednesday, July 28, 2004, 17:58 GMT
Ben -- that is correct. 'Cot' is not rounded for me at all "caught" is.

The Cat's Paws -- actually, your lists of words are mostly accurate. However, I think a self-analysis of such things is suspect (I don’t always trust my ears to be objective as they are attached to my brain, which as anyone who has studied language knows, hears selectively). 'Fawn' and Faun' are different in the same way 'paws' and 'pause' are, the difference is slight, but I can hear it. I would not be surprised if sometimes I did merge them (as one does not always pronounce things exactly the same everytime he or she speaks) but they are different.
The Cat's Paws   Wednesday, July 28, 2004, 22:15 GMT
VW, So then,the words ''pause'', ''paws'' and ''pas'' [fathers] are all pronounced differently in your accent

''pas'' is the plural of ''pa''. A word meaning ''father''.