Father and Bother

Mike   Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 02:39 GMT
Do you pronounce ''father'' and ''bother'' to rhyme. I do. [fa:TH..r] vs. [ba:TH..r]. I'm from Ireland and speak with a southern Irish accent. In northern Ireland ''father'' and ''bother'' seem to have different vowels.

I also pronounce ''balm'' and ''bomb'' the same way.
D   Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 12:33 GMT
I pronounce father and bother as close rhymes. I used to pronounce
them differently, but I don't do that any more (not on purpose -- it
was a result of moving to a different part of the country).

I pronounce the l in balm, so it doesn't rhyme with bomb. There is
also a slight difference between the vowels, but it is very slight.
This is probably a remnant of when I prounounced father and bother
Ben   Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 18:35 GMT
I'm American, and pronounce Father and Bother the same usually, but will sometimes distinguish the vowel in Bother when I'm putting emphasis on the word.

In Northern Ireland, "bother" is pronounced with a very rounded vowel (bo:th..r), owing to the slightly Scottish influence. Other differences:

Northern IE--reit
Southern IE--roit

Northern IE--..bait (approximate, since the actual dipthong doesn't exist in the ASCII IPA)
Southern IE--..b^ut

Northern IE--b^n
Southern IE--bun
languidMandala   Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 18:44 GMT
West coast of Scotland here and these two words sound quite different from each other.
Mike   Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 23:44 GMT
D, are you from Ireland to? Northern Ireland?
D   Thursday, November 18, 2004, 01:25 GMT
I'm from the U.S.
Woody   Thursday, November 18, 2004, 01:35 GMT
languidMandala, Do you pronounce ''fir'' and ''fur'' the same way?

Do you pronounce ''hertz'' and ''hurts'' the same way?
Jim   Thursday, November 18, 2004, 01:40 GMT
But, D, where in the US are you from and where have you moved to?

Ben, there is no ASCII IPA but you might want to try:


If you're wondering what alphabet we're using it's Antimoon's ASCII Phonetic Alphabet:


If you already knew all this, sorry I never meant to make you look ignorant.

In Aust. & NZ these words don't rhyme:

/fa:TH../ vs. /boTH../
Woody   Thursday, November 18, 2004, 03:55 GMT
''father'' and ''bother'' rhyme in Southern Ireland and most North American accents. But, they don't rhyme in Boston.

Bostoners pronounce ''bother'' as [ba:TH..] but pronounce ''father'' with a very different sound which I'll transribe as [f{a''}TH..].

Quote-''\ ä \ as in bother, cot, and, with most American speakers, father, cart. The symbol \ä\ represents the vowel of cot, cod, and the stressed vowel of collar in the speech of those who pronounce this vowel differently from the vowel in caught, cawed, and caller, represented by \o\. In U.S. speech \ä\ is pronounced with little or no rounding of the lips, and it is fairly long in duration, especially before voiced consonants. In southern England \ä\ is usually accompanied by some lip rounding and is relatively short in duration. The vowel \o\ generally has appreciable lip rounding. Some U.S. speakers (a perhaps growing minority) do not distinguish between cot--caught, cod--cawed, and collar--caller, usually because they lack or have less lip rounding in the words transcribed with \o\. Though the symbols \ä\ and \o\ are used throughout this dictionary to distinguish the members of the above pairs and similar words, the speakers who rhyme these pairs will automatically reproduce a sound that is consistent with their own speech. In words such as card and cart most U.S. speakers have a sequence of sounds that we transcribe as \är\. Most speakers who do not pronounce \r\ before another consonant or a pause, however, do not rhyme card with either cod or cawed and do not rhyme cart with either cot or caught. The pronunciation of card and cart by such speakers, although not shown in this dictionary, would be transcribed as \'k[a']d\ and \'k[a']t\. Speakers of r-dropping dialects will automatically substitute \[a']\ for the transcribed \är\. (See the sections on \[a']\ and \r\.)''

''\ [a'] \ as in ''father'' as pronounced by those who do not rhyme it with ''bother''. The pronunciation of this vowel varies regionally. In eastern New England it is generally pronounced farther forward in the mouth than \ä\ but not as far forward as \a\. In New York City and the southeastern U.S. it may have much the same quality as \ä\ but somewhat greater duration. In areas in which \r\ is not pronounced before another consonant or a pause, \[a']\ occurs for the sequence transcribed in this book as \är\. (See the sections on \ä\ and \r\.) In these areas \[a']\ also occurs with varying frequency in a small group of words in which a in the spelling is followed by a consonant letter other than r and is not preceded by w or wh, as in father, calm, palm, and tomato but not in watch, what, or swap (though \[a']\ does sometimes occur in waft). Especially in southern England and, less consistently, in eastern New England \[a']\ occurs in certain words in which \a\ is the usual American vowel and in most of which the vowel is followed by \f\, \th\, \s\, or by \n\ and another consonant, as in the words after, bath, mask, and slant. The symbol \[a']\ is also used in the transcription of some foreign-derived words and names. This vowel, as in French patte "paw" and chat "cat," is intermediate between \a\ and \ä\ and is similar in quality to the \[a']\ heard in eastern New England.''

Sample of Boston vowels in ''bomb'' and ''balm''.

javascript:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?balm0002.wav=balm') ''balm'' [b[a']m].

javascript:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?bomb0001.wav=bomb') ''bomb'' [ba:m].
Jim   Thursday, November 18, 2004, 05:37 GMT
Nor do we pronounce "bomb" and "balm" alike: /bom/ vs. /ba:m/.
Ben   Friday, November 19, 2004, 16:42 GMT
Boston usually pronounces the word "bother" like the British--with a slightly rounded vowel (sometimes extended to
/o../). Father is pronounced with with a tight sound, the same as an Australian or Irish person would pronounce it--I usually write this tight "a" sound as /a/, to contrast with /a:/.
garans   Friday, November 19, 2004, 19:10 GMT

"Bother, father caught hot coffee in the car park" - that was a touchstone to define an accent.

In some accents "bother" and "father" sound alike, "b" and "f" are almost the same.

"car park" may sound "kai part"

"caught hot" as "kot hot"
Jim   Monday, November 22, 2004, 02:21 GMT
RDF321   Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 03:23 GMT

Jim, you forgot the ''car'' part of the sentence,

''Bother, Father caught hot coffee in the car park''
Adam   Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 03:31 GMT

I'm from the east coast of Canada and I sometimes pronounce fir, fur and for the same way. Only if I'm talking fast or to someone from where I live, though.