Distinguishing Western accents

Travis   Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:17 am GMT
>>-But as far as I know "collar" is shifted to [A] not [a].-

Not true. COLLAR has [A], already, and it shifts to [a] and then to [æ]...

caller [Q]-->[A]-->[a]
collar [A]-->[a]-->[æ]

I guess you can hear all these in Chicago, black speakers don't seem to have any shift at all ( caller [Q], collar [A]), young white males have the 1st shift (caller [A], collar [a]), while young and middle aged middle class females have the most progresssive shift (caller [a], collar [æ])). So, misunderstandings can be a problem, since callar and collar pronunciations overlap in 67% of cases, you have to guess them from the context... So, to a foreign ear, there is a phonetic merger in the area, when all population is discussed although there is no merger on the single user level.<<

The dialect spoken in most of the Milwaukee area, AAVE aside, has a very clear NCVS, but is actually rather conservative in this regard. For instance, historical /ɔː/, that is, modern GA /ɒ(ː)/ remains rounded as [ɒ], as in "caller" [ˈkʰɒːʊ̯ʁ̩ː], while GA /ɑ(ː)/ is shifted to [a]. However, though, there are many phonetic environments in which historical /ɑː/ is not fronted much or is even backed relative to its position in most NAE dialects. For instance, I have "collar" [ˈkʰäːɯ̯ʁ̩ː], and even moreso I have a very clear back vowel in "car" [ˈkʰɑːʁ], which is actually further back than the realization of historical /ɑː/ in most NAE dialects without the NCVS, and which is actually often rounded to [ˈkʰɒːʁ] in many parts of the Milwaukee are, even though the dialect of the exact area where I grew up lacks such rounding.
Guest   Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:07 am GMT
>> The largest difference between Western accents is in the vowel used in the caught-cot merger. Southern California and much of the Southwest is quite variable, but typically uses [A]. Northern California, Oregon, and Washington all uniformly use [O] or [Q]. <<

Hmm. Do NorCal, OR, and WA really use [O]?!? I thought that WA and OR don't even have the California vowel shift. What's up with that?
Guest   Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:18 pm GMT
Here's an example of Washingtonian speech.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it doesn't sound like she uses [O] for the cot-caught vowel.
Guest   Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:48 pm GMT
all Washington St and Oregon samples have [A] for the cot/caught merged vowel.
Guest   Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:48 pm GMT
>> all Washington St and Oregon samples have [A] for the cot/caught merged vowel. <<

Yeah, that's what it sounded like to me too.