Incomplete merger?

Lazar   Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:44 am GMT
That is interesting. Maybe you could say that you have a "xenophoneme" reserved for foreign words? (I'm thinking of something like [dZ] for a German speaker, [S] for a Spanish speaker, [x] or [K] for a British English speaker.)

I was thinking of asking whether you consistently use this vowel in word borrowings with this "foreign a", as it were, like "taco", but then it occurred to me that as a Canadian you would probably use /{/ in a lot of those. So would I be right in saying that you have a pretty small group of words in which to use this distinctive vowel? (I'm thinking of things like "Taj Mahal"?)

In my dialect, all of those words - Bach, Dali, Taj Mahal, taco, pasta - use /A/, my "father" phoneme. This phoneme is realized as near-back unrounded for me. Maybe the distinctive vowel that you use has arisen as a result of the rounded "father" phoneme in your dialect. I mean, I can still use my unrounded [A] as a rough approximation of [a] for foreign words, but perhaps if your "father" vowel is [Q], then in your dialect it becomes unsuitable for foreign words, so a new unrounded vowel has to be created.