Canadian vs. Californian English
well, both Canada and California are CC merged regions, but, at least according to prof. Labov (Chapter 13th of his atlas)
1. the merged vowel is rounded in Canada (and WestPA, US)
2. the merged vowel is unrounded in California (and other regions of american West)
''the blue symbols are speakers with back (and usually rounded) /o/, with
F2 values of less than 1200 Hz, while the yellow symbols are the residual, or unmarked case of F2 greater than 1200 Hz but less than 1400 Hz. It is the distribution of the blue symbols that is noteworthy here. There are none in the Inland North. The heaviest concentrations are to be found in the low back merger region, especially in western Pennsylvania and Canada, where the merger is realized in low back rounded position. Table 1 shows the extent to which the back position of /o/ is associated either with the low back merger, or the diphthongization of /oh/.
Only six blue tokens are found in other regions.''
I think the "Valley Girl" image over here in California is unfounded. I like in Northern California, have travelled around the state and have yet to hear anyone I would consider a Valley Girl. I did however meet one person (in all of California) who punctuated his conversation with "hella".
Where were you/ what age group were you around most of the time? I was in San Diego for my undergrad and a vast majority of people there spoke with that dialect.
Skippy, mind you that such may be primarily a southern Californian thing and may very well not apply to northern California much.
Josh said he spent time in Southern California ("L.A. and San Diego").
Either way, San Diego State is not lacking in its number of folks from NorCal, and they sound almost exactly the same... The only difference I can think of off the top of my head is their addition of the word "hella" to their lexicon.
Does that mean you think people in Northern Cali also sound like Valley Girls? I have not found that to be true at all. I am a young working professional, graphic designer by trade and as such hand out with mostly people ranging from their late twenties to mid fourties. There are of course many exceptions.
''Does that mean you think people in Northern Cali also sound like Valley Girls?''
Valley Girl sociolect/accent is not very ''classy''/prestigious...
Most California stars (singers, actors) don't have it, although they have some VGish elements in their accent (like fronting of AE in Bag, Sad, Cat, Flash...and fronting of U...)
I've heard Jenna Elfman pronouncing some oh-words with a rounded back vowel: mom /mQm/ it sounded just like Mawm (as pronounced by a New Yorker ::)
I think this video is a nice presentation of Cali English,
I think she's from California, not 100 % sure.
Listen to the way she pronounces the diphthong /ou/ (like in ''child mode'')
it is not a monothong used in conservative Cali accent, but a diphtong with a shifted front element:
she also has /A/ in front of /l/ (instead of /Q/). that's very cute
''<<I've heard Jenna Elfman pronouncing some oh-words with a rounded back vowel: mom /mQm/ it sounded just like Mawm (as pronounced by a New Yorker ::) >>
I doubt it. /O/ in New York tends to be much closer than in General American, approaching RP 'sauce'. Some speakers even use a centring diphthong with an onset as close as [U]. ''
Jenna is Californian, not from NYC :)
It was in an episode of Dharma & Greg where I first heard that pronunciation : mom /mQm/
what I was trying to say: she used the NYC vowel in ''law, lost, loss, dawn'', not the NYC vowel in ''John, Don, cot, doll'' in the word MOM :=)
>>Listen to the way she pronounces the diphthong /ou/ (like in ''child mode'')
it is not a monothong used in conservative Cali accent, but a diphtong with a shifted front element:<<
Some younger people here have a similar shift. The most conservative realization of /o/ is [oU] (but note that this is how /ol/ is pronounced in everyday speech here) and the most common everyday realization of /o/ is [o] here. However, some younger people use a rather wide opening diphthong which is also fronted rather than [o] for /o/ such as [8}] or [9Y]. This differs from what you are speaking of, though, because the offglide is fronted as well here.
I myself on occasion will use this pronunciation, but my younger sister will use it far more frequently that I do. One person I know from elementary school through college, at least last time I ran into him, seemed to have this as their default realization of canonical /o/ instead of [o]. However, all in all, this is not all too common here, and I never hear people all that much older than myself use it here. Even then, most younger people here still use [o] or, at the ends of words in rather careful speech, [oU]. This makes me think that such is either a recent innovation here which has not spread much or a product of influence from other NAE dialects.
"2. the merged vowel is unrounded in California (and other regions of american West)"
That's definitely not entirely true. In the Pacific Northwest, [O] or [Q] seems to be the dominant pronunciation, based on most of the people I've met from Washington and Oregon. If you don't believe me, listen to any interview with Seattle native Bill Gates.
''That's definitely not entirely true. In the Pacific Northwest, [O] or [Q] seems to be the dominant pronunciation, based on most of the people I've met from Washington and Oregon.''
This is not true, according to prof. Labov, see the map for yourself: blue circles (Q) vs yellow circles (A)
I've listened to a Seattle radio station recently, and /Q/ appeared only in some words like ''all, call, small...'' this /Q/ is due to velarization (darkL influence)
Bill Gates uses both /A/ and /Q/, in a Canadian way (talk, lot can have /A/ in one sentence, but /Q/ in the next sentence...)... in this interview, Bill has /Q/ in ''lot, technology'', but /A/ in ''across, off''... I guess L-proximity favors /Q/ realization...
Jonathan Mann is a Canadian journalist working for CNN International.
I just heard him pronounce DOLL as /dQl/.
/dQl/ (doll) and /'dQl@r/ (dollar) sound very Canadian, not many Americans would pronounce these words with /Q/.