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By Jove, you're right. Robert Elwood Cunningham is CINC.

If you think such a slight difference can make someone CINC rather than CIC, then this demonstrates that the concept has no practical value.

Not at all: it merely demonstrates that Richard's interpretation of the concept has no practical value.
I'll add that I have no idea whether Richard actually thinks that; but if he does, I don't think it's valid to reach a conclusion about whether a concept has value based only on whether or not Richard thinks something about it.
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
Not at all: it merely demonstrates that Richard's interpretation of the concept has no practical value. I'll add that I ... reach a conclusion about whether a concept has value based only on whether or not Richard thinks something about it.

I guess we could talk about what "demonstrate" means, but like many words it means various things. One definition is to show evidence of something, to indicate. My remark was probably okay under that definition.
Another definition is to prove beyond doubt. Your remarks reflect that definition.
My intent would have been more accurately expressed with "suggests" than with "demonstrates".
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Not at all: it merely demonstrates that Richard's interpretation of the concept has no practical value.

That sounds a bit cruel and uncalled-for, but I never claimed to be a practical person.
I'll add that I have no idea whether Richard actually thinks that; but if he does, I don't think it's valid to reach a conclusion about whether a concept has value based only on whether or not Richard thinks something about it.

I'm seriously saying that if you can prove that Robert Elwood Cunningham systematically uses one vowel in "cot" and a different (if only slightly different) in "caught", then he's CINC and not CIC. This shouldn't be controversial.
Not at all: it merely demonstrates that Richard's interpretation of the concept has no practical value.

That sounds a bit cruel and uncalled-for, but I never claimed to be a practical person.

I apologize for that remark.
I'll add that I have no idea whether Richard actually ... only on whether or not Richard thinks something about it.

I'm seriously saying that if you can prove that Robert Elwood Cunningham systematically uses one vowel in "cot" and a different (if only slightly different) in "caught", then he's CINC and not CIC. This shouldn't be controversial.

That is uncontroversial. However, you made no claim about "systematic"; you were discussing just a single recording, and I was responding to Bob's claim that the differences you perceived, or thought you perceived, were due to extralinguistic factors.
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
Oh, have I mentioned that Bill Labov claims that the "father" and "bother" vowel classes are distinguished in New York?

No offense, I know he's your advisor and all, but he's Dead Wrong. He's from New Jersey, IIRC, which may explain his confusion.

And it's not like "bother" and "father" were distinguished in New York in elder generations either. Everyone on my father's side of the family has an authentic New York accent of some sort or other, and I'm dead certain that none of them makes any bother/father distinction. I can't even imagine what such a distinction might sound like, and I'm familiar with the Boston version.
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Oh, have I mentioned that Bill Labov claims that the "father" and "bother" vowel classes are distinguished in New York?

No offense, I know he's your advisor and all, but he's Dead Wrong.He's from New Jersey, IIRC, which may explain ... any bother/father distinction. I can't even imagine what such a distinction might sound like, and I'm familiarwith the Boston version.

Well, what Labov actually says (I've posted the link before, and I can't be bothered to do so again) is that what he calls /o/ and /ah/ are distinguished, but that some words which are normally in the /o/ class are pronounced with the /ah/ vowel.
Claims that fit with this have been posted to AUE by two people from the New York area, Michael Hamm (in this thread) and Daniel McGrath. Daniel did, I think, say that "bother" rhymed with "father", so "bother" may be one of the words that moves to the /ah/ class.

Jonathan
( . . . )
Everyone on my father's side of the family has an authentic New York accent of some sort or other, and ... bother/father distinction. I can't even imagine what such a distinction might sound like, and I'm familiar with the Boston version.

You don't have to imagine. You can listen to the difference in the speech of an Englishman.
In Received Pronunciation, "bother" is ([email protected]), "father" is (fA:[email protected]). That is, they're the same vowel except that the one in "bother" is rounded, while the one in "father" is not.
Hmm. Well, Hamm seems to be from Manhattan, so I wonder whether this is an East River difference. Labov's seminal work on New York City accents focused on Manhattan, and a small area of it to boot (somewhere around Cooper Square, of all places, IIRC).
My general impression of Manhattan accents of a latter day is that they show some alarming tendencies of movement towards vowel-inventory reduction. For example, I believe that some Manhattanites may have lost the full MINMINMism Michael Hamm, are you MINMINM? So you'd expect, if anything, for the father/bother distinction to have been lost in Manhattan. As for Daniel, he's really quite far from the New York city area (NTTAWWT). More interesting is the described accent of R.J. Valentine, who IIRC has said he uses "caught" in "wash". However, I suspect that he picked up such quirks at Fort Leonardwood. Maybe he and Coop have similar accents.
Hey, if there are New York speakers who don't have bother/father vowel merger, more power to them. It would be evidence of Interborough Dialectal Diversity (IDD). I'd like to hear proof though. Hamm, you have a microphone?
Thinking about this a bit more, I see that what gets me confused is how the rhotic/non-rhotic divide comes into play. If, as I think is the case, non-rhotic New Yorkers generally distinguish "cot" from "cart", you'd think they should also distinguish "bother" from "father" vowel-wise. Unless the distinction is more of a father/farther thing, which seems more likely. I assume that Hamm is rhotic, based on his putative age.
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( . . . )

Everyone on my father's side of the family has an ... might sound like, and I'm familiar with the Boston version.

You don't have to imagine. You can listen to the difference in the speech of an Englishman. In Received Pronunciation, ... is, they're the same vowel except that the one in "bother" is rounded, while the one in "father" is not.

I find that a very strange statement. They seem quite different vowels to me. What does this "rounded" mean?
Matti
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