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In Received Pronunciation, "bother" is ([email protected]), "father" is (fA:[email protected]). That ... "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?

If you'll look closely at your mouth in a mirror while you're pronouncing "bother", you should see that your lips are rounded to some extent. If you then try to unround your lips while pronouncing "bother", the first vowel in "bother" should turn into the one in "father".
One person in AUE may tell you that he can pronounce (A.) without rounding his lips, but this is absurd, since IPA (A.) has no other definition than that it's the low back vowel spoken with rounded lips. I have no way of knowing what vowel he's pronouncing when he thinks he's pronouncing (A.) without lip rounding. So far as I know, he's never bothered to submit samples of his pronunciation.
I can't pronounce (A.) reliably, because it's not in my idiolect, but I know it when I hear it pronounced by an RP speaker.
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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.

This seems like the same sort of reasoning that leads people to classify a person as black no matter how small his percentage of black ancestry is.
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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.

Oh, I'm familiar enough with the RP-and-friends style of bother/father distinction, in part owing to the excellent collection of recordings maintained, at various times over the years, by DOEU Cunningham of AUE. Moreover, and this is what I should have explained further in my previous remarks, I'm almost as familiar with Traditional Eastern Massachusetts accents as I am with New York accents, since a substantial plurality of my maternal relatives grew up in Eastern Massachusetts.

What is the "Woody" a nickname of, BTW? My father once had a boss named Elwood, but he was known to all as "Woody".
I'm seriously saying that if you can prove that Robert ... then he's CINC and not CIC. This shouldn't be controversial.

This seems like the same sort of reasoning that leads people to classify a person as black no matter how small his percentage of black ancestry is.[/nq]I don't think it's the same sort of reasoning. CINC means "cot is not caught". The definition of CINC must have something to do with systematically distinguishing between "cot" and "caught". These minimal pairs are useful because there's no obvious reason why there should be any systematic difference unless the speaker does, in fact, distinguish "cot" from "caught" systematically, IYFM. I can sort of see how a nominally CIC person, a Dawna Richoux if you will, might still be CIC even if she always uses a further back and more rounded vowel for any sort of cot/caught preceding /l/ (as in "call", "doll").

But if we can show that a Dawna Richoux systematically uses one sort of cot/caught vowel in "call" and another in "doll", then she'd better have a good explanation for why the initial /k/ or /d/ is causing this difference, 'cause otherwise I'm'o classify her as CINC.
I don't think it's the same sort of reasoning. CINC means "cot is not caught". The definition of CINC must ... from "caught" systematically, IYFM. I can sort of see how a nominally CIC person, a Dawna Richoux if you will,

I willn't. It's a spelling that doesn't convey any significant information to people like me, and that screws up the other people. I already have to live with Dutch people putting a Dutch o in Donna.
might still be CIC even if she always uses a further back and more rounded vowel for any sort of ... good explanation for why the initial /k/ or /d/ is causing this difference, 'cause otherwise I'm'o classify her as CINC.

Boy, you sure do construct "if" statements and then run with them, forgetting that they might not be true. "Call" and "doll" are perfect rhymes for me, and no, I'm not going to the fuss and bother of making another recording to prove it to you. You'd probably claim you heard some difference, anyway.

Donna Richoux
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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 his confusion.

I didn't believe him either. Though it's possible that I was misunderstanding him and he was referring to a non-rhotic non-merger of "cot" and "cart", which would seem to be the same distinction.

-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
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.

And the one in "bother" is noticeably shorter.
I have something close to (A.) in "bother" as well (and other words of the "cot" and "caught" classes), but it's longer than the British (A.), and noticeably less tightly rounded as well - although still rounded enough to be more (A.) than (A), I think.
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
But if we can show that a Dawna Richoux systematically uses one sort of cot/caught vowel in "call" and another ... good explanation for why the initial /k/ or /d/ is causing this difference, 'cause otherwise I'm'o classify her as CINC.

"I'm'o"?
"I'ma".
I know, I know, but that's how it's spelled.
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
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( . . . )

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

If you'll look closely at your mouth in a mirror while you're pronouncing "bother", you should see that your lips ... reliably, because it's not in my idiolect, but I know it when I hear it pronounced by an RP speaker.

To what extent is this influenced by the initial consonants in your examples, though?
I find that I can switch between "bother-sans-b" and "father-sans-f" without moving my lips in the slightest, a bit like a vent would do, perhaps. Is this encompassed by your theory? It seems to me as if my mouth is internally making quite different sounds for these vowels, both issuing from the same lip shape.
Matti
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