Where I come from, good old England (north), these equalities hold. However, when chatting on IRC to an American about language, he found it hard to understand why I said aw = or, and kept saying to me "No, aw = ah". I insisted that that was incorrect. I cannot see how aw = ah, as it is firmly ingrained in my head that aw = or, e.g. Law & Order (pronounced Lore and Order using the Intrusive R, dealt with in my other topic). Can someone who understands aw = ah explain to me how s/he sees it, as it is hard for me to realise it. Thanks a lot!

Cheers,
Matt
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Where I come from, good old England (north), these equalities hold. However, when chatting on IRC to an American about ... ah explain to me how s/he sees it, as it is hard for me to realise it. Thanks a lot!

Heads down, everyone; here comes another CINC thread.

Peter Moylan (Email Removed) http://eepjm.newcastle.edu.au (OS/2 and eCS information and software)
Where I come from, good old England (north), these equalities hold. However, when chatting on IRC to an American about ... ah explain to me how s/he sees it, as it is hard for me to realise it. Thanks a lot!

This is a case where ASCII IPA might prove useful:

See
http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Evan Kirshenbaum/IPA/

and
http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Evan Kirshenbaum/IPA/english.html
Your post gives me a headache, to tell you the truth. It needs rewriting before I would be willing to tackle it.
Forgetting ASCII IPA for the moment, one convention that's useful is to surround a sound or group of sounds as they might be found in actual English text with angled brackets, like so: "The syllable 'shun' in English is sometimes spelled , sometimes , sometimes ."

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Where I come from, good old England (north), these equalities ... is hard for me to realise it. Thanks a lot!

This is a case where ASCII IPA might prove useful: See http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Evan Kirshenbaum/IPA/ and http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Evan Kirshenbaum/IPA/english.html Your post gives me a headache, to tell you the truth. It needsrewriting before I would be willing to tackle it.

OK - I realise it is quite messy. What I was trying to say, but worded rather badly, was this.
I have always thought, and grown up thinking, that the sounds represented by the following pairs of letters are the same, as listed here:
ah = ar
aw = or
Hence aw =/= ah and aw =/= ar. However, during a chat about pronunciation with an American on IRC, when I said aw = or, he replied firmly in the negative, with the following:
aw = ah!
I do not understand how he can think that, as to me "aw" looks like "or" to my northern English eyes and ears. I would assume the reverse is true for my correspondent; I guess "aw" looks like "ah" to him, and he probably can't see how I can think what I do. I was just hoping for someone who understands the full picture to explain to me how "aw" can be seen as "ah", when it is firmly ingrained in my head that "aw" is "or".
I hope I have clarified the situation for you, and apologies for writing it rather clumsily in the first place.
Cheers,
Matt
Where I come from, good old England (north), these equalities hold. However, when chatting on IRC to an American about ... ah explain to me how s/he sees it, as it is hard for me to realise it. Thanks a lot!

As I'm sure you're aware, people speaking English in different parts of the world have different pronunciations for the same words. However, what is less well-known is that this is true not only on the level of individual words. In fact different regional variants of English even disagree with each other on the question of which words have the same vowel sounds as other words.
At a certain leven of abstraction, English has several of what we might call, for the nonce, systematic "vowel classes". The point is that, with certain sporadic exceptions, any given speaker of English will pronounce all the words in a single vowel class with the same vowel: that is, you will pronounce any word in the "ah" class with the same vowel as any other word in the "ah" class, and so will I. However, every speaker also merges certain vowel classes, while keeping others distinct, and which vowel classes you merge depend on your regional dialect. By "merging" two vowel classes, I mean pronouncing words of one vowel class with the same vowel as words in another vowel class.
Here are some of the English vowel classes that pattern differently in different regional dialects:
the "short a" class - in words like "cat", "hat", "rack" the "ah" class - in words like "spa" and "father"
the "ar" class - in words like "part", "card", and "harm" the "short o" class - in words like "pot" and "knock" the "tense o" class - in words like "boss" and "soft" the "aw" class - in words like "law" and "caught"
the "or" class - in words like "order" and "port"
the "ore" class - in words like "hoarse" and "bore"

In standard British English, the "ah" and "ar" classes are merged, the "short o" and "tense o" classes are merged, and the "aw", "or", and "ore" classes are merged. In the English of the Western United States, the "ah", "short o", "tense o", and "aw" classes are all merged, and the "or" and "ore" classes are merged. In some old-fashioned Boston English, the "ah" and "ar" classes are merged, and the "short o", "tense o", "aw", and "or" classes are merged, but the "ore" class remains distince. In New York, the "ah" and "short o" classes are merged, but the "tense o" class remains distinct. And so on: almost every dialect has a different pattern of mergers and distinctions.Keep in mind that these vowel classes are only an approximation, and although they work for many discussions, there are cases where they break down, and specific words may have to be considered as being in different classes in different dialects. For instance, "clerk" is in the "er" class in the United States, but in the "ar" class in Britain. For a more complicated example, there is a "tense a" class that's parallel to the "tense o" class I mentioned above; it contains words like "pass" and "dance".

In standard British English, the "tense a" class is merged with the "ah" class; in the Western United States, it's merged with the "short a" class; and in New York and Philadelphia, it remains distinct from both of those. But different dialects often disagree on which words are part of the "tense a" class: for instance, "glad" is part of the "tense a" class in Philadelphia but not in New York or Britain.
I hope this attempt at an explanation is helpful. If I've been unclear, or you think I've got something wrong, I hope the group will set me straight, and of course don't hesitate to ask more.

-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
Forgetting ASCII IPA for the moment, one convention that's useful isto surround a sound or group of sounds as they might be found in actualEnglish text with angled brackets, like so: "The syllable 'shun' in Englishis sometimes spelled , sometimes , sometimes ."

That sentence seems to me to be assuming that schwa (as in most words spelt ) can be identified with /V/ (as in ), which I find counter-intuitive.
Jonathan
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Here are some of the English vowel classes that pattern differentlyin different regional dialects: the "short a" class - in ... the "or" class - in words like "order" and "port" the "ore" class - in words like "hoarse" and "bore"

Actually, "port" is in the "ore" class for me, and this is supported by Chambers and OED 2nd edition. So are most words, for that matter.
In standard British English, the "ah" and "ar" classes are merged,the "short o" and "tense o" classes are merged, and ... I've got something wrong, I hope the group will set me straight, and of course don't hesitate to ask more.

Just that I'd prefer you didn't use the term "standard British English" when you mean modern RP.
Jonathan
Where I come from, good old England (north), these equalities hold. However, when chatting on IRC to an American about ... = ah explain to me how s/hesees it, as it is hard for me to realise it. Thanks a lot!

Two points, both of which affect me:
Not all northern English speakers are non-rhotic. Have you been to Accrington? I think my rhoticity came from Ireland, though.

Even in non-rhotic areas, "law" is often not the same as "lore". I think a non-rhotic Sheffield accent would have "lore" rhyming with "more", "four", "door", but not with "law", "for", "nor", "tor". In terms of Aaron's word classes, the "ore" and "or" classes are not merged.
Jonathan
I have always thought, and grown up thinking, that the sounds represented by the following pairs of letters are the ... I hope I have clarified the situation for you, and apologies for writing it rather clumsily in the first place.

It depends a lot on what part of America you're from. We have regional accents, too, you know. I'm from California, myself. In the western part of the US, the vowel categories merged together long ago.

A few years ago, I recorded myself saying
father, bother, on, swan, all, sorry, wash, saw, pop, caught

and put it at
http://www.euronet.nl/users/trio/father.wav
You may have to try a couple of times to get it to play.

To me, those are all the same vowel, although the following L and R in "all" and "sorry" affect the color slightly.
The last word could be spelled "caught" or "cot," I pronounce them the same. That's what Richard Fontana's CIC and CINC are about, "caught is cot" and "caught is not cot."
Your friend is obviously a "caught is cot" person, like me.

If you start listening carefully to American accents on TV, you will be able to pick this feature out.

Best Donna Richoux
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