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Interesting. I can't even think what distinction might be made ... pronounces it in "halve"). What distinction do you make, exactly?

Some accents in the Eastern US have a split in the "short a" class. Vowels before certain consonants, especially fricatives, ... the auxiliaries "can" and "have") turn out not to. So "have" has the "lax" vowel and "halve" the tense vowel.

I'd note that "halve" is, for me, barely a natural word to use I think the more natural way of expressing the "halve" notion in my dialect is "cut in half" or "divide in half". So "halve" is one of those words that one conceivably could go through a relatively full life never saying. Nevertheless, I don't think my halve/have distinction is so artificial as not to see it as a legitimate manifestation of this can/can distinction.

This might be based on unfair stereotypes, but "halve" seems to me like the sort of word a British person might be more likely to use than a 'Merican.
One curiousity is that the set of words which get the "tense" vowel includes almost all (1) of the words ... like RP, but not in northern English or most American accents. This suggests that the two phenomena may be related.

Indeed, our own Aaron J. Dinkin has suggested that very thing.

It seems to include a larger set of words, though, in the New York English case.
In fact, "half" has /A/, not just in southern England, but in northern English accents like mine and Frances Kemmish's, ... /A/ came from the same source as the /A/ in words like "palm". (1) Richard, how do you pronounce "Glasgow"?

I guess I say the first syllable like "glass", which has the tense-can vowel. But that's a sort of spelling pronunciation by a speaker for whom the only known "Glasgow" is that city up in Scotland. I know I've heard other pronunciations of "Glasgow" not sure whether from British persons or not where I'd reproduced the pronunciation, or some sort of imagined corresponding pronunciation, using the "cat" vowel instead. Basically, I don't know how to properly pronounce "Glasgow". If it weren't for the superficial similarity of that first syllable to "glass", I might well use the "cat" vowel there.
Er, so how does one pronounce Glasgow? I think I've heard both /s/ and /z/ for the . Unfortunately I'm not familiar-familiar with any US Glasgows, though apparently there are Glasgows in Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. There's a New Glasgow in Nova Scotia of all places.
I've been to Glasgow (Scotland), though. Like so many British cities, it looked sort of like Baltimore.
(snip)

Drescher, in case it's not clear, is not a Prestige speaker.

(snip) President Clinton is a prestige speaker.

Perhaps. I don't know from Southern accents.
Mary Steenburgen seems to have more of a prestigious accent than Clinton, tho'.
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(1) Richard, how do you pronounce "Glasgow"?

I guess I say the first syllable like "glass", which has thetense-can vowel. But that's a sort of spelling pronunciation ... are Glasgows in Kentucky,Missouri, Montana, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.There's a New Glasgow in Nova Scotia of all places.

I pronounce "Glasgow" with the "cat" vowel followed by /z/. In RP it has the "father" vowel. This is the only example I can think of of a "bath" vowel before /z/, which was why I asked.
Its pronunciation in Glaswegian is another matter.
I've been to Glasgow (Scotland), though. Like so many Britishcities, it looked sort of like Baltimore.

Could you understand the locals?
Jonathan
My recollection is that Edinburgh and Glasgow speakers were both easy to understand, like the whole lot of the British, but one time, in Edinburgh, I was in a "chippie" and I couldn't understand the woman from whom you ordered your fish and chips. I barely was able to make out her pronunciation of "fish and chips" I recollect that it was like "fi SHAN chips", with a radically alien approach to syllable division and phrasal stress, you see.
cities, it Could you understand the locals?

My recollection is that Edinburgh and Glasgow speakers were both easy to understand, like the whole lot of the British, ... that it was like "fi SHAN chips", with a radically alien approach to syllable division and phrasal stress, you see.

Edinburgh has a very distinctive middle class accent which foreigners would probably have no difficulty in understanding. But working class Glaswegian is incomprehensible to almost everybody, including other Glaswegians.

David
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One more good example of why usenet is the wrong ... unless forced to, and then do so unreliably and inconsistently.

Why "unreliably"? Don't you distinguish between "cam" and "calm",

For me, it's more the distinction between "com" and "calm". Phonemically, in normal speech, there's none. "Cam" has a completely different vowel (/&/ as opposed to /A/).
I don't think I really distinguish "have" and "halve", although "halve" is more likely to carry stress, with all that entails.

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I wondered how he internalised the use of 'j' rather than 'h'.

He understands "initials", watches a lot of sports, and knows that San Jose is "SJ". But I was surprised that he remembered.

Right. I was simply wondering whether he was surrounded by so many Spanish words, or at least names, that he had maybe ascribed the 'h' sound to 'j' throughout; or whether he could clearly distinguish between Spanish and English names.

Rob Bannister
I distinguish between "have" and "halve".

And so, confusion continues to reign. I'm sure that part of a good English reform would be to standardize correct ... people. I do think that in the long run if the English-speaking community were to decide on standardized international pronunciations

In that case, the 'easiest' thing would be for us to all pronounce every word exactly as it is spelt now. It would mean learning a new sound for the 'gh' words, but is just as possible as your suggestion.

Try reading a passage aloud doing it. It sounds understandable - rather like a funny dialect. The main problem is with the soft 'g' in some of the words from French.

Rob Bannister
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I distinguish between "have" and "halve".

Interesting. I can't even think what distinction might be made (assuming you don't pronounce "halve" lambdically I pronounce the "l" in "palm" but don't know anyone who pronounces it in "halve"). What distinction do you make, exactly?

I thought everyone did this. Just shows how wrong one can be. 'Have' is sort of like 'hev'; 'halve' is 'hahv'. Is the latter the same vowel you have in the first 'a' of 'lava'? I'm still struggling with the distinction between the 'o' of 'hot' and 'coffee', but at least I can make a guess at what it is.

Rob Bannister
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