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sumelic

American English speaker who grew up in California. (More detailed info on my accent below.)

I’m especially interested in questions about pronunciation, whether it's phonology, phonetics or orthoëpy. I find it hard to think of questions, but I find seeing other people's questions and searching for the answers is a great way to learn. And of course, I've also learned a lot from the answers posted by other users.

Please let me know if you see anything incorrect in my posts!

MY ACCENT:

  • “Caught” and “cot” are homophones
  • “orange” has the same vowel as “core”; the only words spelled with “or” that have the “far” vowel /ɑr/ for me are sorry, tomorrow, borrow, sorrow
  • I don’t naturally have /ʊr/: in the pronunciations I acquired as a child, “poor” and “tour” have the same vowel as “core,” while "cure” and “lure” have the same vowel as “fur”
  • “long a” (/e~eɪ/) before /l/ doesn't have a high offglide; instead, it's something like [eə̯] (similar to the vowel in “hair” without the final “r”)
  • “short a” before /m/, /n/ or /ŋ/ is always fronted and raised to something like [ẽə̯] (similar to the vowel in “hair” without the final “r”)
  • the vowel in “strength” and “length” may sometimes approach the vowel in “bang”

QUOTATIONS ABOUT LANGUAGE:

“A degree of versatility seems involved in the very nature of language, and is one of those evils left by Providence for man to correct : a love of order, and the utility of regularity, will always incline him to confine this versatility within as narrow bounds as possible.”
John Walker

“Variability is not some pesky defect of languages, but a central feature of them (along with, at least, opposition, compositionality, redundancy, ambiguity, synonymy/paraphrase, and hierarchical structure—plus, of course, shared norms). Language (both spoken and written) varies from person to person, from social group to social group, from occasion to occasion, and even for a single person on a single occasion, from moment to moment. And this is a very good thing. It would be insane to try to enforce a single choice between variants, on all occasions, for everyone.”
Arnold Zwicky

“Your lexicographer, having written his dictionary, comes to be considered as ‘one having authority,’ whereas his function is only to make a record, not to give a law. The natural servility of the human understanding having invested him with judicial power, surrenders its right of reason and submits itself to a chronicle as if it were a statute.”
–Ambrose Bierce

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