Food for /θɔt/ or /θɑt/?

A Case Study of a Low Back Vowel Merger

  • Rosa Balliro University of British Columbia


The English low back vowel merger, where words like caught and cot are pronounced identically, is a well-studied phenomenon. Generally, these studies focus on mergers within given regions, comparing vowels of non-mobile individuals. My research differs in exploring the effects of relocation. I examine pronunciation differences of vowels in differently gendered twins from England who moved to Canada as children. Despite growing up in similar environments, their vowel patterns differ: there is some evidence of merger in the female’s but not the male’s vowels. This suggests that mobility and exposure to a new dialect may affect pronunciation changes but are not the sole factors. 

How to Cite
Balliro, R. “Food for /θɔt/ Or /θɑt/?”. Lifespans and Styles, Vol. 7, no. 2, Dec. 2021, pp. 48-56, doi:10.2218/ls.v7i2.2021.6643.