Food for /θɔt/ or /θɑt/?
A Case Study of a Low Back Vowel Merger
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.
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