From: Rick McCallister
> I thought I'd make a few comments on this topic:____________________________________________________________________________________
> I live and grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and
> everyone I've ever encountered distinguishes "poor"
> and "pore", the former as /pu(:)(&)r/, the latter as
> /po(:)r/ or /pO(:)r/. /o/ and /O/ are not
> distinguishable before /r/, and length is not
> phonemic in most varieties of Canadian English, I'm
> pretty sure. When I watch American TV I mostly hear
> "poor" as /pur/. My parents, on the other hand, who
> grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, rhyme "poor" and
> "pore" as /pO/ (/O/ is long but the length is not
> phonemic, it's really just the tongue position).
> You're right about the Canadian pronunciation of
> "sorry", "borrow", "tomorrow", but I've heard that
> pronunciation on American TV as well. To me a major
> difference between American and Canadian
> pronunciation is in the pronunciation of the vowel
> in "hot", "caught", "cloth", "top", "law", which I
> hear as /A:/ in most American English (with the same
> vowel as in "far"), but in Canadian English is
> pronounced further back in the mouth and often with
> some degree of lip-rounding (the amount of
> lip-rounding varies from person to person and with
> degree of education). The difference is really
> quite noticeable and immediately identifies someone
> as American vs. Canadian. However, I've heard the
> Canadian pronunciation among some Americans as well.
> Also many Americans pronounce /ae/ as /Ea/ or /E&/
> or /E:/ in all words, which you virtually never hear
> anywhere in Canada (/ae/ is lower and often further
> back in most varieties of Canadian English, except
> before nasals and /r/ where most
> easterners use the American pronunciation). But
> the Canadian pronunciation is also not infrequent
> among Americans I've heard on TV. I find California
> pronunciation to be most similar to my own Canadian
> "Brian M. Scott" <BMScott@...> wrote:
> At 9:40:40 PM on Thursday, June 7, 2007,
> Rick McCallister wrote:
> > In the US, the pronunciation is definitely /or/
> > not /Or/.
> This is meaningless until you explain what words you
> contain phonemes /o/ and /O/. In the Fromkin &
> system, which is widely used for AmE, /O/ is the
> vowel of
> <or> and <more>, and /o/ is the vowel of <so> and
> In terms of phones rather than phonemes, the usual
> U.S. pronunciation of <or> is definitely [Or], not
> > I have never heard anyone in the last 40 years or
> > distinguish pore and poor anywhere in the US.
> And outside the south I have rarely heard anyone
> distinguish them in that time. (I'm 59.)
> > In the Midwest, where I grew up pore and poor are
> > pronounced the same,
> The Midwest is a big place; I have no doubt that
> parts of it
> had the poor-pore merger when you were growing up.
> parts didn't.
> > also in the NW and SW (where I lived many years)
> and in
> > the Mid-Atlantic where I live now.
> I was born in the Pacific Northwest, and both of my
> were from there; I was quite startled the first time
> I heard
> someone pronounce <poor> as if it were spelled