At 09:34 AM 6/17/2004 -0400, John Cowan wrote:

>Well, AFAIK it's a class distinction -- lower-class people use [a] ~ [A];
>middle- and upper-class ones use [O] ~ [Q]. The name of New Orleans
>exhibits even more complex variation.

As does the pronunciation of Baltimore, where I spent lo many years. If I meet people from there now, I can often peg where they are from within a few miles or in some cases even blocks based just on them says "Oh I am from Baltimore too!"



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