Salmoneus wrote: ↑06 Jan 2022 13:06
And iirc some Southerners there's a wire-war merger? I don't know if that's a derounding of 'war' or a rounding of 'wire', though.
That's not something I've heard of before, but I'd expect a fire-far merger to be common in most places PRICE monophthongization has reached fixation.
[I didn't know that about START. Where does that happen? And do any Americans have rounded CLOTH yet keep it separate from CAUGHT?]
Mid-Atlantic - my START and CLOTH/THOUGHT are something like [ɔɹ] and [ɔə]. (dhok once registered surprise at my pronunciation of "coffee".) Maybe some AAVE as well.
PRICE monophthongization exists here but hasn't reached fixation, and under monophthongization 'fire' and 'far' are still distinct - something like [far fɔr]. ([æ a ɑ ɔ] are all distinct, although some varieties have diphthongization of [æ] and/or [ɔ], and others have a contrast between [æ] and [eə], although I think that's too far north to have PRICE monophthongization even optionally. Also, 'flour' can be monophthongized to [flær], although /æ/ not before /n r/ doesn't get much flatter than [æə] - which is still distinct from [eə], but difficult to distinguish from [æ]. I have been accused - by a ling grad student from New Jersey who has phonemic /eə/, presumably from the TRAP-BATH split - of having a "Hal-howl merger", but I'm pretty sure I don't.)
Are CLOTH and THOUGHT distinguished anywhere in the US? If they are, I've never heard of this. (Parts of New England merge LOT into CLOTH/THOUGHT - I once saw a Dunkin Donuts promo in Boston for something called the "Gronk Chomp", which works for them but not for us - /grɔŋk tʃɔmp/ there, /grɔŋk tʃɑmp/ here. A cot-caught-merged copyeditor is possible in theory, but lol no, Gronk was playing for the Pats.)