Date: Tue, 30 Apr 1996 11:41:11 -0500 From: "David A. Johns" Subject: Re: Florida l-lessness > I was somewhat surprised by his observation that younger Floridians > don't have the cot/caught distinction because my observations, as well as > the results of my direct questions about that pair of words, suggest that > they do, at least in this part of the state. Those who don't usually are > recent arrivals to the area. By the way, I live in Panama City, FL. Let me draw a more comprehensive -- although still completely impressionistic -- map. First, I have heard the typically southern rising diphthong [aw] in CAUGHT, etc., only from the Panhandle. There seems to be an isogloss that roughly follows the Florida-Georgia line west from Jacksonville and cuts south somewhere past Tallahassee. Right now I know a 60-ish man from Mariana who has it and a 40-ish woman from Tallahassee who has a falling diphthong (next paragraph). Older speakers in roughly the northern half of the peninsula have a "standard" [O] (i.e., low back slightly rounded) tending toward a New Yorkish falling diphthong ([O-]). I know two women, one about 40 from Fernandina Beach (north of Jacksonville) and one about 50 from Ocala, who have the falling diphthong. If I remember correctly, some of the speakers in recent TV interviews about the Rosewood massacre (they'd be in at least their late 70s now) also had this vowel; I'm sure none of them had [aw], which suggests that [aw] never spread that far south (near Tampa). Younger people from the entire peninsula, whether speakers of a mainly southern variety or one of the more northern accents of the cities, have a low central-to-back unrounded vowel in both the COT words and the CAUGHT words. This "map" is nothing but a compilation of eleven years of listening to undergraduates and others at UF in Gainesville, plus a certain amount of traveling around the area. It would certainly be interesting to see a formal study of Florida accents, which seem to be changing in both geographical and social dimensions. David Johns Waycross College Waycross, GA