Date: Sat, 7 Sep 1996 12:09:17 -0400


Subject: Re: American accent: nasal

i said:

lack of roundness seems to be what is being perceived as


then peter mcg said:

Well, not quite. My vowel in "Bob" is no more unrounded, though it is

more fronted, than the Dutch sound spelled "aa" (though the Dutch sound

spelled "o" is short and rounded, so perhaps spelling played a role). But

my vowel in "McGraw" is definitely rounded, and certainly more rounded

than the sound my landlady produced, so it would rather seem as if

rounding was what she was trying to approximate by nasalizing the vowel.

To complicate matters further, Viennese German (especially blue collar

Viennese) has a comparable vowel that is even lower, further back and more

strongly rounded than mine in "McGraw".

well, what i was comparing is typical american accent to british

accent. for me, the 'o' in _not_ or _bob_ is much less round than

that of british english, and this is a function of it also being

lower. the 'o' in british _not_ and _bob_ is closer to the sound

i'd make in _mcgraw_. i was figuring that the europeans were seeing

american characteristics as contrasting british characteristics,

since british english is usually the standard taught in europe (and

africa and parts of asia).

when the movie _la femme nikita_ came out, my friends and i thought

the french pronunciation of "bob" was one of the most amusing things

there was. (you must understand, we were living in a central illinois

college town during summer break. we did anything to entertain

ourselves.) so, anyone with a name remotely like "robert" became

"bub" (with the shortest possible vowel)--i guess it would be

something like [boeb]--where the o and e are one graph. this is

vastly different than how someone else was describing the dutch

pronunciation of the name. the languages of europe, of course,

each have their own vowels, but all the people seem to perceive

americans in the same way ("nasal")--so i guess that's why i'm

assuming they're comparing us with a british standard rather than

with their own pronunciations.