Map 2. Comparative progress of the /o/ ~ /oh/ merger before /n/ and /t/.

Large map with full information on Telsur subjects

Map 2 examines the relative advancement of the merger of /o/ and /oh/ before nasals in speech production. In the Telsur interview, information about the contrast between /o/ and /oh/ is obtained by eliciting the pronunciations of /o/ in words like Don and Ron, and /oh/ in words like Dawn, fawn . At the same time, information is obtained about the parallel contrast between cot and caught .

Throughout the studies of this merger, it has been observed that it occurs more rapidly before nasals. Map 2 illustrates the extent of this relative advance. As in Map 1, the red circles represent clear merger in production for allophones before both /n/ and /t/ [N=162], and the blue circles a clear distinction in both environments [N=222]. The yellow and green circles are variable cases where the merger is advanced more in one environment than the other. Yellow circles stand for cases where the merger is more advanced before nasal /n/. For example, where cot and caught are clearly distinct, but Don and Dawn are close, or where cot and caught are close but Ron and rhyme exactly. There are 107 such cases. But there are only 28 green circles representing the reverse situation, where the merger is more advanced before /t/.

It is immediately clear that the yellow circles form a belt in the transitional zone, while the scattering of green circles show no particular distribution. This is one illustration of the extent to which the merger proceeds first before nasals, and then affects other allophones.