John Cowan wrote:

> Roger Mills scripsit:
> > > cull, gull, mull, null, dull, lull, cult, gulf,
(snip list)
> For me, it's strictly labial /U/, otherwise /V/.  So all but bulb, pulp,
> mulct, mulch, pulse, pulley, fulminate, refulgent, *pulsive, and Schultz
> (my mother's maiden name, so I pronounce it Germanwise) have /V/.
> "Inculcate" for me is /"Ink@lkeit/, so it's out of scope.
Your reply, and Rachel's, are very interesting.  It leads me to believe I'm
more of a pedant than I suspected :-)))))))
Actually, I think it's a generational thing, bearing in mind that for some
of you, I'm _your father's_ generation, for many of the younger members
_your grandfather's_, and my memory of spoken English goes back to _my
grandfather's_ generation, people who were born in the last quarter XIXC.
So it's hardly surprising that there have been changes during my adult life
(the last 45 yrs or so) that might not have affected my speech. Dirk's post
about the merger of lax vowels (e.g. hill/heel) in his area was also
interesting and news to me.

It's likely my [U] before final/pre-cons. /l/ is in complementary
distribution with [V] (as in cup, buck, but etc), which simply doesn't occur
there-- so I have no minimal pairs [...Ul# ~ ...UlC...] vs. [...Vl#
~...VlC...].  The velarized /l/ (which I pronounce, even in palm and balm)
may be the causative factor. But since [U] and [V] contrast before other
finals (book:buck, roof:rough, puss:pus etc.) they are certainly phonemic.

Either:  the dialect I learned had merged /U/ and /V/ > /U/ before /l/, and
other dialects still keep them separate

Or:  my dialect represents an older ("original") stage, and later
generations have split them up:  /U/ retained if the word has a labial,
otherwise > /V/.

Tristan's post showed that these sounds go all over the map in Aust.Engl.,
hardly surprising since we all know that Au.E is Really Weird (Big
;-))))))))))  In fact I think it's very interesting, and regret I don't hear
more of it-- that dreadful Steve-crocodile-man on TV is hardly typical, nor
were the ANU faculty I hung around with for a few days, 30 yrs ago......)

While on the subject, I'll mention that /U/ does not occur before /p, b/
either, but I think that's pretty universal in AE and RP(?).  (Aside from
the vulgar Yiddishism? shtoop/shtup? [StUp] = 'f*ck')