On Tue, Nov 09, 2004 at 01:05:16PM -0500, John Cowan wrote:
> "Wash" has /O/ in my dialect, but I realize that this is not determinative
> about /wOrS/-dialects, because "Washington" is /wAS-/ in my dialect and
> /wOrS-/ in dialects that have that.

So how did English end up with words spelled with |a| but pronounced
with /O/?  Hypercorrection in response to all the |o| words getting
pronounced /A/~/a/?

> W/r/t Canadian English or RP, which maintain all of the original distinctions,
> my dialect has unrounded short /O/ but not long, so "pot" has /A/ but "law"
> does not.

The sound /O/ is absent from my dialect except for words ending in -aw
and -all.  For me, "water", "wash", "Washington", "father", "cot", "caught",
"cough", "bought", and "lot" all have the same vowel,  For that matter, that
same vowel is the one in "latte", "taco", and all those other borrowed
words which have an /a/ in the source language that inexplicably turns
into /&/ in Rightpondian.  (I just got back from our weekly
"Tacko Tuesday" lunch with my British boss.)