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This has certainly been an interesting thread with everyone trying to tell Gary what to do to fit THEIR pronunciation, when he stated in the beginning that this was all about HIS pronunciation.  From the volume of suggestions it seems that no two Americans pronounce anything the same!

[bAl] to me is the name of the Canaanite god Ba'al encountered in the Old Testament, or the Indonesian island [bAlE].  My pronunciation is [bOl], if that's the sound Gary means in [rOr].

Charlie

> After all that about "cot/caught?", etc.  Why distinguish <o> and 
> <x> which are the same in GenAm?  IML "hot" and "ball" are [hAt] and 
> [bAl].  I could see keeping them if you were not going with GenAm.
>