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Is there a difference between CLOTH and CAUGHT for others, then? I believe
I say them the same, or nearly so.

On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, Herman Miller wrote:

> On 2/12/2013 5:17 PM, And Rosta wrote:
>
>  The likeliest form of (4b) is (4c):
>> (4c) FATHER in all -omp words and some -onk words and CAUGHT in other
>> -onk words.
>>
>> I presume -ong words pattern with -onk words.
>>
>
> All -ong words have the CAUGHT vowel for me.
>
>  I had been trying to work out how many phonologically short vowels North
>> American accents have. There are grounds for counting only 5 (KIT,
>> DRESS, TRAP, STRUT, FOOT), or for counting 6, or (especially for (4b/c)
>> dialects) for counting 7. (Not counting extras due to e.g. BAD/LAD split.)
>>
>
> I'd count only the 5 you've mentioned, but then CAUGHT would be the only
> "long" vowel that can appear before /ŋ/ (not counting foreign borrowings).
> (Historically it would have been the CLOTH vowel.)
>
>  My tally of responses (based on info given in responses):
>> Zach (1)
>> Tony (2) [perplexing! -- Tony: what words have the COT vowel? Sob? Bomb?
>> Blond? Sconce? Mop? Or does BOTHER not have the COT vowel?]
>> Tim (4a)
>> Stevo (4a)
>> Roger (4a) ((4c) counting _conch_)
>> Allison (4a) ((4c) counting _conch_)
>> Gary (4c)
>> Herman (4c)
>>
>> For the 4c-ers, it seems as though the incidence of FATHER in -onk --
>> and -ong?? -- is sufficiently rare that they might be considered special
>> exceptions (like e.g. _boing_ and _oink_ are).
>>
>
> There are few enough -onk words as it is, but I think probably (for me)
> the majority are pronounced with CAUGHT exclusively, and the others can be
> pronounced either way. So it seems fair to treat them as exceptions.
>