how common is "Canadian raising" in the U.S.?

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Asa Branca

New Member
English
"Canadian raising" is a supposedly Canadian phenomenon that affects the pronunciation of /ai/ and /au/ before voiceless consonants, producing the famous pronunciation of "aboat" for "about". But there's a related phenomenon also called "Canadian raising" that seems to occur pretty frequently in the U.S., and makes the words "writer" and "rider" distinct -- in the pronunciation of the first vowel, not the "t" vs. "d" (respectively, something like [ɹǝɪɾɚ] and [ɹaɪːɾɚ], although that might not make much sense to non-linguists). This occurs in my (American) speech and in the speech of every single American friend I've asked -- at least to the extent I can get them to stop trying to pronounce the "t" in "writer" artificially when asking about the words. So the obvious question is -- where in the U.S. does "Canadian" raising of /ai/ *not* occur? I.e. are there places where "writer" and "rider" sound identical, and if so, where?

A few related questions/observations:

1. "Canadian raising" is supposed to affect the vowel /ai/ before voiceless but not voiced consonants. But at least in my speech "spider" rhymes with "writer", *not* with "rider". Does everyone with "Canadian raising" agree or is this regional? (I remember noticing something to this effect when I was 5 years old. Some teacher produced the riddle "Why did the fly fly? Because the spider spied (h)er" and my thought was that "spider" and "spied 'er" don't sound identical.)
2. In my speech, "high school" (9th to 12th grade secondary school) has the raised vowel of "writer" -- i.e. it sounds much like "hice school". But "high school" (literally "school that is high (in elevation, collective drug use, etc.)") has the non-raised vowel of "rider". Does everyone with "Canadian raising" have the same distinction?
3. "pilot", "pirate", "hydrogen" -- all three words can be (at least optionally) raised in my speech. Do others agree? (This suggests to me that /ai/ gets raised, or at least can get raised, in a stressed syllable any time there's not a morpheme boundary after the syllable. Hence "spider" gets raised because it's a single morpheme, but "rider" doesn't because it's formed from two morphemes "ride" + "-er".)
 
  • ribran

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Hi Asa Branca,

    Welcome to the English Only forum. We have a pretty strict "one question to a thread" rule, so could you please pick one?
     

    Asa Branca

    New Member
    English
    OK, I'm a bit confused -- you've told me to keep "one question per thread" but another moderator said "try to continue threads if at all possible rather than starting a new one". In this case the obvious question is about the presence of Canadian raising in the U.S. in general, but the related questions are about the presence of Canadian raising in particular words. How do you want this split up? Do you really want four or more threads, with a separate thread about each word?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    If people know what 'Canadian raising' is, they can answer a question about whether they hear it.

    However, it appears to me that most people who contribute to this forum will not are not familiar with the term. On the other hand, they can answer a specific question about a specific sound, for instance, such as this question you ask above:

    Are there places where "writer" and "rider" sound identical, and if so, where?

    If we make this the central question, more people will be able to answer, as I am certain they are anxious to do. :)

    Would answers to that question be helpful to you?
     
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    Asa Branca

    New Member
    English
    Yes, that would be great. But how do I edit the subject of the thread? I don't see any option to do this under "Thread tools".
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    If you look at your first post, you will see an "EDIT" button. Click on that, and you should be able to edit the subject. Since there has been discussion about the whole post, you should probably leave the post untouched, and clarify your question (if needed) in a new post in this thread.

    As to additional threads and questions, wait and see whether answers to your first question answer all the others.
     
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