Pronunciation: Jossey [bossy, saucy: cot, caught merger]

  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Where did you come across it? It's not a common name in the English speaking world. And it's more likely to be a surname than a given name.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "Bossy" and "saucy" rhyme in some regional dialects, and not in others. The difference is how "bossy" is pronounced. Don't get me started about Boston accents.:p

    How do you pronounce Jossey?
    Is it a man's or woman's name?
    I've never heard it before. And I agree, it is probably a last name (family name) and not a first name. So it is not either male or female.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    No, they are not merged in the northeastern US accent that I believe RM1 and I share. Bossy and saucy have the verb of caught, and not the verb of got. Got has the verb of posse and Flossie -- and that is the verb I would use for Jossey. :D
    ??? So you say cot and got differently? The nominal merger, as I understand it, is that cot and caught are pronounced the same, so I made the huge jump to interpret that as "got" and "cot" would be the same and that would explain got and saucy sharing the same vowel (#3).
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    "Cot" and "got" have the same vowel. However, "bossy" does not have the vowel of "cot" and "got". Instead, it has the vowel of "caught" (and for that matter, of "dog", and "law") - which is not the vowel of "cot." In my accent, "bossy" could be spelled as "bawsie" without any change in pronunciation.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "Cot" and "got" have the same vowel. However, "bossy" does not have the vowel of "cot" and "got". Instead, it has the vowel of "caught" (and for that matter, of "dog") - which is not the vowel of "cot." In my accent, "bossy" could be spelled as "bawsie" without any change in pronunciation.
    So you don't have the cot caught merger? I interpreted RM's post #3 of the rhyming of "bossy" and "saucy" as an example of such, both being the vowel you just used aw for (bawsy, saucy, caught and cot). I thought I understood this merger :( Someone with the merger can still distinguish between cot/got and bossy dog?
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    In the northeastern US accent that I have, and that I presume RM1 has, "bossy" rhymes with "saucy."
    So you don't have the cot caught merger?
    Absolutely not!

    I interpreted RM's post #3 of the rhyming of "bossy" and "saucy" as an example of such, both being the vowel you just used aw for (bawsy, saucy, caught and cot).
    No. Bossy, saucy, and caught (and also dog and law) have the same vowel. However, this is a very different vowel from the vowel of "cot" and "got" (and also of posse, Flossie, and frog.)

    Someone with the merger can still distinguish between cot/got and bossy dog?
    I would not know, since in my part of the US, we do not have the merger. Those of use who are unmerged can clearly distinguish between the cot/got vowel and the bossy/dog vowel.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    OK. For me (I say cot and caught completely differently):
    1) cot, dog, frog, bossy, got, posse and Fossie all have the same vowel (and for me this is the same short o as in cot)
    2) caught, sauce, law, bought all have the same vowel (a longish aw)
    so I had interpreted the cot caught merger as 1) = 2)

    You are saying that some of the words in 1) do not share the same vowel in your accent: I was not aware there was an accent where dog and frog had different vowels, or where cot and got had different vowels :eek: Can you tell me what the distinguishing feature of the dog/frog difference and the cot/got difference is?
     

    AidaGlass

    Senior Member
    Persian-Iran
    The answer to your question is not uniform for all English speakers.
    According to Cambridge Dictionary, the standard American pronunciation of 'bossy[/ˈbɑː.si/],got[/gɑːt/],caught[/kɑːt/],saucy[/ˈsɑ:.si/] , rhymes with,say, hot.(the same: ɑː sound).
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Just for completeness here (from Cot–caught merger - Wikipedia)
    The cotcaught merger (also known as the low back merger or the lot–thought merger) is a phonemic merger that has taken place in some varieties of English, between the phonemes which are conventionally represented in the IPA as /ɔː/ (as in caught and thought) and /ɒ/ (as in cot and lot). In varieties in which the merger has taken place, including a few in the British Isles and many in North America, what were historically two separate phonemes have fallen together into a single sound, so that caught and cot are pronounced identically.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    According to Cambridge Dictionary, the standard American pronunciation of ...
    There is no such thing as a "standard American pronunciation" of anything. Pronunciation is regional, and there is no "standard" region.
    OK. For me (I say cot and caught completely differently):
    As do I.

    1) cot, dog, frog, bossy, got, posse and Flossie all have the same vowel (and for me this is the same short o as in cot)
    For me they do not all have the same vowel. Cot, frog, got, posse, and Flossie have the same short o, but dog and bossy (and its source word "boss") are different.

    2) caught, sauce, law, bought all have the same vowel (a longish aw)
    These are all the same in my accent -- but dog and bossy are also examples of this vowel (and "boss" rhymes perfectly with "sauce"). Dog and bossy have the "aw" sound of law and caught, and not the short o of cot.
     

    AidaGlass

    Senior Member
    Persian-Iran
    Pronunciation is regional, and there is no "standard" region.
    So,? How should non-native speakers pronounce English words? There must be a standard pronunciation of each and every word, I believe. Almost every non-speaker refers to a valid dictionary when it comes to pronouncing a word they're not sure how to pronounce.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    According to Cambridge Dictionary, the standard American pronunciation of 'bossy[/ˈbɑː.si/],got[/gɑːt/],caught[/kɑːt/],saucy[/ˈsɑ:.si/] , rhymes with,say, hot.(the same: ɑː sound).
    According to the WordReference dictionary "cot" and "caught" use different vowels:

    cot /kɑt/ ("USA pronunciation")
    caught /kɔt/ ("USA pronunciation")

    I think you will find that different dictionaries use different phonetic spellings, for many English words. A very good dictionary will list more than one phonetic spelling, for some words.

    Are 'o' in the word bossy and 'au' in the word 'saucy' pronounced the same?
    As I said in post #7 (where I said "rhyme"), the vowels are pronounced the same in some AE dialects, and pronounced different in others.

    So,? How should non-native speakers pronounce English words? There must be a standard pronunciation of each and every word, I believe. Almost every non-speaker refers to a valid dictionary when it comes to pronouncing a word they're not sure how to pronounce.
    There is definitely not one single correct pronunciation for every word in English.

    There are four main types of English: British (BE), American (AE), Australian (AusE) and Indian (IE). These split off from each other 100 to 300 years ago. We still understand each other, but we use some different words, some different phrases, and some different grammar forms. There are many differences in pronunciation. I think someone learning English should choose to learn BE or AE, and make sure their textbooks and other learning materials are all BE or all AE.

    In AE itself, there are regional dialects with large differences. The same is true in BE. But in each country there is an unofficial standard: the language spoken by TV news reporters in that country. That is the best dialect for someone learning English to copy.
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    So,? How should non-native speakers pronounce English words?
    They go to WordReference.com to get some valuable advice from native English speakers (and from humble rookies like me)! :)

    This is a very well-known difference between the East Coast and the West Coast: cawfee VS cahfee, ah-ranges VS ore-anges, app-ricot VS ape-ricot, dawg VS dahg, wawter VS wah-ter, etc.
     

    Vovan

    Senior Member
    Russian
    This is a very well-known difference between the East Coast and the West Coast: cawfee VS cahfee, ah-ranges VS ore-anges, app-ricot VS ape-ricot, dawg VS dahg, wawter VS wah-ter, etc.
    Very true!:thumbsup:
    Plus, as GWB has mentioned, it may also depend on the word. Thus, although retaining the typically American [a:] in "cot", Americans from some regions still say [dog] for "dog".
     
    Last edited:

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    So you don't have the cot caught merger? I interpreted RM's post #3 of the rhyming of "bossy" and "saucy" as an example of such, both being the vowel you just used aw for (bawsy, saucy, caught and cot). I thought I understood this merger :( Someone with the merger can still distinguish between cot/got and bossy dog?
    I have the full marry/merry/Mary merger, but I do not ha ve the cot/caught merger -- those are two very different vowel sounds.

    In the northeastern US accent that I have, and that I presume RM1 has, "bossy" rhymes with "saucy."
    I'm from the Midwest, actually -- the Great Lakes states.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    To get back to the OP's question, perhaps he'll let us know where he came across this name.
     
    Last edited:

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    They go to WordReference.com to get some valuable advice from native English speakers (and from humble rookies like me)! :)

    This is a very well-known difference between the East Coast and the West Coast: cawfee VS cahfee, ah-ranges VS ore-anges, app-ricot VS ape-ricot, dawg VS dahg, wawter VS wah-ter, etc.
    I use the blue ones.
     
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