Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Jeopardy does it again

Tonight one of the categories on Jeopardy is "rhymes with bot."  Presumably, "bot" would be pronounced [bɑt].  In one of the questions, the desired response was "ought."  Problem is, for some of us, "bot" and "ought" do not rhyme.  For some of us, including me, "ought" is pronounced [ɔt], not [ɑt].  For those not familiar with phonetic symbols, [ɑ] is a low back unrounded vowel, and [ɔ] is a mid back lax rounded vowel.

So, once again, the Jeopardy answer is contingent on whether people have participated in the [ɑ] - [ɔ] merger.

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PS:  I wrote about a similar incident on Jeopardy back in February, that time involving the so-called "homophones" Don and dawn.

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