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Whenever I look up a transcription for a word containing [o], it's either an [oɪ] diphthong or an [oʊ] diphthong. Is it not possible to pronounce [o] without gliding through [ʊ] too? Is it possible, but English simply doesn't do it? Or, do monophthong [o] words actually exist in English, and I simply haven't been able to find them? EDIT: This question regards any dialect of English.

  • Which dialect of English? Each one has different vowels. – curiousdannii Sep 20 '18 at 11:48
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    @curiousdannii For both British and American. – abcjme Sep 20 '18 at 12:30
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    @abcjme you should edit the question to reflect that – ubadub Sep 20 '18 at 16:12
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    This is an incredibly useful and informative resource whenever you want to find how English accents around the world realize words. (Take it with a grain of salt, though, because the transcriptions are very narrow, they rely on one speaker per accent, and the words are said in careful speech, not casual.) – Nardog Sep 20 '18 at 16:43
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    If you like that, check out the George Mason Accent Archive. Includes native dialects and foreign dialects of English, transcribed in IPA and identified as to location and language background. – jlawler Sep 20 '18 at 19:06
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In Standard American English and Standard British English, no. /o/ is always realized as a diphthong, primarily [oʊ], or [o] may appear in other diphthongs, e.g. [oɪ] although this is usually closer to [ɔɪ]. In some dialects of English, notably Indian English and I believe some types of Caribbean English too, /o/ can be realized as a monophthongal [o].

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    Monophthongal /o/ is a notable feature of Scottish English and Geordie. Also found in Welsh English and North-Central American English. – Nardog Sep 20 '18 at 16:36
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    So does WE. Notice the words "also found". ;) – Nardog Sep 20 '18 at 16:38
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    @abcjme That difference is just convention. Phonemic notations (in slashes) and phonetic transcriptions (in brackets) are two entirely different beasts. You should look up the differences. I recommend this article as a starter. – Nardog Sep 20 '18 at 16:46
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    In American English lects, there is normally a fairly pure [o] before [ɹ], where /o/ and /ɔ/ neutralize (i.e, there is no contrast in these lects between /or/ and /ɔr/). This neutralization is similar to that among /e/, /ɛ/, and /æ/ before /r/, as in Mary, merry, marry, which are only distinguished in N. America in New England; the rest of us pronounce them identically. – jlawler Sep 20 '18 at 19:11
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    @Nardog I meant "x" as a variable. I now realize how confusing that was of me. I was just asking about [] and // in general. – abcjme Sep 22 '18 at 15:06
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According to the table in Wiktionary Appendix:English pronunciation words like not are pronounced using ɒ,ɔ or ɒ and words like force are pronounced using ɔː, oː oɹ, ɔɹ similar to words like horse (depending on the dialect of English).

So if you require o and do not allow ɔ there is still the possibility of the long or the o before an ɹ.

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  • @ Vladimir F Ah, but even then, as a monophthong, it's strange that it must be long, or followed by an approximant. Are there are no circumstances in which a regular-length monophthong "o" can be followed by a consonant? – abcjme Sep 20 '18 at 12:34
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    @abcjme This is because of open syllable lengthening in Middle English, around the 13th century – Michaelyus Sep 20 '18 at 16:24
  • @abcjme The tendency for the shorter vowel to be lax is still current across British & American English (compare the vowels of FLEECE and KIT, PUT and BOOT), but also Standard German and Dutch. – Michaelyus Sep 20 '18 at 16:30
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Words like load, go, row are sometimes treated as having the phonological vowel /o/. That is a phonemic analysis of the where vowels are tense or lax, so we have the opposition i/ɪ, e/ɛ, u/ʊ, o/ɔ. Phonetically, it is usually recognized that the mid vowels are diphthongs, written as [ei], [ɛɪ] or [ɛi] among others. I think the phonetic facts support [ɛɪ, ɔʊ] over the competitors. The quality [ɔ] also occurs before [ɹ] as in "core". There are American and British dialects (spoken in the north, in both cases) where "goat" is [go:t]. I can't say that there isn't a dialect where short o in got, rot, sop is phonetic [o], but I haven't heard of one. I would say that short monophthongal [o] is non-existent in English.

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    I think OP means the phonetic realization, not the letter nor the phoneme – ubadub Sep 20 '18 at 16:07
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    @ubadub At the second glance, now it seems the question is whether a monophthongal [o] is found in English, not the phoneme /o/. Otherwise it doesn't make sense to mention "oɪ". – Nardog Sep 20 '18 at 16:15
  • Yes, that seems clear. – ubadub Sep 20 '18 at 16:16
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    And yet, people frequently confuse the two kinds of analysis, so as a public service it is best to clarify the difference, when a question leaves open the intended analysis. – user6726 Sep 20 '18 at 16:27

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