In the movie "Wayne's World" (1992), Mike Myers's character (the titular Wayne) says "I don't even own æ gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack." To my ears (and to the ears of a phonetics/phonology prof who pointed this out to me), it definitely sounds like /æ/, but I can't find any documentation of a place/dialect that would pronounce it this way. Any help? Here's the YouTube link for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJRvPmONjVY and I found a little related discourse at this link, but it seems jumbled, to say the least: https://painintheenglish.com/case/5014 Related, and potentially useful info, is that I'm Midwestern (Chicago-born and Minnesota-raised), Mike Myers is Canadian, and "Wayne's World" takes place in Aurora, Illinois.

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    Are you sure you don't mean /eI/ rather than /æ/? English doesn't allow lone or final /æ/. Sure enough, in all my years as a native English speaker, I haven't heard lone /æ/. For those who came in late, /æ/ is the vowel sound in spoken "cat" and /eI/ is pronounced as /eI/. Jul 8 '20 at 2:22
  • @JamesGrossmann: If you listen to the YouTube clip he does actually say /æ/. I just found it part of the comedy. I don't think anybody actually would say it outside of similar wordplay. Jul 14 '20 at 5:39

The vowel in question is (IPA) [a], not [æ]. The [æ]→[a] relation between US and Canadian English is common ([a] in Canada for US [æ]). Myers is just being weird: the article could be [ei] / [e] in parts of Canada and the US, or [ə] and not [æ,a] in any variety of North American English that I've encountered.

  • Doesn’t sound weird to me – using [a ~ æ] for the emphatic indefinite article is probably less common than [eɪ], but it’s common enough in my experience. Have definitely heard (and said) this myself many times. Jul 9 '20 at 16:50
  • Where does most of your experience come from? I didn't know that flapping could apply in American English before /n/, until I focused on a Texan colleagues otherwise unidentifiable dialect.
    – user6726
    Jul 9 '20 at 18:21
  • I’m afraid it’s a bit all over the place – a fairly random mix of UK and US, not tied down to any particular place. My own US accent is a fairly bland and nondescript Broadcast-ish amalgamation. Jul 9 '20 at 18:54

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