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December 08, 2016

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Well, IMDB says that "Den amerikanske ambassadøren" is played by Nigel Whitmey, who apparently is from Canada (with English immigrant parents, which helps explain his oh-so-English name).

(Although "that weird caught=cot sound you can hear from Justin Trudeau" makes it seem like you're talking about the "caught-cot" merger, which is found in lots of American accents, as well as in most Canadian accents.)

A Canadian! Ah hah! Thank you.

Yeah, the merger is in the U.S., but the Canadian "o" sounds distinctive. I lack the proper vocabulary to describe it.

There's Canadian Shift as well as Canadian raising.

Hmm.

Judging from the useful embedded recordings, it could be that I'm hearing the Canadian shift: i.e., having "bowed" turn into "bout."

That said, I don't think that's what made the actor (or makes Justin Trudeau) sound distinctive. So it might be the Canadian shift, but unfortunately that article lacks sound recordings. It does, however, state that the caught-cot merger is different north of the border: "Most U.S. speakers with the cot–caught merger appear not to undergo the Canadian shift in part because typically in the U.S. the merged vowel is less rounded and/or less back and slightly lower than the Canadian vowel."

So it's probably the Canadian shift what I'm hearing. Which would be interesting if correct, since it would imply that the most distinctive feature between Canadian and American pronunciations is rare to nonexistent in people over age 55.

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