"law" is pronounced as
/lɑ/ if you speak with the caught-cot merger, so, logic suggests "lawyer" should sound like
/lɑjɚ/, as "lawyer" is basically "law" + "yer"
For me, the difference between
/ˈlaɪ.ɚ/ is just the backness of
There are however, speakers that realize the American
/ɑ/ as a central
/ä/*, meaning that
/lɑjɚ/ is realized as
/läjɚ/ which sounds like
So, can "lawyer", for some speakers, can sound like "lier"?
(*I believe it's one of the northern cities vowel shifts?)