Is there any English dialect that distinguishes the stressed /oʊ/ as in goat, throat, slope, broke, stroke, etc. from the final, unstressed /oʊ/ as in sparrow, arrow, tomorrow, yellow, window, etc?

What does the unstressed /oʊ/ sound like in those dialects?

  • 1
    The unstressed is often reduced to a schwa sounding like “uh” in some southern US dialects.
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 4:32
  • 1
    You quite often see "Cockney sparra" written that way ("sparrow" meaning a person with sparrow-like characteristics). Not to be confused with various types of goat split.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 12:31
  • "Sparra" is also a common spelling in Scots, but this probably relates to different phonetic processes, as the bird was spearwa in Old English.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 12:34
  • What do you mean by "distinguish"? All vowels are different depending on position, including stress. That's the definition of what a phoneme is.
    – Nardog
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 12:36
  • I believe this is the case in some East Anglian dialects like Norfolk: stressed is /ʊu/ and unstressed /ʌu/. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norfolk_dialect#Vowels Commented Apr 26, 2022 at 20:33

3 Answers 3


Please forgive my lack of phonetic characters.

Scots has an ending rather like “-a”, “-uh” or “-er” in:

Arrow = arra

Tomorrow = ra morra {= the morrow}

Sparrow = Sparra

And Window = windae, pronounced winday with a short “ay” a bit like “-eh”


And the site also includes a regional example of

Glasgow = Glescae, ending rather like windae.

In the case of yellow, the Stirling university site offers no summary. I recommend that you listen to:


Where in the well-known song “Yellow on the Broom” you will hear yellow = yella (or yeller).


The UK Tyneside accent would pronounce goat and throat as /gəːət/ and /θrəːət/ and

arrow, etc., as /ˈara/, but this /əʊ/ to /a/ or /ə/ is common in the Midlands and North of England


In Appalachian English, Wikipedia says

An "-er" sound is often used for long "o" at the end of a word. For example, hollow— "a small, sheltered valley"— is pronounced /ˈhɑlər/, homophonous with holler. Other examples are "potato" (pronounced "tader"), "tomato" (pronounced "mader"), and "tobacco" (pronounced "backer").

So winder, holler, tater, etc. are pronounced with /ər/ and not /oʊ/.

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