Originally Posted by kool maudit
personal "about" confession time: in the mid-2000s, my parents moved to southern california. when i visited one time, someone noted that my mom was outed-as-canadian when they played tennis; the "that's out!" just sounded different.
around that time, i made an unpatriotic decision to flatten my "ou" pronunciation so as to align with the american norm. embedded in this not-true-to-myself-or-my-history decision were the "jarring" factor outlined above, the fact that my ears were more comfortable with the american "out" (even if my tongue was not), and the concern that my accent may have been altered/intensified by my family's time in the maritimes (a region whose speech patterns i do not find congenial).
all of this is to say: it's hard! the vowel thing is deep and persistent! from about 2005 to 2008, i probably used both pronunciations, depending on how front-of-mind my odd personal elocution-struggle was. it would have been weirder and more jarring to hear, probably, than any single pronunciation in the english language. for a while, i think it even got too midwestern ("see you tamaaahrow"), and needed to be reined in along that metric.
the canadian "out," for whatever reason, is a major component of our dialect and the version of the english language by which i have largely been surrounded (in london, toronto, halifax, montreal, and ottawa) since birth. if you consciously attempt, as actors and newscasters and bad canadians like me have had to, to replace it with the american variant, you will find that it takes a lot of time and mindfulness, and that the only reward is people thinking you're from wisconsin or something.
if our accent was more broadly different than the u.s. norm, we might be proud of it. as it is, it can seem like a tic. tics are awkward and undesirable, and so (it would seem) is our poor, unwanted "out."