silent letters (was broadcasters)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Aug 10 05:14:43 UTC 2000

At 12:26 PM -0400 8/10/00, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>I also say AI at RN (actually with Canadian/Minnesota raising to [^y at rn]), but
>I think Haas is referring to syllable-initial /r/, as in
>[ayr at n].  Hypercorrecting newscasters in southern Ohio pronounce the name
>of Ironton, an Ohio River town, as [ayr at nt@n]--I suspect to sound "better"
>than the locals who say [arn?@n] and [arn] (as Don Lance noted).  (? =
>glottal stop)
I've mostly heard (and always used) ["ay at rn], but the word I've
noticed a lot of variation on is "irony".  My native N.Y.C.
pronunciation (since then, I've been mostly successfully teased out
of it) was ["ay at rniy], even though I never really thought there was
any etymological connection with "iron".  This resulted in a nice
metathetic relationship between "irony" and "ironic" ['ay"ran at k].  I
don't know if my native pronunciation is listed in any dictionaries
as a secondary (or tertiary) pronunciation for "irony"; it would also
be interesting to see if others who share my syllabification but were
non-rhotic in V_C environments (e.g "Boinie") would have "irony" as
["ay at niy], rhyming with Hermione, as well as rhyming "iron" with


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