pom / palm

Anne Gilbert avgilbert at PRODIGY.NET
Sun Jul 14 02:43:51 UTC 2002


> For me palm, balm, almond, Palmer, calm are pronounced without /l/ and are
> exactly the same as pom, bomb, Com-.   This I think I am right in saying,
> the usual Northern US way of doing things, until the spelling
> pronunciationists got involved and the /l/s came back in, cf. "often" with
> /t/.  I think it was Thomas Murray in a St. Louis study who showed that
> lower classes maintained /l/-less ness in these words, but the upper
> were putting them back in after centuries of having been lost.   In E. New
> England there was also no /l/ in the good old days, but the vowel of palm
> the same as the vowel of r-less car (so calm and car have the same low
> vowel, lower and distinct from ash) while Com-, etc. has a low back
> vowel, the same as the vowel in Caught.
>   Don't know what the Southern situation is, but would guess that /l/ is
> coming back there too....or is it possible that it's always been there
> through the centuries at the dialect level?  Does the UK have /l/ in these
> words in any dialects?  I don't think so, certainly not in RP.  /l/ was
> lost after ash (half, calf, salmon, and should be lost in salve, but
> especially in the verb has made a big comeback for those who use it in, in
> Shakespeare, for example),  or in folk, yolk.

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I had the distinct impression that the
sounded l in those words was NE US.  I don't know about the South either,
but I can't recall anybody in Central Texas sounding the l's in those word
Anne G

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