Acme--two syllables or three? :)

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Sat Jul 24 18:46:37 UTC 2004

On Jul 24, 2004, at 1:47 PM, Dale Coye wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dale Coye <Dalecoye at AOL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Acme--two syllables or three? :)
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> I've never heard ACK uh mee before, but it's a agreat example of a
> sound
> change called epenthesis.   Other examples would be ath-uh-lete or
> ath-uh-let-ic (never heard anyone say this either.)  Another example
> is el-um for elm, fil-um for film which some
> dialects use.
> Dale Coye
> The College of NJ

Dale, surely you jest! The pronunciations "athalete," etc. are so
common that I fully expect the next edition of the AHD to declare them

My stepfather, a native of Saint Louis, used "ellum," "fillum," etc. In
his case, though, this must have been a speech defect, since forms like
these are most definitely not a feature of the speech of St. Louisans;
"film," "elm" and "fi'm," "e'm" are the only possibilities.

Such epentheses are a feature of Dutch, to the extent that the town
name, Almelo (approx. ahlmuh-lo), is now usually pronounced as though
it was spelled "Alemlo (approx. "ahlum-lo").

-Wilson Gray

More information about the Ads-l mailing list