coffin pronunciation

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Mar 14 14:13:15 UTC 2008

At 9:36 AM -0400 3/14/08, Lynne Murphy wrote:
>Raised in a funeral home in NYS, therefore I pronounce it 'casket'.
>('Coffin' is for people who say 'undertaker', 'funeral parlor' and 'wake'
>instead of 'funeral director', 'funeral home' and 'calling hours'.)

Ah, but
"It wasn't the cough that carried him, but the coffin they carried him off in"
doesn't work nearly as well when you replace it with "casket"


>But I also have a caught/cot distinction and would use the open-o when
>obnoxiously 'correcting' people on this matter--which I felt much need to
>do as a child...
>--On Thursday, March 13, 2008 1:53 pm -0500 Matthew Gordon
><gordonmj at MISSOURI.EDU> wrote:
>>I was listening to a podcast featuring 2 thirty-something New Yorkers. One
>>of them pronounced 'coffin' with an open-o, and the other ridiculed him,
>>saying something about how it's not 'coughin'.
>>My question for those of you who maintain the distinction between /a/ and
>>open-o: Do you all have /a/ for 'coffin'? I'm wondering whether this is
>>another example of a word that varies in its phonemic assignment.
>Dr M Lynne Murphy
>Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language
>Arts B135
>University of Sussex
>Brighton BN1 9QN
>phone: +44-(0)1273-678844
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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