coffin pronunciation

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Mar 14 14:48:41 UTC 2008

At 10:23 AM -0400 3/14/08, Dennis Preston wrote:
>It's interesting that you cite "calling hours" as the term
>accompanying the preferred in-group items (as a replacement for
>"wake"). Is "visiting hours" also "unprofessional"?

Presumably, "calling hours" in this context is not related to the new
play by Sarah Ruhl, subject of a profile in the current New Yorker,
which is entitled "Dead Man's Cell Phone".


>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>>Subject:      Re: coffin pronunciation
>>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 -
>Dennis R. Preston
>University Distinguished Professor
>Department of English
>Morrill Hall 15-C
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing, MI 48864 USA
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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