the dissappearing "awe" sound (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 26 21:10:35 UTC 2009

On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 3:43 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC
<Bill.Mullins at> wrote: [quoting Tom Zurinskas]
>> It should be mandatory that
>> "off" have the "awe" vowel and "on" have the "ah" vowel for safety
>> sake.
> You keep making these imperative statements. Â "There should be a
> standard." Â "Spelling should be simplified." Â "It should be mandatory."
> I probably have less formal training in linguistics and language than
> 90% of the participants on this list. Â But even I know that what you are
> asking for will not happen and cannot happen.
> There is no formal authority for English and how it should be written
> and spoken. Â Never will be one. Â Your 3rd grade English teacher gave you
> rules to follow. Â Guess what -- mine did too, but they were different
> rules. Â (and my 4th Grade teacher had different ones still).
> Even if there were an authority, that authority would be ignored.
> The English language grows and shrinks, evolves and is modified by those
> who use it. Â This has been going on ever since English became a separate
> language from its forebears. Â It will continue.
> King Canute Zurinskas can order the tide, but it will still ebb and flow
> as it sees fit. Â Likewise, you can continue to say "this is how English
> should be" and it will make no difference.

Bravo! (With the one historical, or legendological(?), quibble that
King Canute knew the sea wouldn't obey him and was making a point to
his flattering courtiers.)

m a m

The American Dialect Society -

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