[Ads-l] Q: M silent in MN?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 3 04:00:42 UTC 2015


I just now "Mnemosyne", and that's really a name, so it doesn't count, at least in Scrabble.  ("Mnemonic" also has the nice feature of containing different grades of the same PIE etymon in the first two syllables, so it's a good mnemonic for remembering "men-".)

Is there some sort of principle that dictates that we always pronounce the second consonant of those phonotactic-violating initial clusters, especially the ones from Greek  (psychology, pneumonia, xylophone, gnostic,…)?  Is this discussed somewhere?    

LH

On Jan 2, 2015, at 10:07 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> Thanks (and there are 19 other words beginning "mnem", none of which I am familiar with).  My morbid mind ran rather to words like "condemn".
> 
> Joel
> 
> 
> At 1/2/2015 09:54 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>> Well, we'd need a "mnemonic" for that.
>> 
>> LH
>> 
>> On Jan 2, 2015, at 9:33 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> 
>> > Are there words containing "mn" for which the "m" is silent, so the result is "n"?
>> >
>> > Joel
>> >
>> > ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v1/url?u=http://www.americandialect.org/&k=dpQisR3avULHgiNaNeY%2Btg%3D%3D%0A&r=MW6Q85EuQFDFs0kj9ASwdaXohusE833r9bFEf66m5kA%3D%0A&m=gRGrTTg2dTadex1%2BWWSzRa6Hk3%2Bqo8sawHHqKjrTtRI%3D%0A&s=931e3d41c55df29616a76a9d680df839d70e3fc4f68050c3bc10d25b5788d755
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v1/url?u=http://www.americandialect.org/&k=dpQisR3avULHgiNaNeY%2Btg%3D%3D%0A&r=MW6Q85EuQFDFs0kj9ASwdaXohusE833r9bFEf66m5kA%3D%0A&m=r5JEMQdDpYlURAC3M1wa6vStz5iDF7mpmnKwYwgCEgU%3D%0A&s=c8f5b6ffdb6a9e46ab844310ac20efc468f9c9ceb469ac71ecb6f9f8d32424d6
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v1/url?u=http://www.americandialect.org/&k=dpQisR3avULHgiNaNeY%2Btg%3D%3D%0A&r=MW6Q85EuQFDFs0kj9ASwdaXohusE833r9bFEf66m5kA%3D%0A&m=r5JEMQdDpYlURAC3M1wa6vStz5iDF7mpmnKwYwgCEgU%3D%0A&s=c8f5b6ffdb6a9e46ab844310ac20efc468f9c9ceb469ac71ecb6f9f8d32424d6

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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