pronunciation of ALCOHOLIC

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Nov 11 13:30:44 UTC 2000

>I have been making notes every time I hear the word ALCOHOLIC pronounced, and
>it seems to me that about 2% of the people I listen to say [aek at h)l at k]
>invariantly, even when others in conversation with them consistently say
>[aelk at h)l at k]. I'm not talking about vocalization of the [l], as in
>[aeuk at h)l at k]; it just ain't there at all. Those who do not have the first [l]
>do not seem to notice that they lack it, and those who listen to them speak
>do not seem to notice the absence of the [l] (at least, nobody comments on
>it). There does not seem to be any regional correlation (as there is with,
>say, [hEp] for [hElp], and very little social correlation.

My initial impression is that this is just a 'lazy' pronunciation,
comparable  -- for example -- to 'antarctic' /&nartIk/ [& = 'ae' ligature],
which I've heard often. I think you'll find the same casual acceptance of
this, with one speaker saying /&nartIk/, another /&ntarktIk/, nobody much
noticing the distinction.

Is there any correlation between the elision of the /l/ and the 'northern'
high-front pronunciation of /&/?

Do we hear 'calculator' /k&kj at lejt@r/ with elided /l/ sometimes? I think so.

Maybe the silent 'l' often found before /k/ -- as in 'walk', 'folk',
'falcon' (variant), etc., etc. -- shows a general tendency for /lk/ > /k/?

-- Doug Wilson

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