Pen-pen merger

Rudolph C Troike rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU
Wed Dec 4 17:58:13 UTC 2002


        I also have the merger "stem" and "strength". It was only a few
years ago that I learned that anyone pronounced an /E/ in "friend" (thanks
to Gordon for mentioning that), since I have to rely on spelling to guess
which phoneme differentiators use. (Of course, this sometimes results in a
hyper-form for "English" for some Southerners.) I was listening to a talk
on morphology once by a colleague from New Jersey, and was bothered that
he seemed to have a non-English accent in his pronunciation, so I started
focusing on that, and soon realized that it was the high frequency of the
term "stem", with /E/, that created that impression for me.


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