Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Sep 20 16:15:50 UTC 2007

> On 9/19/07, Mark Mandel <thnidu at> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: southmore
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ----------
>> Do you mean, BE speakers treating /sauf/  as the "correct"
>> pronunciation of
>> "south" and hypercorrecting to that?

On Sep 19, 2007, at 1:52 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> As the "correct" BE pronunciation, yes.

i don't quite understand the claim here.

i do understand that many BE speakers believe that the name of the
compass point is (correctly) pronounced [sauf].  and i understand
that many BE speakers pronounce the name of the second year of
college [saufmo(r)].  one issue is the relationship between these two
facts, and another is the relationship between these facts and the
*spelling* {southmore}.

one possibility is [saufmo(r)] originates as a variant pronunciation
of [safmo(r)] (by what process i'm not sure).  the [sauf] portion of
[saufmo(r)] would then be open to a reanalysis as the compass point
[sauf], which is spelled {south}, so that the word pronounced [saufmo
(r)] would be spelled {southmore}.  there's then a factual question:
how do BE speakers who say [saufmo(r)] spell the word? (i'm assuming
they spell the name of the compass point {south}.)

or there might be variant pronunciation without following
reanalysis.  that would give the pronunciation [saufmo(r)] and the
standard spelling {sophomore} (or the extremely common spelling
variant {sophmore}, which reflects the disyllabic variant
pronunciation of the word).

Another possibility is that things start when BE speakers hear other
BE speakers saying [safmo(r)] and reshape the initial portion so as
to something meaningful, namely [sauf], the name of the compass
point.  that would lead to the spelling {southmore} for a word
pronounced [saufmo(r)].  (this is the same sort of demi-eggcorn
analysis that i suggested for [sauTmor], spelled {southmore}, in
other varieties of english.)

back to those other varieties.  i've now found a possible
intermediate stage between "soph(o)more" and "southmore", namely "soth
(o)more" (presumably with [T] rather than [f]).  modest number of
hits, e.g.:

and i've heard the Promo For Craig David's Sothomore LP, "Slicker
than your Average", and its totally Brilliant

Most of our family is being supportive of our homeschooling
adventure. WE also have a 19 sothmore in college. We would like to
hear from others .


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