Probably too late, now

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 28 23:07:44 UTC 2007

Some time in the early to middle 'Nineties, a brief analysis of
English consonant clusters, IIRC, was published in Linguistic Inquiry.
The author noted that her analysis had one major flaw: it predicted
that "Arctic" [arktIk] would be pronounced as though spelled "Artic"
[artIk]. When I saw this, I "jumped straight up," as we say in Los
Angeles BE.

As children in Saint Louis, we were specifically taught, in
fourth-grade "georgaphy" - another pronunciation that the nuns labored
to eliminate - that "Arctic" was to be pronounced as though spelled
"Artic" [artIk] and *not* as [arktIk].. As a consequence, for the past
sixty years or so, I've been incredibly annoyed by the
seemingly-universal use of the spelling-pronunciation, [ar_k_tIk].

I should have e-mailed the author and, quoting Stan Freberg's The
Great Pretender, written, "That's right! That's right!"

But I just never got around to it.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
                                              -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society -

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