Probably too late, now

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Sep 30 02:03:07 UTC 2007

At 4:41 PM -0400 9/29/07, Wilson Gray wrote:
>Well, until someone comes up with a phonological analysis of English
>that can account for the occurrence of [-rkt-],

Maybe it has something to do with the stress pattern.  I have no
trouble with, say, "Mark Twain" or even "Arcturus", but I've never
pronounced the /k/ in "Arctic", even though if I had to guess, I'd
have guessed it was there historically.


>  its occurrence is a
>spelling pronunciation that I choose to ignore. [artIk]: that's my
>pronunciation and I'm sticking with it. Of course, f I were under
>seventeen instead of over seventy, I'd probably be more flexible.
>Indeed, I probably wouldn't even care. I'd just go with the spelling
>that would get me the highest GPA and use my spare cognitive energy
>for fantasizing about girls.
>On 9/29/07, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>>  Subject:      Re: Probably too late, now
>>  Merely as a point of interest: the Century Dictionary of 1889
>>already recognized only the
>>    "c-ful"  pronunciation.
>>    But Arnold's info persuades me to revert.
>>    JL
>>  "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU> wrote:
>>    ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  Sender: American Dialect Society
>>  Poster: "Arnold M. Zwicky"
>>  Subject: Re: Probably too late, now
>>  On Sep 28, 2007, at 4:07 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>  > ... 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].
>>  like jon lighter, and no doubt many others here, i had exactly the
>>  reverse experience. the facts are more complex than either of these
>>  teachings would suggest. from the American Heritage Book of English
>>  Usage (1996):
>>  _Arctic_ was originally spelled in English without the first _c_,
>>  which was later reintroduced after the original spelling in Greek.
>>  Both [pronunciations] are equally acceptable...
>>  the Wikipedia page on "words of disputed pronunciation" shows a very
>>  complex pattern of advice (in this summary, (1) is the [k]-less
>>  pronunciation, (2) the pronunciation with [k]):
>>  The debate is whether or not the cluster is pronounced [kt] or
>>  just [t]. M-W lists both, with (1) first, but OED only lists (2)
>>  while noting that the oldest spelling (dating from the 14th century)
>>  is _Artik_, implying that (1) is the older pronunciation. EEPD lists
>>  only (2). LPD lists both for both British and American English, but
>>  marks (1) as "considered incorrect" for British. K&K list both but
>>  mark (2) as "now rare". Generally, the same pronunciation for the
>>  cluster is used for both _arctic_ and _antarctic_. However, M-W
>>  lists (2) first for _antarctic_.
>>  M-W: the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
>>  EEPD: Everyman's English Pronouncing Dictionary (Gimson rev., 1977)
>>  LPD: Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (1990)
>>  K&K: Kenyon & Knott, A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English
>>  arnold
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