Randy Alexander strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 16 00:20:56 UTC 2009

It's odd to me that people would think that not pronouncing t in often
would be wrong.  I don't think I've ever heard anyone pronounce t in
soften, listen, glisten, hasten, castle, hustle, pestle, etc.

Not pronouncing the t follows a pattern: [f|s + (t) + en|le] (although
I don't know of any words ending in -ftle.  I tried doing a search on
OED for "*ftle", but I just kept getting error messages.  Anyone else
care to try?).


On Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 3:16 AM, Barbara Need <bhneed at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Barbara Need <bhneed at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Pronuncations
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Some years ago I was teaching an Intro to Linguistics using the OSU
> Language Files. one of the exercises listed alternative pronunciations
> and asked students to say which they used and which was "correct". One
> of the pairs was just this pair of variants. The student who got this
> as we went around the class confessed to using the t-less
> pronunciation, "but I know it's wrong".
> Barbara
> Barbara Need
> (in frigid Chicago!)
> On 15 Jan 2009, at 12:25 PM, Damien Hall wrote:
>> Received from the Linguistic Anthropology (LINGANTH) list today:
>> On Jan 15 2009, Robert Lawless wrote:
>>> For all you guys who teach college-age students and (if you're
>>> listening) hear them talk:  Is the pronunciation of often with "t"
>>> becoming more common with the younger generation? (I think most of us
>>> old foggies don't pronounce the "t".) I believe linguists refer to
>>> this
>>> as "spelling pronunciation." I suppose then that pronouncing
>>> sophomore
>>> as two syllables would be anti-spelling pronunciation. Although I and
>>> most of my colleagues pronounce it with three syllables, seemingly
>>> all
>>> the sophmores here use only two syllables. (My daughter, who's a
>>> sophmore in high school corrected me the other day when I called
>>> her a
>>> sophomore.)
>> I don't know about these points, but maybe somebody here on the
>> American
>> Dialect Society list has some intuition from their own students, or
>> knows
>> about the history of the pronunciations of these two words? For
>> myself:
>> - I think I (M, 34, but British, not American) usually pronounce
>> 'often'
>> with no /t/
>> - I have no native intuition about 'sophomore', since it's not a
>> word that
>> most Brits know; myself, I had come across it but had no idea of
>> what it
>> meant exactly, apart from knowing that it referred to one or several
>> years
>> in education, until I came to the US. FYI, in British Universities the
>> years are just referred to by their ordinal numbers, except that in
>> some
>> places the people in their last year are called Finalists (because
>> that's
>> when their Final Exams are). We split the secondary years
>> differently from
>> Americans, so that you enter secondary school at 11 and can leave at
>> 16 or
>> 18, but there's no necessary break between those ages; the second
>> year of
>> that process, when pupils are 12-13 years old, is, again, just
>> called the
>> Second Year.
>> Replies, I suppose, to Robert directly, and maybe copied to this list.
>> Damien
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

Randy Alexander
Jilin City, China
My Manchu studies blog:

The American Dialect Society -

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