Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 16 01:03:16 UTC 2009

Even the "oft/often" pair doesn't explain it.  There's also
"soft/soften," "haste/hasten," and the obsolete "list/listen."


On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 7:20 PM, Randy Alexander
<strangeguitars at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Randy Alexander <strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Pronuncations
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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?).
> Randy
> 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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