Randy Alexander strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 16 09:33:18 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 9:01 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> At 8:20 AM +0800 1/16/09, Randy Alexander wrote:
>>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.
> True, but it's pronounced in "Boston", "Austin", "Aston", etc., so
> the claim can't be simply one about phonology, but morphophonemics,
> alluding to the morpheme boundary.  Even "listen" contrasts minimally
> with "Liston" (e.g. the former heavyweight champion Sonny).  As far
> as I can tell, "often" pronounced with a -t- wouldn't rhyme with any
> non-proper nouns, but if there's a place name "Crofton" (and indeed,
> I see it claims to have 2.9 *million* google hits), I'd wager it
> pronounces its -t-, which is not morpheme-final.  In fact there also
> claim to be 121,000 hits for "Ofton", most of which seem not to be
> typos or misspellings of the adverb.  And again, that's got to be
> ['Oft at n], not ['Of at n].
> LH, an inveterate "offen" pronouncer

I intended the "rule" to take spelling into account, so [f|s + (t) +
en|le] wouldn't apply to -in, or -on, even though they have the same
pronunciation as -en.


>>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 -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

Randy Alexander
Jilin City, China
My Manchu studies blog:

The American Dialect Society -

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