Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jan 16 14:36:25 UTC 2009

At 5:33 PM +0800 1/16/09, Randy Alexander wrote:
>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.

OK, but for "Croften" alone there are 2.1 hits, many but not all of
which involve misspellings of "Crofton", and I'd wager they're all
(or 2.0 million of them, anyway) pronounced with the -t-.  I still
think morphology is relevant, whether or not the spelling reflects it.


>>>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 -

The American Dialect Society -

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