often / sophomore (was: Pronuncations)

Barbara Need bhneed at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 19 20:35:30 UTC 2009

The three syllable pronunciation of sophomore is regularly heard on
Jeopardy, when they have high school or college students. Both the
announcer (Johnny Gilbert?) and Alex Trebek use it.


Barbara Need

On 19 Jan 2009, at 2:09 PM, Ann Burlingham wrote:

> On Sat, Jan 17, 2009 at 1:40 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu>
> wrote:
>> this one we definitely have discussed, in passing, in connection with
>> "southmore".  i pointed out that american dictionaries generally seem
>> to list two- and three-syllable variants.  i myself find the three-
>> syllable variant (which is clearly the older pronunciation, since
>> "sophomore" is a greek-drived composite, "sopho" -- "soph" 'wise',
>> with the greek connective "-o" -- plus "more" 'stupid') awkward; in
>> fact, it sounds to me like a spelling pronunciation!  (similarly for
>> the three-syllable pronunciation of "opera", and also for some other
>> words with variants having, or not having, a medial schwa).
> I was surprised anyone here found the 3-syllable version the standard;
> the only person I've ever taken note of saying it with all syllables
> is my 81-year-old mother, and it's always struck me as unusual, and a
> little affected or old-fashioned, to say the least. I asked round here
> - western New Yorkers - and we use two syllables.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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