often / sophomore (was: Pronuncations)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 19 22:38:27 UTC 2009

At 2:35 PM -0600 1/19/09, Barbara Need wrote:
>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.

No doubt along with the variants of "high" and "school" with voiced
and voiceless velar fricatives respectively.


>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>
>>>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

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

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