[Ads-l] Heard on Unsolved Mysteries

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Aug 5 15:54:00 UTC 2017

> On Aug 5, 2017, at 7:55 AM, Michael Everson <everson at EVERTYPE.COM> wrote:
> On 4 Aug 2017, at 19:03, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> I have “fall-k’n” but that’s a learned pronunciation.  I grew up saying /falk at n/ as in “balcon(y)” but at some point someone convinced me (in print or in person) that people who knew more about falconry than I do (which is almost everyone) all say /fOlk at n/ as in “fall-k’n”.
> The “fall-k’n” pronunciation is actually more authentic. Derivation: ME faucon.

Ah, right, I knew there was some especially strong reason I was persuaded to shift.  On the other hand, I say “Anthony” and “author” with (inter)dental fricatives, even though those are historically spelling pronunciations arising from etymythological orthographies (< Antony; < au(c)tor).  

Come to think of it, besides the legacy Ford sedan, I call the Atlanta pro football team (defeated by our local Pats last Super Bowl) the f/a/lk’ns, not the fall-k’ns.  Apparently I only use the etymological pronunciation for the birds themselves (and their trainer, the fall-k’ner, as in the Yeats poem or Cheever novel).  


> The -l- was added in the 15th century in deference to the Latin falco < falx ‘sickle’ (the claws, I expect). 
> British English given in Apple OED as /ˈfɔː(l)k(ə)n, ˈfɒlk(ə)n/
> American English given in Apple OED as /ˈfælkən, ˈfɔlkən/
> Michael Everson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list