Italian as a "Pure" Language

Steve Gustafson stevegus at
Thu Apr 5 03:02:33 UTC 2001

David L. White:

> I cannot
> off the top of my head think of any examples from English, and perhaps the
> problem is not significant after all, but it would arise if a word was
> spelled in a way appropriate to the pronunciation of one dialect, but
> pronounced as in another.  A great deal of dialect mixture went into the
> formation of the London Standard.  A possible example (I don't know, someone
> else out there probably does) might be things like "bead" versus "head",
> where some words are spelled as if they have long vowels when in fact the
> vowels have been shortened, or,  to put it from the other perspective, not
> all vowels that might be expected to have been shortened actually have

One historical example I can think of.  In general, the prestige dialect of
southern British English has /af/ >/Af/, so that 'laugh' /laf/ became /lAf/
within relatively recent time.  However, even speakers of this dialect say
(or used to say) "telegraph" rather than "telegroph," because the word for
that particular invention was created in an area that lacked this change,
and exported to Britain, after the sound change was well on its way to being
fixed.  Of course, English spellings nowhere indicate that this change has
taken place, and its course was in fact relatively irregular; it gives rise
to more inconsistencies in English spelling in Britain than in the United

Omnis castra vestra nobis esse.

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