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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:07 pm 
Sanci
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linguoboy wrote:
Imralu wrote:
Does anyone know of another English word with /ln/ in a coda? I can only think of the name Milne.

FWIW, Wikipedia gives no rhymes. I'm quite happy to delete shwas in allegro speech most of the time, but I can't think of a single instance where I elide it between /l/ and /n/.


Hmm. I wonder if anyone says "kiln" as "kill un".


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:04 am 
Sumerul
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Imralu wrote:
Also, any idea why the t is so often pronounced in "often" but basically never in thistle, castle, listen, fasten, mustn't? Is it that the FRICATIVE /t/ SCHWA /l/n/ thingy didn't happen as widespreadly with /f/ as with /s/ and held on in some dialects to respread, or there some reason that makes "often" a better candidate to pick up a spelling pronunciation?

Segmentable into oft- + -en, and there aren't many other words with -ftə(l/n) for people to learn the rule from.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:26 am 
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Nortaneous wrote:
Imralu wrote:
Also, any idea why the t is so often pronounced in "often" but basically never in thistle, castle, listen, fasten, mustn't? Is it that the FRICATIVE /t/ SCHWA /l/n/ thingy didn't happen as widespreadly with /f/ as with /s/ and held on in some dialects to respread, or there some reason that makes "often" a better candidate to pick up a spelling pronunciation?

Segmentable into oft- + -en, and there aren't many other words with -ftə(l/n) for people to learn the rule from.


I think that's right. Looking at comparables, it seems as though the /t/ is more likely to be found where the meaning is more transparent (i.e. where it can be analysed as a derivative). So in "fasten", I don't think I've ever heard the /t/, because the synchronic derivation from "quick" to "make fixed" is so obscure. "Chasten" I've occasionally heard a /t/ I think. "Hasten" and "soften", where the derivation is clearer, usually don't have /t/ but often do and I certainly wouldn't blink when hearing it (I think my mother says /sQftn/, actually?). And if I ever used a word like "swiften" (to make swift), I'd certainly keep the /t/.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:54 pm 
Sanno
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Salmoneus wrote:
"Chasten" I've occasionally heard a /t/ I think.

ISTR hearing the spelling pronunciation [ˈʧæstnˌ] before. Hearing both a /t/ and an /ey/ would be jarring.

Salmoneus wrote:
"Hasten" and "soften", where the derivation is clearer, usually don't have /t/ but often do and I certainly wouldn't blink when hearing it.

Both of those would make me blink, especially the latter.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:58 pm 
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I say both of those with a /t/. I also say thistle with a /t/ because I learned the word from reading rather than speaking.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:35 pm 
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Here's an alternative theory: people say what they've heard. If the people around you say [ɔftn̩], you (may) say it too. (I don't rule out a spelling pronunciation, but we shouldn't resort to this explanation if "saying what other people say" covers it.)

I'm skeptical that people are doing amateur etymology in their heads. Who actually says "oft" out loud? Who encounters it in print without long having learned and spoken the word "often"? When you learn "signal", do you go back and add a [g] to "sign"?

(As for fasten, it's true that "fast" meaning "firm" is obsolete— but "hold fast" and "stand fast" are still quite current. Although I wouldn't expect anyone to link these with "fasten"!)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:04 pm 
Smeric
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linguoboy wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
"Chasten" I've occasionally heard a /t/ I think.

ISTR hearing the spelling pronunciation [ˈʧæstnˌ] before. Hearing both a /t/ and an /ey/ would be jarring.

Salmoneus wrote:
"Hasten" and "soften", where the derivation is clearer, usually don't have /t/ but often do and I certainly wouldn't blink when hearing it.

Both of those would make me blink, especially the latter.

And I say [ˈθɪθl̩] because I have some sort of weird progressive dental fricative harmony going on. :p

zompist wrote:
Who actually says "oft" out loud?

Me. But I very consciously try to cultivate a stilted, slightly archaic style, and I don't use that particular register all the time.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:46 pm 
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One interesting case where it doesn't seem that the use of /-stl/ for "-stle" could be due to influence from a related word ending in /-st/ is "pestle" (unsurprisingly, it's not etymologically related to "pest", and I doubt that a significant number of speakers think of the words as being related).

The pronunciation with /-sl/ exists, and John Wells made a blog post where he indicates that he personally prefers /-sl/ and thinks of the /-stl/ variant as a spelling-pronunciation, but Daniel Jones describes "pestle" as an exception to the usual pattern and says that it is only rarely pronounced without a /t/.

Even if it is a spelling-pronunciation, /ˈpɛstl/ is not a particularly recent one at any rate, as it is the only form listed in Walker's Critical Pronunciation Dictionary (1791), which does not transcribe /t/ in words like "castle".

The OED says it comes from "< Anglo-Norman and Middle French pestel (c1180 in Old French; also in Anglo-Norman as pestle and in Old French as pestal ; now regional)" and that it has been spelled in English with a vowel letter between the "t" and "l" (e.g. "pestelle", "pestel", pistoll"). This seems to suggest that it may have been pronounced with stress on the second syllable early on. A late commenter on the Wells blog post brings up the etymology and argues that it means that the /t/ pronunciation is the "correct" one.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:56 pm 
Smeric
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zompist wrote:
Imralu wrote:
Does anyone know of another English word with /ln/ in a coda? I can only think of the name Milne.


They're pretty hard to come by, but gamers have come up with "invuln".
vuln is a word , and seems to have been coined twice for two meanings ... one is jargon; the other, simply an uncommon word.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:06 pm 
Smeric
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zompist wrote:
Here's an alternative theory: people say what they've heard. If the people around you say [ɔftn̩], you (may) say it too. (I don't rule out a spelling pronunciation, but we shouldn't resort to this explanation if "saying what other people say" covers it.)
I'd still count it as a spelling pronounciation even if learnt from someone else ... if the /t/ did entirely die out at some point and become resurrected from spelling. People do definitely learn the pronunciation of "often" with /t/ without influence from spelling. I don't think "spelling pronunciation" necessarily means that the individual speaker must have come up with the pronunciation from the spelling independently of others, does it?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:49 pm 
Sanno
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Imralu wrote:
People do definitely learn the pronunciation of "often" with /t/ without influence from spelling. I don't think "spelling pronunciation" necessarily means that the individual speaker must have come up with the pronunciation from the spelling independently of others, does it?

Wouldn't it be more accurate to speak of a(n) "historical spelling pronunciation" in that case?

I mean, I guess I can see your point. When you call something, say, "a French borrowing", the implication isn't necessarily that the individual speaker who used it is responsible for borrowing it from French.


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