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Some people pronounce often as "OFF-ten". Why do they not do the same with knock as "ka-NOK" instead of "nock"?
Or lasagna as "lah-ZAG-nah"? Or "pa-new-moan-ya"?


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
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It's called spelling pronunciation: the /t/ apparently disappeared, then was reintroduced into the pronuciation because it was in the spelling. Another example is waistcoat. It doesn't happen with knock and pneumonia probably because /kn/ and /pn/ are not permissable syllable onsets.
 
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...except in a rare special case (of course!) like "sleep AP-nea"
 
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quote:
Originally posted by haberdasher:
...except in a rare special case (of course!) like "sleep AP-nea"


That's different, /pn/ is not a syllable onset in "apnea". It would be syllabified as ap.ne.a

Pneumonia and apnea are related.

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Often was an extension of the word oft and the t was originally pronounced. Somewhere around 1300, I think, the t became silent. It was silent, it seems to me, until the last few years (5, 10?). It bugs me, since I'm used to the t being silent, but change happens, and it's not worth arguing about.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by tinman:
Often was an extension of the word oft and the t was originally pronounced. Somewhere around 1300, I think, the t became silent. It was silent, it seems to me, until the last few years (5, 10?).


According to the OED Online, both pronunciations were recorded in the 16th and 17th centuries. The pronunciation with t was used by careful speakers in the 17th century.
 
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What about Wednesday? It's based on Wode but I've never heard it as WED-nes-say.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
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The /d/ in Wednesday first disappeared in the 14th century.

quote:
a1616 Shakespeare Coriolanus (1623) i. iii. 61, I look'd vpon him a Wensday halfe an houre together.


The OED: "The pronunciation /ˈwɛd(ə)nzdeɪ/ survives in English regional use (northern and north midland) and in some varieties of Scots."
 
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This blog writes about 9 common pronunciation arguments that we can stop having, including often. Both pronunciations are acceptable.
 
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Thank goodness the final "t" in the French word for "roof" is silent! (toit) Roll Eyes
 
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In that blog that I cited above, they mention the 'r dissimilation' in both February (FEB-yuh-ri) and surprise ("standard North American pronunciation is without the first 'r'). I say both 'r's. Do you?
 
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Here in Feb-you-ry, I was sup-rised to realize I have lost both "r"s


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
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I pronounce Feb both ways. Feb-yoo-ary is easier to say & it's my 'informal' pronunciation. I say 'suh-prise' & suh-prising-- but sur-prised.
 
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Those must be eastern pronunciations? I don't think people in the midwest say either feb yoo ary or suh prise.
 
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I bet you're right, Kalleh. The Midwestern accent to my ears really relishes the "r"'s! As a language-teacher, I'm very aware of changing jaw/ mouth-shape/ lip-tension for different languages-- necessary for ease of pronunciation. I expect you all keep that lower jaw back & down a little compared to easterners, making r's easy.
 
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8yysjQeYT4

Here's an xray movie of someone speaking English. I think the jaw movement is associated with the vowels.
 
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Very interesting. It just shows how complicated language is. Not only is the brain involved, but the musculoskeletal system as well.
 
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I use audio-language-CD's in my car on the way to teaching. I started doing it a dozen yrs ago, when there were more French students (today I have only one): back then in a day I'd be switching from Fr to Sp; the main issue for me was keeping the vocab separate to counter the tendency to Franglify a Spanish word or vice versa.

Today, I use evening reading [mostly novels] in the language I'll teach the next day (mostly Spanish, but French at least once weekly) to refresh vocab & grammatical structure. The audio CD's on the way to lessons get my mouth, lips, jaw in the position req'd for the language. I teach mostly very-young students, & authentic accent is the most important factor. Their ears are attuned: at ages 2.5-6, their brains are wired for perfect mimicry.
 
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I have heard this before, that different languages have default different jaw or tongue positions. Some people say it helps to learn English if you hold a pencil between your teeth. My feeling is, use whatever works. I am sceptical that there is a real difference in articulatory settings between languages, but there might be something to it.
http://www.haskins.yale.edu/Reprints/HL1394.pdf

But there is a lot of variation even between speakers of the same language.
http://www.linguistics.berkele...oged_Lindau_1993.pdf

English speakers use one of two ways to pronounce the R sound: the "bunched R" or the "retroflex R". In the same speech community, some speakers use one, some use the other, and some use both.

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I once heard an Italian native say that cutting the tongue's frenulum makes speaking Italian easier. Not likely true, but he WAS indirectly stating that one uses the tongue differently in English than in Italian. And consider the guttural and nasal sounds that we don't normally use in English, as referenced in Goofy's citation. Whether the "rest" position between sounds is different I know not, but we do use different parts of the vocal mechanism in different cultures. A good example is Mongolian throat singing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rmo3fKeveo
 
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I have heard that lingual frenectomy is done in South Korea in the belief that it makes it easier for Koreans to produce /l/ and /r/. Not only is it barbaric, I can't imagine how removing the frenulum would make it easier to speak any language.

I know native English speakers who have learned to produce trills, pharyngeals, implosives, etc. Different languages have different sounds, but we are all human. The Canadian singer Tanya Tagaq does overtone singing.

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Anyone can earn basic overtone singing. I can do it, but haven't figured the really high stuff. Just say, "E" then slowly move to "O" and you'll get an overtone halfway between the two.
 
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