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Dragwyr
01-14-2000, 02:21 PM
Ok. I've been hearing this alot lately and it's driving me bonkers. On several news programs as well as many educated people I work with, I hear the word "often" pronounced with the "T" sound in it: "Off-Ten".

After researching this subject thoroughly, which included a visit to several dictionaries, I have found that the correct pronunciation for "often" is with the "T" silent: "Off-un"

So on to my question: Why do so many people pronounce this word incorrectly? I know that people pronounce "soften" with a silent "T" and the same people will still pronounce "often" wrong. I know it is not a dialect thing as I've heard many different news anchors from around the country pronounce it with the "T".

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-Dragwyr
"If God had meant for man to eat waffles,
he would have given him lips like snowshoes"
-Rev. Billy C. Wirtz

special
01-14-2000, 02:32 PM
the ones who do it are the same ones who say febUary. and ax for ask. and 'alls i need'. and psalm, palm, calm all w/ the l pronounced. they do it just to annoy the rest of us, & it works.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
01-14-2000, 02:47 PM
"February" without the first "r" pronounced it the first pronunciation in my dictionary (MW Colegiate Dictionary 8th ed., 1980).

This same dictionare shows the pronunciation of "often" with an optional "t." Not two different pronunciations as with "February." Just one, with the "t" optional.

Remember these are English (as in, the British Isles) words, and we've had threads before about how the English words have a lot of extraneous letters that aren't necessarily pronounced.

Besides, popular usage ultimately will decide which one is "right." Living languages evolve.

01-14-2000, 02:51 PM
Originally posted by special:
the ones who do it are the same ones who say febUary. and ax for ask. and 'alls i need'. and psalm, palm, calm all w/ the l pronounced. they do it just to annoy the rest of us, & it works.

The first three (FebUary, aks, and alls) I agree with. However, I've always pronounced the "l" in psalm, palm, and calm. It'd be sam, pam, and cam otherwise. (Your pronounciation sounds very Bostonian, IMO.)



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Judges 14:9 - And [Samson] took thereof in his hands, and went on eating, and came to his father and mother, and he gave them, and they did eat: but he told not them that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the lion.

Bricker
01-14-2000, 02:53 PM
Do you mean awf-fen, 'frequently?' Or awf-fen, a person who has lost his parents? :)

- Rick

beefymeg
01-14-2000, 02:56 PM
I have a question... what about "almond?"
I was raised to omit the "L" sound but often (no "T" please) I have to repeat myself and then I've been corrected (the Gall!) for not saying the "L".
Help!!

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Sucks to your assmar.

Boris B
01-14-2000, 02:58 PM
Well now, let's leave room in our calm psalms for some mild pronunciations. The L sound is very understated in these words; saying "kawm" or "sawm" (or "kahm" or "sahm") would probably do nicely. Saying "kallm" or "sallm" is probably overstating it. But there's a gray area. I don't know what that's called; I'd have to ask a linguist, but if I had to make it up I'd say it's a "pharyngeal L-sound" instead of a "lingual L-sound" - the L is pronounced way back near your pallet next to the H. Just make sure the tip of your tongue doesn't get into the action or people will think you were raised all alone in an attic with a book of puhsall-ms and only a pall-m tree out your window.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
01-14-2000, 03:00 PM
"Almond" is more properly pronounced without the "l." Originally, it didn't even have it.

special
01-14-2000, 03:56 PM
no boston; pure chicago.

online american heritage, 1996, gives the tighter pronunciations. online webster's revised unabridged, 1998, adds into the pronunciation all the letters you can find.

i suspect that is a reflection of acceptance of general usage, i.e., 'we give up, say it however you want it'. a copout perhaps but not the worst idea i guess when communication is the whole point & our spoken language has to span the continent rather than a county or two.
_____________

Stay with me folks, I'm certain I'm driving towards a conclusion here, but I refuse to stop and ask for directions. . . . Baloo

Kat
01-14-2000, 09:13 PM
My dictionary (Webster's) lists four pronunciations for often: o^-fen, of-en, o^f-ten, of-ten

(bolded = accented syllable)
(o^ = o with carat, pronounced like ball or raw, o = o, pronounced like bomb or wasp (Webster's examples) and e = schwa) (I can never get symbols to work right...) (Think all this UBB will work?)

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Doobieous
01-14-2000, 11:43 PM
Language will change, despite the best efforts of prescriptivists such as special, dictionaries, and those who think that how they speak is correct. Mjollnir is correct, general concensus will dictate how language will be spoken, and what is "correct". I do catch myself sometimes adding in a t in often, and an l in palm, because it sounds better sometimes to me.

There was also a time in English when "ax" WAS an alternate form for "ask".

Here is a bit from a recent email on the constructed language list to which I belong:

'ax' (= ask) has been continuously used in Brit English dialects ever since
the Saxons, angles and others brought their Germanic dialects to this
island.

Yep - in Old English we have both 'acsian' and 'ascian'.

Altho when I was young I heard only 'ask' in my part of Sussex, 'ax' was certainly used in parts of the county until the early years of the 20th cent. (and, for all I know, may still survive in the rural eastern part of the county) - and, I believe, still survives in some Brit dialects.

In William Durrant Cooper's "A Glossary of the Provincialisms in Use in the County of Sussex" (1853 - they sure liked short titles then!), he lists 'ax' as used in Sussex, Yorkshire, Somersetshire & Devonshire, in East Anglia & in Herefordshire.

He also quotes from the Wycliffian translation of the Bible (pre-reformation):
"Jhesus axide hem" (i.e. Jesus asked them)

And from Chaucer:
"Our host him axed 'What man art thou?'" [from the Ploughman's Tale]
and -
"Axe not why; for tho thou axe me
I wol not tellen goddes privetee" [from the Miller's Tale]

So, the sk/x variations were until recently both accepted in speech. Also note that "tho" was also accepted in written language, before people insisted that words be written one way, and one way only.



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It's worth the risk of burning, to have a second chance...

Doobieous
01-14-2000, 11:47 PM
Originally posted by Doobieous:
and those who think that how they speak is correct.

Whoops! I meant to say: "and those who think that how they speak is the only correct way to speak."



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It's worth the risk of burning, to have a second chance...

tomndebb
01-15-2000, 10:39 AM
I submit that this thread is one of the best arguments against the so-called spelling "reforms" to English that pop up from time to time. Once we begin spelling words "the way they are pronounced," we will be mutually unintelligible to each other in any text medium.

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Tom~

Konrad
01-15-2000, 09:36 PM
On several news programs as well as many educated people I work with, I hear the word "often" pronounced with the "T" sound in it: "Off-Ten".

TV people do this for the same reason they pronounce the T in 'twenty': So you can understand them easily.

And it's not incorrect. Whether or not you pronounce it depends on which accent you use.