Posted by: episystechpubs | March 13, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Intruding and Disappearing Sounds

Today I have a couple more tidbits from an article by David Shariatmadari, called 8 Pronunciation Errors That Made the English Language What It Is Today.

When Sounds Disappear

English spelling can be a pain, but it’s also a repository of information about the history of pronunciation. Are we being lazy when we say the name of the third day of the working week? Our ancestors might have thought so. Given that it was once "Woden’s day" (named after the Norse god), the "d" isn’t just for decoration, and was pronounced up until relatively recently. Who now says the "t" in Christmas? It must have been there at one point, as the messiah wasn’t actually called Chris. These are examples of syncope.

When Sounds Intrude

Our anatomy can make some changes more likely than others. The simple mechanics of moving from a nasal sound ("m" or "n") to a non-nasal one can make a consonant pop up in-between. Thunder used to be "thuner," and empty "emty." You can see the same process happening now with words like hamster, which often gets pronounced with an intruding "p." This is a type of epenthesis.

Don’t forget, today is the last day to enter the contest!

· Prizes: I have two collections of mondegreens by Gavin Edwards. You can win either ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy or He’s Got the Whole World in His Pants.

· How to enter: All you have to do is talk to your friends, family, and co-workers and see if they want to sign up for our daily language tips, tricks, tidbits, and trivia. Have your buddies send me an email to sign up and have them mention your name. For each person you send, I will enter your name in the drawing. Five friends? Five chances to win!

· Additional details: I’ll accept new names anytime, but the contest ends at midnight, Thursday, March 13. The winner for each book will be picked at random and announced on Monday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day).

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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