Date: Tue, 12 Apr 1994 18:01:15 -0500

From: Natalie Maynor maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]RA.MSSTATE.EDU

Subject: Re: ink pen

of non-low front vowels before /n/: Is it the impression of those of you from

the relevant dialect area that the use of 'ink pen' for 'pen' is (a) a natural

or standard designation, and (b) one that is motivated (consciously or

unconsciously, synchronically or diachronically) by the avoidance of homonymy?

(a) Although I've heard "ink pen" many times in my life, I'm not sure I

would call it "a natural or standard designation." I've never said it, nor

do I remember ever hearing it from anybody in my family or from close friends.

(b) This possibility has occurred to me before. Obviously it's not

something that all [pIn]/[pIn] speakers do, since I don't say "ink pen"

and also don't distinguish between "pen" and "pin," but I do think there

may be a connection.

--Natalie (maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]