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]ra.msstate.edu)