Date: Sat, 27 Apr 1996 13:54:57 -0500
From: "David A. Johns" daj000[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]FOX.WAY.PEACHNET.EDU
Subject: Epenthetic [l]
Last night I was reading a student paper. Instead of "hooves" (a
possible plural of "hoof"), the student wrote "hulves." I do not
know where he comes from.
This may be related to a phenomenon I noticed during the 80s while I
was at the University of Florida.
Younger Floridians do not have a COT/CAUGHT distinction. Most of
these speakers, however, do have a phonetic [O] before /l/, as in
BALL. The [l] is pronounced (often vocalized) finally or before a
vowel, but when a consonant follows, it can be lost, leaving the [O]
to bear the contrast; there are clear minimal pairs like BAUD [bad]
: BALD [bOd]. Strangely, I even knew a couple of people who had [O]
in TALK, WALK, etc., where an L is written, but not in any of the
other words that traditionally had [O]. I also heard this vowel
where the written language has short U before the L; in fact, I first
noticed it when listening to a gymnast talking about her
"composseries" (with [O]).
So anyway, if Floridians are creating a new [O] out of [&l] and [al],
maybe other areas are developing a new source of [U] in the same way,
so that [hUf] is open to interpretation as coming from HULF.