Date: Sat, 27 Apr 1996 13:54:57 -0500


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.

David Johns

Waycross College

Waycross, GA