Date: Wed, 13 Apr 1994 20:38:06 CDT From: "Donald M. Lance" Subject: Re: ink pen Both "fountain pen" and "ink pen" may be useful as phonological disambiguators, and it's possible that commercial terms [as opposed to "quill pen"] played a role in establishing the terms that then could be clipped. It's not necessarily the case that "ink" and "fountain" were added to "pen" -- but the two-word forms are useful. When I was presenting a workshop to English teachers in Conroe TX (about 1966), one of the 25 or so teachers was from the Upper Midwest and the others from that part of Texas. The E-speaker inititated a digression in my discussion of phonetics by complaining about the kids -- and teachers -- not distinguish- ing 'pen' and 'pin'. I wrote the two words on the board and asked the E-speaker to say one of the words. She distinctly said [pEn] and when I asked for a show of hands the class was evenly divided on which vowel was spoken. The E-speaker was visibly surprised and a little shocked to discover that her colleagues really couldn't hear a distinction that was so clear. Now I wish I'd had the foresight to ask that group of teachers about "ink pen". DMLance