Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 00:04:01 -0500

From: Gregory {Greg} Downing downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IS2.NYU.EDU

Subject: Re: of(t)en

At 04:05 PM 11/30/97 -0500, you wrote:

My impression is that often (with the /t/) is increasing in use, at

least among college students. I've considered it a spelling pronunciation,

given that for several hundred years (no OED handy) the standard pronuncia-

tion was without the /t/. But then, I'm still trying to figure out why one

of my own children pronounces the /l/ in calm and palm.

Re "no OED handy" -- OED2 has both t-pronunication and t-less (as well as

more than one realization of the first vowel), giving the t-less one first

which usually indicates some kind of priority/preference. But no comments

are made on pronunciation that I saw in looking quickly. Without endorsing

the analysis, I can point out that I recall being taught, in a relatively

basic linguistics class in the late 1970s, that the t-pronunciation was a

case of hypercorrection based on spelling, common among the culturally and

linguistically insecure lower-middle and middle classes. So the theory went,


Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]