Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 14:08:48 EST From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: I before E Natalie writes, ----------------------------Original message---------------------------- > Does anyone know any other weird exceptions? "Weird" isn't an exception if you think of the rule the way I do: i before e except after c as long as it sounds like [i]. I say [wIrd], not [wird]. If you extend that rule to all pronunciations you're aware of, even if they're not your own, you're left with almost no exceptions at all -- e.g., some people pronounce the first syllable of "leisure" as [lE] rather than [li], some people don't have [i] in "either" and "neither." --Natalie (maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] _____________________ That is a really neat explanation, predicting e.g. why we spell "leisure" the way we do, i.e. because some people pronounce it to rhyme with "measure". Un- fortunately there are still exceptions: as far as I know nobody pronounces "seizure" that way, so we should spell it (and the verb it derives from) with -ie-. It does work nicely for "either" and "neither", which most of us are aware CAN be pronounced with a diphthong even if we refrain from doing so our- selves. This strategy does work better as a rationalization than as a peda- gogical tool, though, since it requires us to be aware of everyone else's phonological practices (perhaps after the fashion of Hilary Putnam's socio- linguistic principle, the division of linguistic labor)--I never knew "weird" wasn't pronounced everywhere with an [i]. Larry