Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 18:59:47 -0700 From: Rudy Troike Subject: Re: name's the same I sympathize with Lisa Pogoff, though she must never have taken a course dealing with varieties of American English. This vowel merger is surely one of the most dysfunctional in Modern English, and it behooves those of us who make it to try to rescue the language from this pell-mell (pall-mall?) rush to destruction. [Pardon the ambiguity -- the second "it" should read "this distinction".] Speaking of ambiguity, Bethany, did your students have trouble with "Don" vs. "Dawn" because you did not make the distinction or because they didn't? Several years ago my wife hired a new secretary, and told me the person's name was /dan/ (Muriel is from California, BTW), which I naturally interpreted as "Don", and was puzzled because I had understood she was interviewing a female for the job, and asked for a confirmation of this. When it was given, my reaction was that it was the first time I had heard of a woman named "Don". After some further confused interaction, she clarified that the name was "Dawn". It's too bad we can't get in our time machine and go back and straighten out that first child who failed to hear the distinction. --Rudy Troike (rtroike[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]