Date: Thu, 25 Jul 1996 10:46:46 EDT


Subject: Re: literary words

The recent discussion of "waft" and the effect of spelling

pronunciations leads me to introduce the word "cupola." For some bizarre

reason, our campus is being graced by a double-scale copy of a "cupola"

that once adorned a building that was torn down a number of years ago.

Campus publications have featured numerous photographs of the "cupola"

currently under construction and I have heard all sorts of

pronunciations when people talk about the new structure. Before reading

further, you might think about how you pronounce the word.

Thus far I have heard "cup-uh-luh," "kyou-puh-luh," "koup-uh-luh,"

"kou-pyou-luh," "cup-you-luh" and "cuh-poh-luh" (As you can tell, I'm

having difficulty in indicating whether "p" is a coda or an onset.)

After using the first of these pronunciations and finding myself in the

minority, I checked the American Heritage Dictionary, which lists only

the second pronunciation.I find the palatalization of the /k/

interesting, for the AHD lists both the palatalized and non-palatalized

pronunciation for such words as "cumin" and "culinary" (the palatalized

pronunciation is listed after the non-palatalized for "cumin," but the

order is reversed for "culinary").

Do your pronunciations of "cupola" provide any significant data for

"spelling pronunciations" compared to "dictionary pronunciations"?


Bruce Southard