Date: Wed, 9 Jul 1997 15:55:13 +0000

From: Duane Campbell dcamp[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]EPIX.NET

Subject: Re: clorox or whatever

At 12:18 PM 7/9/97 -0800, you wrote:

I'm confused: is this thread about spelling or speaking? I see "smelled"

but I hear "smelt". Don't you?

I have been surprised at how many people find "smelt" perfectly normal. My

experience with "smelt" has been threefold:

1. Rustic - I et it 'cause it smelt so good.

2. Archaic - as in the MT example.

3. British - but there's no accounting for them. I swear, sometimes they

act as if they inventedd the languagge.

But you bring up the question of written vs. spoken. I say "smelled", and I

say it quite clearly (unless it is late at night).

Over the last ten to twenty years I have watched the migration of the "d"

into a "t" sound. So now I am wondering about this scenario. In 19th

Century America it was spelled and pronounced "smelt". Then the "smelled"

spelling and pronounciation took over. Now, though the word is still

"smelled" in both spelling and pronounciation, but spoken as "smelt" not

referring back to an earlier form but reflecting a modern consonent shift.

In other words (this gets existential), it is still "smelled", but

"smelled" is pronounced "smelt".

Duane Campbell dcamp[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]