Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 06:34:21 CST


Subject: Re: folk/folklore

In all the discussion of "pronouncing the l" in words like 'milk' or

'folk' or 'calm' everyone seems to equate "pronouncing the l" with

apical closure. Consider the vowel quality. In the case of yolk/yoke

apical closure seems to be simply present or absent. But phonologically,

if one "doesn't pronounce the l" in 'calm' or 'milk' one would be

saying 'cam' or 'mick'. These are lexical items with phonological

components and are acquired as part of a larger pattern. Is the [a] the same

in 'pom' and 'palm', and the same quantitatively? Is there any diphthongization

in these words in which "l is not pronounced"?

Wayne Glowka alluded to these aspects of "pronouncing the l" in his

"He cain't hep hissef." The people who really do not pronounce the /l/ will

also spell 'help' as 'hep' and have temporally short vowels in both words.

And some of the people who "cain't hep theirself" will have no -l- in 'elm'

and then use a vowel that suggests an ambiguous elm/ilm spelling. Southern

folk phonology and inflectional morphology are really interesting. But

the folk/foke phenomenon that started this thread is not a regional matter,

I suspect.

On another matter:

And thanks to Jesse Seidlower for the wonderful information on 'bite my

ass'. As Beavis/Butthead wannabes continue to unflinchingly say everything

"sucks," they may mess up lots of other old expressions that are

far enough away from the edge of gross to be useful to many of us old folks,

because they're salacious but not in-your-face gross. DMLance