Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 23:38:47 -0000

From: Muhammed Suleiman xtr08[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]DIAL.PIPEX.COM

Subject: Re: of(t)en and "is all"

Dear Beverly,

it has to be remembered that Britain was, and to a large extent still is, a

class society, and therefore we should think in terms of class-graded as

well as age-graded distinctions.The Upper Classes for instance used to

pronounce the initial o of the word as a long (back) vowel, a

pronunciation which is still relatively common among them but which is

certainly dying out ; the middle and lower classes would invariably find

this affected.

With regard to the presence or absence of t in the word _often_, however,

people seem less critical.I think you are right in suggesting that the t

is basically a spelling pronunciation.


Dr M. Suleiman

BTW, a visiting colleague (about 64) from London via Africa also says

'often' with a /t/. He claims he speaks not RP ("oh heavens no") but

Educated Standard (London) English--learned in school, not in his

London home neighborhood. How does this jibe with Mr. Suleiman's

observation? Is it age-graded?