Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 16:52:54 -0800


Subject: Re: Sulking Over Silky Milk & Other Words of That Ilk

Aside from one observation, no one seems to have acknowledged the fairly

obvious fact that the l-loss under discussion here is phonologically

conditioned. The rule deleting the l seems confined to the environment

after back vowels. Clearly it's most solid (i.e. most general) after low

back vowels (I would be amazed to the point of incredulity to hear of any

AE speaker who pronounced an /l/ in "walk") and weakens with higher, to

say nothing of front, vowels, so that I would be equally amazed to hear an

American say /mIk/ for 'milk'. Then there's mid back /o/, after which,

this discussion makes clear, there is considerable variation among, and

uncertainty within, speakers. As a child, I seem to have extended this

rule another notch: One day (I think I was in my teens), to my utter

astonishment, my parents pointed it out as an amusing idiosyncrasy that I

said, e.g., "big bad woof." At first I refused to believe that this

wasn't what everybody said, but eventually I made a conscious effort to

amend my pronunciation. I'm still aware of an effort every time I say


As for "folk," I'm sure I omit the /l/ in all combinations. The

following /l/ would help me restore in in 'folklore', but I find it actually

difficult to pronounce it in 'folkdance'.

Peter McGraw

Linfield College

McMinnville, OR

On Mon, 30 Oct 1995, Bethany Dumas, UTK wrote:

Thanks for getting me back in the thread. Yes, I have /l/s in many of the

other words. But I don't recall ever hearing anyone say an /l/ in

'folk' or 'folklore' and I was beginning to think you were all crazy.