Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 08:56:28 -0500


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

Peter McGraw wrote:

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")

After trying to teach transcription to students from Sandersville, GA, for

15 years, I have given up arguing that there is no /l/ in words like "walk"

and "talk." The open-o in this area is so heavily diphthongized as

something like [ao] or even [[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]aow] that I have a hard time convincing these

students that they have no /l/ before the /k/. They hear no /l/, however,

in words like "law." The off-glide in words like "half" and "calf" also

sounds like /l/ to them.

By the way, one of those announcers with a stay-pressed smile on ET last

night pronounced the name of Dekalb, Illinois, with an /l/. There is no

/l/ in "Dekalb County," a county in the metro Atlanta area.

And speaking of transcription woes, I finally abandoned categorical

statements about there being no /g/ at the ends of words like "sing."

After arguing with students from Sandersville for years about there being

no /g/ except for some reading hypercorrection (which is, of course, a real

/g/ after all), I married a woman from Milledgeville who--like her sister

and other female relatives--pronounces a /g/ in "sing" and other related


Wayne Glowka

Professor of English

Director of Research and Graduate Student Services

Georgia College

Milledgeville, GA 31061