Date: Tue, 31 Oct 1995 13:54:42 -0500


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

Larry Horn wrote:

For me, it's definitely phonological in most environments: I always have an L

in -ilk and -ulk (with schwa), never in -a(u)lk (balk, caulk, talk) [although

if the vowel is front then indeed I do: calc vs. caulk, talc vs. talk], .

. .

The pairs of words that Larry lists here at the end deserve some comment.

My astute student (who started this thread) noted this morning that she has

heard "talcum" without the /l/, and even "talc"--both of which I have also


A notably weird variation occurs with "falcon." Around here, as far as I

know, the Falcons have an /l/; however, I had a friend in graduate school

from upstate New York (it may have been Albany, but I am fearful of the

earlier thread on what is actually upstate New York) who made fun of all us

Austin folks for saying [f[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]lkxn] (where x = schwa and [AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] = ash). He said

[fckxn] (where c = open-o). An l-less "talcum" or "talc," however, still

has an ash, not an open-o.

Isn't there also variation in regard to ash and /a/ and open-o in words

like "balm" and "psalm" and "alms"?

In Monty Python's _The Life of Brian_, the magi bear gold, frankincense,

and myrrh to the wrong manger. When the mother of Brian hears the

explanation that myrrh is a balm [bcm], she goes postal and starts

screaming for the magi to get their "bomb" out of the manger.

He cain't hep hissef,

Wayne Glowka

Professor of English

Director of Research and Graduate Student Services

Georgia College

Milledgeville, GA 31061