Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Make your own minimal pair! Or, how “whole” and “hole” can be non-homophones.

Occasionally, I comment to Amy that a particular word is a homophone (such as sew and sow or rose “flower” and rose “went up”).

Yesterday, I mentioned hole (in a bucket) and whole (the whole piece of cake), and she said that for her, those weren’t homophones.

I asked her how she pronounced them, and she said that for her, they are (roughly) [hoʊ̯wəɫ] |hole| vs. [hoːl] |whole|.

Essentially, that boils down to “/ho:l/ as pronounced in English” versus “/ho:l/ as pronounced in German”! (The former with a diphthong and a velarised /l/, the latter with a long monophthong and a non-velar /l/.)

I wonder what the phonotactics of her particular idiolect of English are… it clearly seems to have at least one vowel phoneme that isn’t in, say, RP, for starters! And the rules about when /l/ gets velarised are clearly also different.

Fun stuff!

Tags: amy, english, pronunciation

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