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#203904 - 12/25/11 07:18 PM Often
carmita9 Offline

Registered: 12/25/11
Posts: 1
For years and years, I haven't been able to find the complete, accurate answer. /often/ or /ofen/. Which is the right way to pronounce it?
Please don't tell me it depends on the area where English is spoken. Are there any specific rules available?
Thank you in advance, and Merry Christmas to all at Wordsmisth.

carmita9 (Spain) confused smile

#203906 - 12/25/11 11:08 PM Re: Often [Re: carmita9]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
it depends on the area.. no, I won't say it.

#203907 - 12/25/11 11:19 PM Re: Often [Re: carmita9]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
It's not as simple as just where English is spoken. It can vary from speaker to speaker in the same area. You can go either way and someone will be irritated, but that's their problem, not yours.

#203909 - 12/26/11 11:24 PM Re: Often [Re: carmita9]
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Hi, carmita, and welcome. I'm afraid that both pronunciations are considered correct; but you can hear for yourself here. Click on any or all of the dictionaries listed.

#203914 - 12/28/11 09:35 AM Re: Often [Re: carmita9]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
The silent 't' was the prescribed pronunciation back a generation or two, but now many pronounce the 't'. (I have even been corrected by people, when I don't pronounce the 't', which is what I learned in school. As others have said, both pronunciations are considered correct, at least in US English.

There are other words, where English silly spelling system has influenced pronunciation. When Middle English speakers borrowed parfit from the Normans, it was pretty much pronounced as spelled. Then the spelling changed to reflect its Latin etymology, perfect, but still pronounced parfit. Before you knew it, it was being pronounced /'pErfEkt/.

Even Spanish has some differences in pronunciation (that have changed over the years and are partially regional, url=v]link[/url]). (Although its orthography it much better than English.)
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

#203916 - 12/28/11 02:23 PM Re: Often [Re: zmjezhd]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Originally Posted By: zmjezhd


Meanwhile, I'm patiently waiting for someone to pronounce the S in island.

#203952 - 12/31/11 12:53 AM Re: Often [Re: Faldage]
Candy Offline

Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 1706
Loc: down under
you'll be waiting forever Faldo
no-ones going to take that on, its too difficult!

#203958 - 12/31/11 07:25 AM Re: Often [Re: carmita9]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
If you leave the S unvoiced it's just like Iceland. Not particularly difficult on this side of the equator. Voicing the S doesn't add to much to the difficulty. I guess the fact that we don't pronounce the S in isle helps us not pronounce it in island. Still, it's a solecism. Five hundred years of misspelling it doesn't make that spelling correct.

#203960 - 12/31/11 07:40 AM Re: Often [Re: Faldage]
Candy Offline

Registered: 09/21/10
Posts: 1706
Loc: down under
Its not just misspelling...some letters are obsolete like in esophagus or oesophagus..but some of us (me) like the original spelling!

#203966 - 12/31/11 12:01 PM Re: Often [Re: Candy]
Rhubarb Commando Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/13/11
Posts: 1075
Loc: Lancaster, UK
.. and just to add my bit to the confusion, the C19 UK received pronunciation of 'often' was "orfen". W.S.Gilbert used it to comic effect in The Pirates of Penzance
This pronunciation persisted amongst upper-class speakers in the UK right in to the 1960s.
I'm immortal until proven otherwise

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