Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#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: 10537
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: 1705
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: 1705
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

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8913 Members
16 Forums
13859 Topics
221028 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
Hamna, Preboomer, Smithwillsam, folatre, Rockyhud220
8913 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 127 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
endymion6 95
wofahulicodoc 78
LukeJavan8 74
May 40
A C Bowden 13
Tromboniator 2
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11613
tsuwm 10537
LukeJavan8 8107
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
AnnaStrophic 6511
wofahulicodoc 6488
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2016 Wordsmith