Thursday, 30 December 2010

early c20 /ɑː/ - part 3

The blurry picture is becoming clearer now thanks to the detailed remarks made by some of my readers!
The variation between /ɑː/ and /ɔː/ seems to be restricted predominantly to the letter sequence <-auNC-> in words most of which are of French origin. (N = nasal, C = consonant(s))
I put two tables online that list such words together with their pronunciations as indicated in the works consulted. The first table concentrates on present-day dictionaries, the second one's going to list reference works that were published in the late c18 and early c19. The accent indicated is General British only.
itemFrench origin1 EPD17 LPD3 ODP OED2 online
aunt+ɑːnt ɑːnt ɑːntɑːnt
craunch?-- -- --krɑːnʃ, krɔːnʃ
daunt+ dɔːntdɔːnt dɔːntdɔːnt
draunt--------drɑːnt, drænt
flaunt? -- flɔːnt--flɔːnt
gaunt? gɔːnt gɔːntgɔːntgɑːnt, gɔːnt
gauntlet+ˈgɔːntlət, -lɪt ˈgɔːntlɪt, -lətˈgɔːntlɪtˈgɔːntlɪt, ˈgɑːntlɪt
graunch-- -- --grɔːn(t)ʃgrɔːntʃ
haunch+hɔːntʃ hɔːntʃhɔːn(t)ʃhɔːntʃ, hɑːntʃ
haunt+hɔːnthɔːnthɔːnthɔːnt, hɑːnt
jaunce?-- -- --ʤɑːns, ʤɔːns
jaunder? -- ----ˈʤɑːndə(r)
jaundice+ˈʤɔːndɪs ˈʤɔːndɪsˈʤɔːndɪsˈʤɔːndɪs, ˈʤɑːndɪs
jaunt? ʤɔːnt ʤɔːntʤɔːntʤɔːnt, ʤɑːnt
launce+ -- --lɔːnslɑːns, læns
laund+ -- ----lɔːnd
laundry+ˈlɔːndriˈlɔːndriˈlɔːndriˈlɔːndrɪ, ˈlɑːndrɪ
maunch+ -- ----mɔːn(t)ʃ
maund? -- ----mɔːnd
maunge+ -- ----mɔːn(d)ʒ
naunt5+ -- ----nɑːnt
raunce+ -- ----rɔːns
raunch-- -- rɔːntʃrɔːn(t)ʃrɔːn(t)ʃ
staunch+stɔːntʃstɔːntʃ, stɑːntʃstɔːn(t)ʃstɑːnʃ, stænʃ, stɔːnʃ
1 ? = unclear etymology; + = French origin; -- = non-French origin;
2 transcriptions represent various editions of OED;
3 additional comment: "In RP formerly also lɑːntʃ";
4 additional comment: "formerly lɑːnʃ";
5 naunt is a variant of aunt.
The above is not a comprehensive list of <-auNC>-words - for obvious reasons. For example, I left out inflected forms and place names such aus Launceston or Taunton. But, I guess and hope, the list's fairly representative of what one can find in the reference books consulted.

The second table, to be put online later, will list what I found in the following works of reference:
  1. 1791: Walker, John, A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language, (London)
  2. 1845: Beniowski, Bartłomiej (Major), The Anti-Absurd or Phrenotypic English Pronouncing & Orthographical Dictionary, (London)
  3. 1909: Afzelius, Jan Arvid, Engelsk Uttalsordbok, (Stockholm) (available to me only up to letter 'pa')
  4. 1913: Michaelis, Hermann & Jones, Daniel, A Phonetic Dictionary of the English Language, (Hannover, Berlin)
  5. 1926: Palmer, Harold, Martin, J. Victor & Blandford, F.G., A Dictionary of English Pronunciation with American Variants, (Cambridge)
  6. 1932: Wyld, Henry Cecil, The Universal Dictionary of the English Language, (London)


  1. The -alm words (palm, calm, etc.) arguably belong on this list. They have dialectal and historical variants with the THOUGHT vowel.

    Aunt belongs here too, I should think.