Sunday, 27 September 2015

length becomes lenth

Paul Carley spotted another interesting pronunciation variant - it's that for the word length. LPD3 presents the results of an opinion poll on the BrE pronunciation of it: 48% prefer /leŋθ/, 36% favour /leŋkθ/ and 16% vote for /lentθ/. To the latter pronunciation John Wells adds a symbol indicating that it is a British English non-RP variant. CEPD18 has /leŋkθ/ only. Here are two short sections taken from BBC News of 22 September 2015:

The speaker is Danny Savage.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding this version of the word ‘length’, it and ‘strenth’ are neither currently nor historically unusual. OED has the Middle English spellings ‘leinth, lenkith, leynthe’. Milton is on record as having written ‘strenth’. Its status has been a matter of comment since the eighteenth century when Thomas Sheridan in his dictionary classified it as an Irishism. James Elphinston, another eighteenth century observer, regarded ‘lenth’ and ‘strenth’ as ‘the Scottish shiboleth’. John Walker the most famous of those authorities considered it as a ‘sure mark of provincial pronunciation’. Modern authorities are also disinclined to approve it. The Wells LPD warns his readers that both are not considered as ‘RP’.
    Danny Savage is a very effective BBC reporter hailing from Ipswich but operating from Yorkshire.