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Pronounce "only" and "olny"?

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Alfred E Neuman
835099.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:26 am Reply with quote

We got into a discussion about the pronunciation of the word "only" the other day, when someone (who doesn’t speak English as a first language) was pronouncing it as “olny”.

Is this an American pronunciation? Because if it is, I’m not familiar with it at all, I thought it was just an error, but was told that “it’s American”.

Does anyone here say “olny”?

 
CB27
835110.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:36 am Reply with quote

I think it's probably some attempt at slang, like some people who deliberately use "aks" instead of "ask".

 
rewboss
835112.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:42 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
I think it's probably some attempt at slang, like some people who deliberately use "aks" instead of "ask".


There's a word for this process, which I can't remember but no doubt suze can, where consonant clusters are reordered. Where I grew up, central Somerset, "aks" was common for "ask", "wops" or "wopsie" for "wasp" (although they were even more commonly referred to as "jaspers"), and "cripses" for "crisps". Some people went so far as to drop the -s for the singular: one wop, one crip, but I suspect those were back formations.

It's not standard English, though, and of course "wop" could so easily be confused with a racist epithet, so I wouldn't recommend using it if you're not a local.

 
samivel
835119.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:05 am Reply with quote

The word rewboss has momentarily lost is metathesis. It's common throughout the West Country in England, I think, not just Somerset. It's hard to say whether any individual's use of it is deliberate, part of their dialect or an error.

I've not heard any Americans say 'olny' for 'only', but that hardly rules it out as an Americanism.

 
RLDavies
835147.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:21 am Reply with quote

Wasp was originally waeps, so it's been metathesised once already. We occasionally talk of "wapses" around here, but only as a deliberate semi-joke.

I think aks for ask is a dialect thing, but there are probably teens saying it deliberately since it's been featured in Futurama.

I've never heard anyone say olny, deliberately or otherwise, though it is the sort of error a language learner might make.

Olney is a town in Buckinghamshire. Now I'm wondering if people sometimes call it Only.

 
sjb
835152.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:20 am Reply with quote

Yup, wot RLDavies sed--I have never heard an American (or otherwise) say "olny" for "only." I've only ever heard "olny" for Olney--there is a community by that name northeast of the town I grew up in. (Never heard anyone all it Only. :P)

 
Keetoz
835153.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:21 am Reply with quote

Quote:
RLDavies wrote:
Olney is a town in Buckinghamshire. Now I'm wondering if people sometimes call it Only.


Indeed! Do some people call Wapse in The Netherlands Wasp?

 
Alfred E Neuman
835171.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:12 am Reply with quote

She wasn't aware that she was mispronouncing it until it was brought to her attention, so it's not likely to have been an attempt at slang of any sort. We're (including her) just wondering where she picked it up as a pronunciation.

 
suze
835212.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:51 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
Olney is a town in Buckinghamshire. Now I'm wondering if people sometimes call it Only.


As far as I am concerned, Olney is the town in Buckinghamshire - my stepdaughter and her husband live there.

I do not believe that anyone pronounces it as "Only". In fact, the traditional pronunciation is as "Oany" - although this is by now considered affected, and the only person that s/d and husband have heard it from is the vicar.

 
Alfred E Neuman
835239.  Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:14 pm Reply with quote

Thanks Suze

 
'yorz
835659.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:33 am Reply with quote

Keetoz wrote:
Do some people call Wapse in The Netherlands Wasp?

Until now I'd never heard of the place My life has definitely been enriched now. The silent end-e is always pronounced. So - Wapse (u as in duh)

 
Spud McLaren
835684.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:03 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
Wasp was originally waeps, so it's been metathesised once already. We occasionally talk of "wapses" around here, but only as a deliberate semi-joke.

I think aks for ask is a dialect thing, but there are probably teens saying it deliberately since it's been featured in Futurama.
Aks (or ax, if you prefer) has some provenance. This was covered briefly in a thread called Don't you just hate it when they say..., which I can't now find. I assume it's been terminally pruned.

Alfred E Neuman wrote:
We're (including her) just wondering where she picked it up as a pronunciation.
I well remember a Spanish chap of my slight acquaintance whose phrase vocabulary included Cor bimley (sic), as a result of a freak incidence of dyslexia. Needless to say, this is now heard at times in the McLaren household too...

 
samivel
835754.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:23 pm Reply with quote

Did he pronounce 'bimley' to rhyme with 'grimly' or with 'timely'?

 
Spud McLaren
835785.  Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:23 pm Reply with quote

With grimly.

 
Boris
861917.  Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:31 am Reply with quote

Spud McLaren wrote:
[I well remember a Spanish chap of my slight acquaintance whose phrase vocabulary included Cor bimley (sic), as a result of a freak incidence of dyslexia...


It might not be necessarily dyslexia (in the clinical sense), but a simple misconception of the word being read.

Spanish people (such as myself) pronounce every letter in a word (with the exception of the letter "h", which is never pronounced).

The phoneme group "bli" does not happen naturally in Spanish, so I guess you'd subconsciously displace the "l" to a more "likely" position.

My guess, of course.

I myself cringe whenever I see the word "cocoa", as I'm more used to the "proper" word: "cacao".

I suppose this side-translation of consonants/vowels is a common enough occurrence.
I'm sure our resident expert suze would have plenty to say about this.

 

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