This is a discussion thread · 24 replies
As pronunciation: When is the 't' silent in "often"?
It depends on the speaker. From Random House:
'Often' was pronounced with a t-sound until the 17th century, when a pronunciation without the [t] came to predominate in the speech of the educated, in both North America and Great Britain, and the earlier pronunciation fell into disfavor. Common use of a spelling pronunciation has since restored the [t] for many speakers, and today /ˈɔfən/[aw-fuh and /ˈɔf[awf-tuhn] or /ˈɒfən/[of-uhn] and [of-tuhn] exist side by side. Although it is still sometimes criticized, 'often' with a /t/[t] is now so widely heard from educated speakers that it has become fully standard once again.
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is it somehow related to east/west coast speaking?
Ok, thanks for that reply .. but what about in daily speech? How do you yourself use it - and from what part of the country are you? Is it somehow related to the east or to the west?
I used to pronounce "often" like the word "soften", then when I lived in Japan I heard it pronounced like "off" + "tin". This wasn't from Japanese, and I changed the way I pronounced the word. Today, I used it, and the people I talked to didn't understand what I was saying. So, I went to my electronic dictionary and it had a recorded wav of the word pronounced like the word "soften". I went to www.m-w.com and the wav there also sounds like the word "soften". So, now I am thinking maybe it shouldn't be pronounced like "off" + "tin". What's the verdict, should the "t" be silent or pronounced?
There is a long, long thread in the forums on this already, and views range from "both are equally acceptable" to "only the most uninformed ignoramus would use the pronunciation with the T." (To counter that latter point, one of the posts pointed out that it was only when the masses started learning to read and saw that there was a T in the word that the T started being pronounced - a sign of literacy, actually, and not illiteracy. But anyway...)
I say "offin" but I would certainly know what word you meant if you said oft-in.
the history lesson is very interesting.however,i do not understand why so many people believe it is incorrect to pronounce often with a silent "t".every dictionary i've checked states that the word is pronounced with no "t" sound.furthermore,if one believes we should pronounce the "t" just because it is there,shouldn't we also pronounce the "t" in soften?oddly,however,i've never heard anyone pronounce the "t" in frabric softener.
Hey, I hope you don't mind, but these threads appeared so close in time that I thought I'd merge them into one discussion.
I think I've always pronounced often with a "t" sound, and I never thought about it until my boyfriend said it wasn't the right way. I thought he was wrong, but checked m-w.com and saw that without a "t" is the primary pronunciation and with a "t" is the secondary one. Then I noticed this thread and your reply. I would never say soften with the "t" sound, but I say fabric "soft-ner" all the time. Not only do I pronounce the "t" but I also drop the schwa sound. Darn...maybe it's time to change my ways.