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He understands "initials", watches a lot of sports, and knows that San Jose is "SJ". But I was surprised that he remembered.

Right. I was simply wondering whether he was surrounded by so many Spanish words, or at least names, that he had maybe ascribed the 'h' sound to 'j' throughout; or whether he could clearly distinguish between Spanish and English names.

Not at all. Just yesterday, he saw an envelope I had left for a guy named José, and he pronounced it /dZous/.

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I'd note that "halve" is, for me, barely a natural word to use I think the more natural way ... half". So "halve" is one of those words that one conceivably could go through a relatively full life never saying.

But do you never use 'halves' as the plural of 'half'? Eg "I want both halves".

Rob Bannister
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And so, confusion continues to reign. I'm sure that part ... the English-speaking community were to decide on standardized international pronunciations

In that case, the 'easiest' thing would be for us to all pronounce every word exactly as it is spelt ... rather like a funny dialect. The main problem is with the soft 'g' in some of the words from French.

You should hear what happens when I try to "pronounce words as written" using the Latvian well defined and basically unchanging pronunciations of the letters. The result is weird and unrecognizable.
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
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I'd note that "halve" is, for me, barely a natural ... conceivably could go through a relatively full life never saying.

But do you never use 'halves' as the plural of 'half'? Eg "I want both halves".

Hmm. Yes, that seems like a reasonably ordinary word. Tense vowel, does not rhyme with stressed "have".
Interesting. I can't even think what distinction might be made ... pronounces it in "halve"). What distinction do you make, exactly?

I thought everyone did this. Just shows how wrong one can be. 'Have'is sort of like 'hev';

No more like "hev" than "bat" is like "bet", surely?
'halve' is 'hahv'. Is the latter the same vowel you have in the first 'a' of 'lava'?

There are a few words which tend to have the "father" vowel in BrE and the "bath" vowel in AmE (of course in southern England these are the same) - half, halve, calf, can't, shan't, banana, rather.
I'm still struggling with the distinction between the 'o' of 'hot' and 'coffee', but at least Ican make a guess at what it is.

In my dialect (and presumably yours) there just isn't a distinction - they're the same phoneme (and pretty much the same phone, I think). But presumably you can imagine someone saying "cawffee"? Think of how the Queen pronounces "off".
Jonathan
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There are a few words which tend to have the "father" vowel in BrE and the "bath" vowel in AmE (of course in southern England these are the same) - half, halve, calf, can't, shan't, banana, rather.

Also there are still a handful of AmE speakers that follow the southern England approach (mainly in Eastern New England).
"Shan't" probably wouldn't be said by an American unless he or she was trying to sound British. I can see Coop using "shan't" if he were in one of his Masterpiece Theatre -type moods.
"Banana" is an interesting example, since for New York speakers the "lax can" vowel is used, not the "tense can" vowel. I think I've heard patrician Northeastern US speakers use the "father" vowel in "banana", though (so too with "tomato").

Yup. In the US, "coffee" has the "cough" vowel, I think we can say.
There are a few words which tend to have the ... the same) - half, halve, calf, can't, shan't, banana, rather.

Also there are still a handful of AmE speakers that follow the southern England approach (mainly in Eastern New England).

Yes, but:
"Banana" is an interesting example, since for New York speakers the "lax can" vowel is used, not the "tense can" vowel. I think I've heard patrician Northeastern US speakers use the "father" vowel in "banana", though (so too with "tomato").

I don't think so; I've never heard the "father" vowel in "banana" from an American, and my grandparents both usually have bananas in the house and have fairly old-fashioned Eastern New England accents. "Tomato" with "ah" is also not a traditional Eastern New England pronunciation, as far as I'm aware. I think both of these are just due to the (well-known) differences between the distribution of the US and the UK "foreign ah".

"Rather", as I've mentioned, is also a different phenomenon: the "ah" pronunciation is more archaic, and is retained in some areas and some accents which never developed the "ah" in words like "half" and "can't"; the /&/ is a spelling pronunciation, I think.
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"Rather", as I've mentioned, is also a different phenomenon: the"ah" pronunciation is more archaic, and is retained in some areas andsome accents which never developed the "ah" in words like "half" and"can't"; the /&/ is a spelling pronunciation, I think.

The distribution of "ah" in "rather" seems to me to be similar to the distribution of "ah" in "half" and "can't" (as opposed to the much less widespread "ah" in "bath" etc.). This may just be how it appears to me, in a region where that is the pattern, though. Do you know of regions where "half" has the short vowel, but "rather" has "ah"?

Couldn't the "ah" of "half" have developed in a similar way to that of "palm", and then been lost in some dialects?
I meant to ask you whether you thought it plausible that "master" had had a variant pronunciation which had developed a long vowel parallel to those of "father" and "rather".
Jonathan
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In that case, the 'easiest' thing would be for us ... the soft 'g' in some of the words from French.

You should hear what happens when I try to "pronounce words as written" using the Latvian well defined and basically unchanging pronunciations of the letters. The result is weird and unrecognizable.

I'm surprised. It ought to come out vaguely Chaucerian (all those final e's).

Rob Bannister
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