“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

Victor Hugo

The cot-caught merger: a dialectal difference and early literacy instruction

Language is always evolving, with new words (bingeable, superspreader), new expressions (I can’t even), and even shifting syntax (Have you any? vs Do you have any?) and grammar (the fading subjunctive: If I were…).  But the main topic of interest today is shifts in pronunciation.  The way we pronounce words changes slowly over time, oftenContinue reading “The cot-caught merger: a dialectal difference and early literacy instruction”

A boat by any other name

With the exception of sound effect words (called onomatopoeia like sizzle, beep), speech sounds are arbitrarily attached to the meanings of words.  There’s not really a reason why a dog is called dog and not some other string of sounds like bop.  And as Juliet famously said, a rose by any other name would smellContinue reading “A boat by any other name”


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