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Why is ⟨-um⟩ pronounced /ʊn/ and is it related to why some English-speakers pronounce "cardamom" more like "cardamon"?

Posted: 2017-10-09, 23:24
by September
I am curious as to whether the pronunciation of the Faroese dative case ending is related to the reason English-speakers often say "cardamon" instead of "cardamom". Example: "bussinum" is pronounced "bussinun" in Faroese.

Are these two examples of the same linguistic process, or is it just a coincidence?

Re: Why is ⟨-um⟩ pronounced /ʊn/ and is it related to why some English-speakers pronounce "cardamom" more like "cardamon

Posted: 2017-10-10, 2:28
by linguoboy
September wrote:I am curious as to whether the pronunciation of the Faroese dative case ending is related to the reason English-speakers often say "cardamon" instead of "cardamom". Example: "bussinum" is pronounced "bussinun" in Faroese.

Are these two examples of the same linguistic process, or is it just a coincidence?

There's more than one possible explanation for the pronunciation cardomon. Dissimilation and analogy (-on is a common suffix on Greek-derived words in English) are both strong possibilities here.

As for the Faeroese dative, there's a parallel development in Continental West Germanic: already in Old High German, you find the dative plural ending being spelled (and presumably pronounced) -on. The same is true of more generally in Old Dutch. Old English, by contrast, preserves -um. However a subsequent shift to -on or -en can be observed in certain placenames, e.g. Coton (OE Cotum "[at the] cottages"), Oaken (OE Acum "[at the] oaks").

Re: Why is ⟨-um⟩ pronounced /ʊn/ and is it related to why some English-speakers pronounce "cardamom" more like "cardamon

Posted: 2017-10-10, 4:37
by September
linguoboy wrote:
September wrote:I am curious as to whether the pronunciation of the Faroese dative case ending is related to the reason English-speakers often say "cardamon" instead of "cardamom". Example: "bussinum" is pronounced "bussinun" in Faroese.

Are these two examples of the same linguistic process, or is it just a coincidence?

There's more than one possible explanation for the pronunciation cardomon. Dissimilation and analogy (-on is a common suffix on Greek-derived words in English) are both strong possibilities here.

As for the Faeroese dative, there's a parallel development in Continental West Germanic: already in Old High German, you find the dative plural ending being spelled (and presumably pronounced) -on. The same is true of more generally in Old Dutch. Old English, by contrast, preserves -um. However a subsequent shift to -on or -en can be observed in certain placenames, e.g. Coton (OE Cotum "[at the] cottages"), Oaken (OE Acum "[at the] oaks").

Great answer! Thanks!

Re: Why is ⟨-um⟩ pronounced /ʊn/ and is it related to why some English-speakers pronounce "cardamom" more like "cardamon

Posted: 2017-12-10, 0:08
by Mulder-21
Damn, I didn't know about that either. Thanks, linguoboy.