Pronunciation - often

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by supercrom, Jun 2, 2005.

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How you pronounce the word OFTEN

  1. With the "t" sound, i.e. /óften/

    26.1%
  2. Without the "t" sound, i.e. /ófen/

    73.9%
  1. supercrom Banned

    Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE
    :) Hello! members of this forum, I am back again not to annoy but to solve mysteries (he he).

    :D I like asking about how people pronounce some words, sorry if you don't feel comfortable, but it's an interesting topic to me.

    Thanks a lot.

    Supercrom
     
  2. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    There's no option for both?

    Depending on how hurried I am, I'll either pronounce the t or not. ::shrugs shoulders::
     
  3. Phryne

    Phryne Senior Member

    New York City
    Argieland--Esp/Eng
    My last linguistics teacher mentioned briefly in class that the pronunciation of "t" was considered as "overcorrection" (or some concept like that), which means that it was no pronounced for centuries and all of the sudden people included the [t] sound (again). I can't find my notes about that, or the term used in class, but I found this site that explains briefly what happened there.

    often_with_the_t_sound

    Also, from The free dictionary.com:

    Usage Note: During the 15th century English experienced a widespread loss of certain consonant sounds within consonant clusters, [...] the (t) in chestnut and often. In this way the consonant clusters were simplified and made easier to articulate. With the rise of public education and literacy and, consequently, people's awareness of spelling in the 19th century, sounds that had become silent sometimes were restored, as is the case with the t in often, which is now frequently pronounced. In other similar words, such as soften and listen, the t generally remains silent.

    I've always said [ofen], so I vote for that one.

    saludos :)
     
  4. LadyBlakeney

    LadyBlakeney Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spain
    Often, fasten, hasten, soften... I just realized I pronounce all of them in a very funny way. I do not pronounce the "t" but I do place the tongue touching the ceiling of the mouth (as if I were going to pronounce it) and then I let out a soft, sudden and short puff of air through my nose, ending the word with an "n" sound (but keeping my tongue still).

    Were did I get that from? I've learned English pronunciation just by listening.

    Definitely I am the weirdest being on earth... and I don't know what to vote! :D
     
  5. Masood

    Masood Senior Member

    Leicester, England
    British English
    Personally, I never pronounce the 't' in often, fasten, hasten etc, so they sound like off'n, fass'n (or fars'n if you're from southern England), haysn etc.
     
  6. begoña fernandez Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spain - Spanish
    Los ingleses dicen más often y los americanos ofen, o así me lo ha parecido a mí cuando los he oido hablar.

    BF
     
  7. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    I realized something too. Often is the only in which I occasionally pronounce the t. If I try saying Fasten, Hasten or Soften with a t, it sounds weird! :eek:
     
  8. supercrom Banned

    Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE
    So, when you are hurried, d'you pronounce the T?

    Well, I was going to put another option, but I thought to myself that a lot of people would say immediatly "both" without any explanation.

    Sorry for that inconvenience

    Supercrom
     
  9. supercrom Banned

    Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE
    I've got a different opinion, Begoña. I think that both British and American English do pronounce OFTEN in the same way: /ofen/, but I heard that in the US this pronunciation is less formal, so the formal version is /often/.
    I think that Aussie English always pronounce often with the T sound.

    Supercrom
     
  10. suzzzenn Senior Member

    New York
    USA English
    Hey Supercrom,

    Nice to see you again. I use both often and offen. Maybe it is overcorrection, who knows! I never really noticed it before. I am going to start listening more carefully and try to observe how people around me are saying it. It's a good issue to be aware of as a teacher.

    Susan
     
  11. MysieBlondie

    MysieBlondie Senior Member

    United States, English
    I always supposed it was often with a "t", but heck I don't know
     
  12. charmingman

    charmingman Member

    Scotland
    English
    I think I use both. It depends on how fast I'm talking as to whether I use one or t'other.

    Iain
     
  13. ps139

    ps139 Senior Member

    NYC
    USA, English
    I was taught the same thing when I studied linguistics... /often/ is an "overcorrection," at least in America. I always say "offen.".... actually, I probably pronounce it more like "auffen"/"awffen" (I am from the New York area)
     
  14. Alundra

    Alundra Senior Member

    Nueva York de la Mancha
    España - Castellano
    I always say offen, without "t".

    Alundra.
     
  15. PSIONMAN

    PSIONMAN Senior Member

    Nottingham, UK
    Br English
    And I always say of'n (which sounds a bit like ofun but with a very short 'u')
     
  16. cubaMania Senior Member

    Supercrom, as estadounidense I would seriously question your source for that information. I am among the majority who always pronounce it without the 't' and when I hear it pronounced with the 't' it definitely does not sound more formal to me. If anything, it sounds slightly underclass to me, though in the interest of not being snobby, I do my best to resist the impulse to judge.
     
  17. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    Yo, como otro estadounidense, digo que estoy de acuerdo por completo con cubaMania. Cuando un estadounidense pronuncie la ''t'' en ''often'' me suena como si él estuviera equivocadamente tratando de apareser culto. Quizá eso pueda ser solamente el esnobismo que CubaMania está intentando de evitar. :) Al fin y al cabo ambas pronunciaciones estan en el Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary.
     
  18. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English
    And I, another estadounidense, always pronounce the 't' , and if the people around me don´t pronounce it, I have been blissfully unaware of that. I thought everyone pronounced the 't'.

    I just asked the secretary here, she says she does not pronounce it, but I never noticed, and she says she never noticed that I do pronounce it...
     
  19. charmedboi82 Senior Member

    USA, English
    Ditto. I've had many linguistics classes and heard much of the same. I, too, say 'ofen'. Adding the 't' doesn't fit with the pattern like in 'soften', etc. Of course, since when does English follow patterns?
     
  20. supercrom Banned

    Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE
    Thanks a lot, Gotita. You make me think that it's not an aware phenomenon.

    I was told that by English-speaking people...

    Supercrom
     
  21. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    Por supuesto que no puedes creer todo lo que dicen los anglohablantes sobre la manera de hablar de otros de habla inglés. :)
     
  22. Whisky con ron Senior Member

    Scotland
    Venezuela / Español
    Edwin: Te corregí dos letras. Now, a cuestion for you: If you hear a foreigner (Spanish speaker, probably) pronouncing the "t", would you think the same? That he/she is trying to appear as if he/she has a great knowledge of english [or even native]?

    Cheers
     
  23. supercrom Banned

    Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE
    Güisqui, también te corregí dos letras.

    I agree with you. My interest is specially for a non-native speaker: how he/she would pronounce this or that word.

    Supercrom
     
  24. Whisky con ron Senior Member

    Scotland
    Venezuela / Español
    Ah, well... I an non-native and I definitely pronounce the T... but my pronuntiation is nothing to go by, I tell you that! :)

    Yes, thanks.... question with Q :)
     
  25. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    Gracias por las correcciones!

    Whisky, la verdad es que como ha dicho Gotitadeleche, lo más probable es que yo no le haría caso a qualquier persona (extranjero o no) en cuanto al pronunciación de ''often". En todo caso si la notara, la respuesta de tu pregunta sería "no". Me parece que todos les dan más libertad de acción al respecto de manera de habla a los extranjeros.
     
  26. Whisky con ron Senior Member

    Scotland
    Venezuela / Español
    Bueno, la pregunta no era si "juzgarías" a alguien. A mí me gusta "often" con T y así lo seguiré diciendo. :)

    Un abrazo
     
  27. ojyram Senior Member

    Tampa, Fl, USA
    USA English (Learning Spanish)
    I rarely pronounced it, but always thought the t in often should be pronounced. Then in 1973 in my students' phonics workbook, often was shown with a silent t. Thinking that was an error, I consulted Websters. Surprise! the t is silent. Now I say off'n without remorse.

    Another word with silent t is listen (lis'n).

    County is Another word in which "overcompensation" is now fashionable in the USA. It used to be cow nee, now all the movers and shakers say coun tee.
     
  28. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    A difference is that several online dictionaries show two pronuciations for often (with and without the t), but only one for county (with t).
     
  29. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I think this is a geographical feature.
    I would pronounce the "t" in often, hasten, soften; but not in listen or fasten. Your challenge is to not appear to be exceptional on this one. So lissen carefully to how words such as this are pronounced wherever it is that you want to sound "native".
     
  30. supercrom Banned

    Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE
    I dont' agree with you, panjandrum... I think it is not only geography.
    So I would like to know where (exactly) "often" and "offen" are pronounced?

    Supercrom
     
  31. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hmmmmm It may well be more than geography.
    After hours of introspection, I have realise that although I think I pronounce the "t", I do exactly what LadyBlakeney describes above. I never pronounce the "..ten" bit as I would the word "ten", but I do that weird thing she describes so that the "t'n" bit is nasal. If only I could do phonetics:eek:
    But listen and fasten are definitely lissen and fassen.
    This is the vote from the Northern Ireland jury. Please plot me on your map.
    If not only geography, what else?
     
  32. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    Puede ser geografía, por lo menos era así hace mucho, pero ahora --especialmente en EEUU-- estamos tan mezclados que me parece ya no se trata del lugar.
     
  33. LadyBlakeney

    LadyBlakeney Senior Member

    Madrid
    Spain
    Yay! Thanks Panjandrum, now I know I'm not alone. :D

     
  34. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Piston, cotton - anyone?
    Similar to often, for me.
    Surely no-one says "pisson" for piston:p
     
  35. QUIJOTE Senior Member

    USA
  36. alc112

    alc112 Senior Member

    Concordia, Entre Ríos
    Argentina Spanish
    Mis profesoras de inglés me enseñaron que se pronuncia sin la t y que la e es muy corta, casi ni se la pronuncia. Aunque pueden estar equivocadas, no sé.
    Saludos
     
  37. supercrom Banned

    Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE
    Hi, Alexis!

    I was taught to pronounce without the T the same as listening, but I was heard a song with that word in an Australian word and it was pronounced with the T, then I heard other natives pronouncing the T, so I decided to ask...

    Supercrom
     
  38. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This is SO bizarre.
    Having enjoyed this conversation immensely, I am suddenly compelled to ask two questions:
    (1) Why is a discussion about the pronunciation of English in a forum about Spanish Grammar?
    (2) How come I, a non-speaker of Spanish, found it?
     
  39. Aine Member

    Chile (Español)
    My english teacher used to say that in england the only ones who pronnounced "ofTen" are high-class people (or high-class wannabes) and gay people (no offense!) :p
     
  40. mhp Senior Member

    American English
    Sorry that I’ve not read the previous replies. As an AmE speaker, the pronunciation of T in often sounds like pure snobbery to me---definitely to be avoided. :)
     
  41. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    of'en : no t

    Loob
     
  42. LaReinita

    LaReinita Senior Member

    East Coast, USA
    USA (Northeast Coast)-Inglés
    I've always said it with the "t," and so does the rest of my family (from New York) but It's interesting and slightly irritating to know that someone in this thread thinks that it sounds underclass. Why in the world do you think it sounds underclass? If anything, I would think it sounds more articulate.
     
  43. cubaMania Senior Member

    To me the pronunciation of "often" without the "t" sounds better. I think this is because, at least in USA, the non-T pronunciation is the older more traditional pronunciation*, and is still the more common one. The pronunciation with the "t", in my opinion, is a result of the phenomenon called "spelling pronunciation."
    Because "often" is a short word which was tradionally pronounced differently than it is spelled, a portion of the population started pronouncing the word as it is spelled, rather than in the traditional way. Perhaps it might be considered either underclass or snobbish (or both!) because the phenomenon bears some resemblance to the phenomenon of hypercorrection in which the speaker's misguided attempt to follow a language rule which they do not understand causes them to make an error. It's not an exact analogy, but bears some similarity. Anyway, I think the newer pronunciation is now common enough that it really can no longer be considered non-standard, and so I myself accept "often" pronounced with the "t" as a second correct standard US pronunciation, even though I do not use it.

    *(and I'm old :rolleyes: )
     

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