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Long 'i' in -ind

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:29 pm
by Audiendus
Most one-syllable English words ending in -ind have the 'i' pronounced long:

bind, find, hind, kind, mind, rind, wind [verb], blind, grind.

An exception is wind [noun], with a short 'i'.

By contrast, most words ending in -int have the 'i' pronounced short:

dint, hint, lint, mint, quint, tint, clint, flint, glint, print, skint, squint, stint, splint, sprint.

But pint has a long 'i'.

The 'i' is also short in -ing and -ink words and other -in^ endings, e.g. -inx, -ince, -inge.

Does anyone have an explanation for the anomalous long 'i' in -ind words (and pint)?

Re: Long 'i' in -ind

Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:10 am
by bnjtokyo
The Wikipedia article entitled "Phonological history of English" provides a partial explanation for the phenomena you identified. It says that there was something called Homorganic lengthening in the Middle English period. Somewhere around 1000AD "Vowels were lengthened before /ld/, /mb/, /nd/, /rd/ . . . when not followed by a third consonant or two consonants and two syllables"

This phenomena would account for "find," "mind," "kind," etc. but not the noun "wind." It also covers "child" ("child" vs "children"), "wild" ("wild" vs "wilderness"), "climb" ("climb" vs "clamber"?).

I couldn't find examples words ending in /rd/ that fit the pattern, but /r/ has had and continues to have an oversized influence pronunciation, perhaps obscuring the effect.

Then, at about the same time something called Pre-cluster shortening occurred in which "Vowels were shortened when followed by two or more consonants, except when lengthened as above."

Except for "pint" this development covers your /nt/ and other cluster examples

See ... of_English

Re: Long 'i' in -ind

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:59 pm
by Audiendus
bnjtokyo wrote:This phenomena would account for "find," "mind," "kind," etc. but not the noun "wind." It also covers "child" ("child" vs "children"), "wild" ("wild" vs "wilderness"), "climb" ("climb" vs "clamber"?).

But "build", "gild", "guild" and "limb" have a short 'i'.

Thanks for the link. I will read the article.

Re: Long 'i' in -ind

Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:38 am
by Perry Lassiter
Is the I in -ing actually short? Isn't it rather pronounced as a long E?

Re: Long 'i' in -ind

Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:57 pm
by Audiendus
Well, the 'short i' seems to be generally pronounced with more of a drawl in the US than in Britain (particularly in Southern US accents), but I would not have thought this applies only to the -ing suffix.

There are personal idiosyncrasies, however. I remember a British television announcer of the football (soccer) results who slightly lengthened the short 'i' sound in 'nil', e.g. "Liverpool one, Arsenal niil".