Words whose spelling has influenced their pronunciation(Pronunciation)
"Cocaine" used to be pronounced /'coU cA: in/ (3 syllables). "Waistcoat" used to be pronounced /'wEskIt/. "Humble" and "human" were borrowed from French with no [h] in their pronunciation. "Forte" in the sense "strong point" comes from French _fort_= "strong, strong point"; the English spelling is what the OED calls an "ignorant" substitution of the feminine form of the adjective for the masculine noun. But even in the French feminine form _forte_, the "e" is not pronounced. "Zoo" is an abbreviation of "zoological garden". The (popular but stigmatized) pronunciation of "zoological" as /zu:@'lA.dZIk@l/ (as opposed to /zoU@'lA.dZIk@l/) is due to the influence of "zoo". "Elephant" was "olifaunt" in Middle English, but its spelling was restored to reflect the Latin "elephantus". Similarly, "crocodile" was "cokedrill". "Golf" is Scots. The traditional Scots pronunciation is /gof/. "Ralph" was traditionally pronounced /reIf/ in Britain -- Gilbert and Sullivan rhymed it with "waif" in _H.M.S. Pinafore_; that's how the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams pronounced his name; and even today actor Ralph Fiennes (of _Schindler's List_ fame) is said to pronounce his name /reIf faInz/. "Medicine" and "regiment" were two-syllable words in the 19th century: /'mEdsIn/ and /'rEdZm@nt/. /'mEdsIn/ can still be heard in RP. In 19th-century England, "university" was pronounced /,ju:nIv'A:sItI/ and "laundry" was pronounced /'lA:ndrI/. King Arthur would have pronounced his name /'artur/. The h's in "Arthur" (now universally reflected in the pronunciation) and "Anthony" (reflected in the U.S. pronunciation) were added in the 15th century -- ornamentally or, in the case of "Anthony", because of a false connection with Greek _anthos_="flower". The new pronunciations in such cases are called "spelling pronunciations". The "speak-as-you-spell movement" is described in the MEU2 article on "pronunciation".
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