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Joined: August 8, 2006
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A person from Worcester, Mass., once saw a cartoon with a couple on a picnic blanket and a bunch of old ladies walking by and the caption, "What would a picnic be without aunts!" AND DIDN'T GET IT because he pronounced the word aunt as ont. He remembered the cartoon DURING a discussion of the ant/ont pronunciation. My father was English, and both sets of grandparents were from England (Yorkshire), and we pronounced the word ahnt.
The Oxford English notes that Chaucer spelled ask as ax, and that most of England did, too, up until the time of Shakespeare. Post-Shakespeare the word became ask. So the African-American pronunciations of ax and ahnt probably both came from older English pronunciations.
The Brits use autumn rather than fall, but our term fall originated with a Brit phrase "the fall of the leaves" which disappeared there.
August 8, 2006, 6:49pm
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