Peter T. Daniels <grammatim at worldnet dot att dot net> wrote:

>>> If there's no third syllable in the Michigan town, why isn't it
>>> /h&mtr&Nk/?
>> Would the /k/ necessarily change the /m/ to /N/? (I forgot the word
>> for this type of change.)
> Assimilation.

Thank you.

> Can you think of English words with a nasal other than /N/ before /k/
> or /g/? Especially without a morpheme boundary intervening? (The
> negative prefix may not assimilate in careful pronunciation, but in
> fast speech it does.)

I'll look for one. In any case I would regard Hamtramck as a loan
word -- no matter how long the town has existed -- and a proper noun,
and as such not automatically subject to regular English pronunciation

For a word like "Encarta" or "EncarnaciĆ³n" (as in Juan, the baseball
player) I never pronounce the "n" as /N/, no matter how fast my speech.

>> Most people you know are probably fairly intelligent, educated, and
>> thoughtful. They probably don't say "Eye-talian" and "Eye-rack" and
>> "Sodom" Hussein, either.
> You have a problem with Jimmy Carter's education?

As much respect as I have for the man and his intelligence, his
pronunciation often does not show it. I don't say /"nuky@`/ either.

> As for Mr. Hussein's forename, "Sodom" is a fairly good approximation
> for those unfamiliar with consonant length. If the middle consonant is
> a Dad, then "Sodom" is better than Bush 41's "Saddm." (So if you can
> find it written in Arabic script for me, I'll let you know.)

I'll look for it in Arabic. In the meantime, as a non-speaker of Arabic
I frankly don't know how "Saddam" should be pronounced, but I am
convinced that a good many people, back to Bush 39 and probably well
before, are deliberately saying "Sodom" to make a not-very-subliminal

American news readers who tend to pronounce other names carefully
generally say /s@"dA:m/.

-Doug Ewell
Fullerton, California