DIALECT Transcripts

Pin-Pen Merger


In some Southern dialects of English, words like pin and pen are pronounced the same. Usually, both words are pronounced as pin. This pattern of pronunciation is also found in other words. List A has words where the i and e are pronounced the SAME in these dialects.

LIST A: I and E Pronounced the Same
1. tin and ten
2. kin and Ken
3. Lin and Len
4. windy and Wendy
5. sinned and send

Although i and e in List A are pronounced the SAME, there are other words where i and e are pronounced differently. List B has word pairs where the vowels are pronounced DIFFERENTLY.

LIST B: I and E Pronounced Differently
1. lit and let
2. pick and peck
3. pig and peg
4. rip and rep
5. litter and letter

Is there a pattern that can explain why the words in List A are pronounced the SAME and why the words in List B are pronounced DIFFERENTLY? To answer this question, you have to look at the sounds that are next to the vowels. Look at the sounds that come after the vowel. What sound is found next to the vowel in all of the examples given in List A?

Use your knowledge of the pronunciation pattern to pick the word pairs in List C that are pronounced the SAME (S) and those that are pronounced DIFFERENTLY (D) in this Southern dialect.
LIST C: Same or Different?
__ 1. bit and bet
__ 2. pit and pet
__ 3. bin and Ben
__ 4. Nick and neck
__ 5. din and den

How can you tell where i and e will be pronounced the same and where they will be pronounced differently?