§ 126. When, therefore, some old, forgotten, phonetic law has caused, what must appear to modern eyes, a discrepancy between symbol and sound, the tendency is for the modern speaker to set it right by conforming the sound to the symbol. This is what we call spelling-prommciation.
§ 127. Hundreds of words in modern English owe their pronunciation to this tendency to make spelling and sound agree. For centuries the tendency has been at work and we still find it at work in our twentieth century. Tennyson's famous line:
„Things seen are mightier than things heard" finds its application here as well. No Englishman in his ordinary conversation makes any the slightest difference between lord and land, or between core and caw. But it you show him the words written on a slip of paper and ask hi m to pronounce them for you, he will say that lord and laud do differ, and he will do his best to let you hear this (purely imaginary) difference. It is a wellknown fact that the Englishman is unable to pronounce a consonantal r after a vowel. If he could, it is my iïrm opinion that we should long since have had the spelling-pronunciation lórd (=-- lord), hórd (= board) etc., judging from the horror many Englishman evince on being told that the pronunciation of lord = that of laud, etc.
They simply call this pron. of lord vulgar, and yet .... pronounce the word no otherwise in their ordinary conversation. They are only misled by the eye.