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May 09, 2010

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Alan

The pronunciation of this word is a source of worry to me. I find myself pronouncing it with a short /a/ even though I have the usual southern long /a/ in 'bath' and 'path' etc. I have heard others saying 'aftermarth' but it sounds very pretentious to my ears.
Am I alone ?

Virtual Linguist

I'm not the best person to ask about long and short a's as all mine are short, since I'm a northerner. I've looked it up and it's a fascinating subject; so much so that I've written a post devoted to it on May 14 2010 called the Bath-Trap split or here http://virtuallinguist.typepad.com/the_virtual_linguist/2010/05/trapbath-split.html

If you listen to the pronunciation of aftermath on howjsay.com the first a is long and the second short, so they agree with you. It could be because of the length, or rarity of the word, as I say in the May 14 post.

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