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silent letters

asked 2017-05-23 09:50:46 -0500

kris082668 gravatar image

is the 'L' in salmon silent?

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answered 2017-06-02 10:26:53 -0500

taitumlee gravatar image

In a way, you could say that the 'l' in 'salmon' is silent because it is not pronounced, but only represented orthographically. The phonetic transcription of 'salmon' is [sæmən]. However, the 'l' does give us some insight as to the etymology of the word. 'Salmon' is hypothesized to be a descendant of the Latin word 'salmonem' which in turn could have been derived from the Latin verb 'salire' meaning 'to leap,' (Salmon 'leap' out of the water). The pronuciation of the 'l' was most likely lost sometime in the era of Anglo-Norman French. In Middle English the word for 'salmon' was 'samoun,' and the modern French version is still 'saumon' [somɔ̃]. However, due to the influence of Latin, we eventually added the 'l' back into the orthographic representation of the word and ended up with 'salmon' in Modern English although the pronunciation of the consonant was lost many years previously. Here are some sources on the topic:,,

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Asked: 2017-05-23 09:50:46 -0500

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Last updated: Jun 02 '17