When to say "Split" and when to say "Merger"

asked 2020-11-30 10:46:28 -0500

I'm working on Lexical sets, in particular when "SALT", that subgroup of THOUGHT words with "al" in the spelling that split off and merge with LOT. Generally, I talk about the LOT-THOUGHT merger, or PALM-THOUGHT merger. When it's only part of a set that splits off, is that more appropriate to describe as a SPLIT, rather than a merger? I suppose I could say that SALT splits off from THOUGHT to create the LOT-SALT merger. Though people have coined alternative Lexical Set keywords for these groups, they're more like the subsets of a lexical set that Wells defines in Accent of English with lettering, e.g. THOUGHT a, b, or c.

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