Why the “L” in solder is silent

December 24, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

9 comments on “Why the “L” in solder is silent”

  1. Our language (English) is soooo strange at times. If sell a house, then you say it has been ‘sold.’ Add an ‘er’ to the end of the word.. Gone is the ‘l.’ Go figure…

  2. I must admit Paul that I found it strange when I first heard you talking about “sodder”. 🙂 My dad was an engineer and from my first recollections of being introduced to the substance, I’ve pronounced the word with an “L”. I think generally, we Aussies pronounce the “L”. Maybe it’s because Australia has more persistant historical ties with England than does the US of A and that’s reflected in our different pronunciations of so many English words.

    It got me thinking (always a danger 🙂 ), I wonder if the proportion of pedants is greater in Audiophiles than in the general population?

    1. …which brings to mind a riddle I just heard on the radio this morning. What do cats and a comma have in common? Cats have claws coming after their paws and a comma has a clause coming after a pause. (Boom-tish)

  3. My somewhat credible etymology:
    In British slang, the L-less word has malign connotations.
    So the French word got nice-ified.

    Language is always slipping and sliding.

    Even now “omicron” sounds different from the mouths of Anglos or Yanks. Though the us believe they say the “O” the same as us. More like a soft “U”.

    For anyone with any interest in language, John Mcwhorter’s podcasts are a delight.

    1. Oops! On further research—
      As my lecturer said when handing back our exam papers:” I have never met so many credible fairy stories.”

      Silent Ls anyone:
      Half the folk walking talk calmly

  4. “American” language is an interesting mixed pot of influence by early colonizers & settlers as they assimilated in.
    The Mississippi valley has a lot of French influence I’m guessing from Lewis & Clark expeditions.
    St. Louis, La Grange (French for “The Farm”)
    Pronunciation nuance lets you know if the person is new to the area.
    Locals still use the French pronunciation of the river tributaries.
    Scandavians settled in mass in the northern mid-west.
    German farmers settled south of St. Louis. I still hear someone talking about their “zink”.
    When I was a kid Texas did not have Kindergarten…
    I went straight to first grade!

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