poach egg

A photo from real life, passed on to Bert Vaux and me on Facebook by Mike Pope, who got it from Bill Pinti:

(#1) huevos pochados ( = huevos poché): Poch Eggs

Sign pretty clearly by a Spanish speaker, showing final t/d-deletion in its spelling, representing [poč] instead of  [počt] (also interference of Spanish spelling with O instead of OA).

So-called t/d-deletion is widespread for native English speakers in final consonant clusters and has been lexicalized in some phrases (like ice cream) — see the discussion in the posts listed in the Page linked to above — but it hasn’t been reported (so far as I know) for poached egg, in either pronunciation or spelling, at least for native speakers.

The natural hypothesis is that this cluster simplification is especially favored by speakers of languages that lack final consonant clusters, especially obstruent clusters. Some of these languages lack final obstruents in general, but obstruent clusters present even greater articulatory challenges, so that cluster simplification at least eases the burden: if you aim for a final obstruent you might delete it, but if you aim for something even harder, like an obstruent cluster, you might achieve a single obstruent instead. (A well-known phenomenon in children’s acquisition of phonology.)

Here a small collection of poach egg(s) examples in writing on the net. From the writers’ names, locations, and (in some cases) photographs, you might guess that they are non-native speakers of English, that they are instead native speakers of various Asian and Pacific languages with severely limited word-final phonology. But in many cases you simply can’t be sure.

Case 1. Food from the Home/Made Kitchen Café & Bakery, Moraga CA, listed as “Bacon and Poached Egg Salad” on the menu, but referred to by reviewer Timothy Y. as “Poach egg and bacon salad!”:

(#2) Note: poached egg salads are not standard American fare

Case 2. Food from Bu-Ba-Q’s Barbeque Bar & Grill, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia: “Poach Egg and Spinach on Crispy Sour Dough” (in the photo below), “Poach Egg and Bacon on Fried Corn Fritter”

(#3)

Case 3. Pinterest board on which Eva Tan saved to [name in Chinese characters]: “Poach egg and smoke salmon”

Case 4. Pinterest board on which Easther Sudharta saved to Get Fit & Healthy: “Healthy breakfast – Salmon, avocado stack with poach egg and spinach”

Case 5. Food for delivery in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from The Kettebell Cafe: “Salad with bacon, croutons, poach egg and garlic vinaigrette” (another poached egg salad)

Case 6. On the Yummy site, a recipe by Ej Beriones Ngo for Avocado and Egg Sandwich: “… Assemble the sliced avocado, poach egg, and sliced tomato. Serve and enjoy the freshness.”

Case 7. (native speaker?) From the menu of the Halcyon Hotel, Edinburgh: “Bacon, Tomato, Beans, Poach Egg and Lefse” (traditional soft Norwegian flatbread)

Case 8.  (native speaker?) On Shane Curley’s Cookbook site, a recipe for “Baked Peach with a Spiced Poach Egg and Marshall Wheat Beer Caviar Pearls”

Case 9. (native speaker?) On the Be Well Monterey site, a recipe for Zucchini Pasta with Poached [note cluster] Eggs and Quick Heirloom Tomato Basil Sauce: “Divide the pasta among 4 plates or bowls. Top each portion with tomato sauce and 1 poached egg [note cluster]. Sprinkle with parmesan and toasted pine nuts. Break the poach [note deletion] egg and toss the pasta allowing it to create a sauce. Add more parmesan and basil.”

Case 10. (native speaker?) From the 1 Lombard Street restaurant in London, internal memo with Brasserie menu changes for April 2017’s starters: “Grilled asparagus & poached [note cluster] eggs, Hollandaise sauce: First blanched than grilled asparagus served with a soft poach [note deletion] egg and hollandaise sauce (eggs, butter, vinegar, lemon & salt)”

Note several cases of variable usage, with poached and poach together in the same text.

2 Responses to “poach egg”

  1. Dennis Preston Says:

    Indeed it has been reported for native speakers. although it is rarer when the following sound is a vowel (as it is in “egg”), but this often reported in socio texts as diagnostic between AAVE and other US varieties.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      The t/d-deletion *in poached egg* has been reported for native speakers?? t/d-deletion in general is indeed much discussed in the sociolx literature, and my postings on the topic cite a good bit of this literature — but all I was saying is that I didn’t think this particular example had been discussed. If you supply me with some relevant references on poach egg, I’ll happily replace my posting with a link to these references and delete the rest of the posting as being mere rehashing of well-known data.

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