Mister Muntz

The One Big Happy from May 15th:

Months, Muntz, let’s call the whole thing off.

Phonemically, months /mʌnθs/ vs. Muntz /mʌnts/, phonetically with dental allophones of /n/ and /s/ in months (to go along with (inter)dental /θ/), but alveolar allophones in Muntz (to go along with alveolar /t/). In casual speech, in fact, many speakers have a dental stop allophone of /θ/ in months (rather than an interdental or dental fricative), so that the distinction between months and Muntz is subtle — and, for some speakers some of the time, the distinction is lost, with alveolar clusters [(n)ts] in both words. (In any case, the oral stop portion of the cluster is quite short, and the /n/ is likely to show up phonetically only as nasalization of the preceding vowel; the names Muntz and Munce are often phonetically identical.)

So it’s not at all silly for Ruthie to treat months and Muntz as equivalent.


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