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On Dec 16, 2013, at 10:16 PM, Herman Miller <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On 12/16/2013 8:25 PM, And Rosta wrote:
> 
>> How about closed sylls? E.g. if LANTRA and LONTRA have PALM and GOAT,
>> what would LENTRA, LINTRA, LUNTRA have?
>> 
>> --And.
> 
> I don't know about a hypothetical "lontra", but "Contra(s)" (the Nicaraguan rebels) was typically pronounced with a short o (the LOT vowel). (Lontra is of course the scientific name of the North American river otter, but I have no idea how American zoologists pronounce the name in English. My best guess is either LOT or CLOTH.)
> 
> I don't think there's any consistent pattern in closed syllables. Typically the short vowels would be used, but you've got counterexamples like "Costa Rica" with GOAT. And names that look like they could have open syllables can also have short vowels, like "Nicaragua" (nɪkəˈɹɑɡwə).

I think also we might need to make a distinction between a) sounds assigned via spelling pronunciation; b) sounds which are adapted by particular speakers when they hear other people say words in question; and c) folk etymology and other kinds of reanalysis of the adapted words (e.g. in the case of _Costa Rica_, I wonder if people using /ou/ might have perceived a connection between _costa_ and its English cognate _coast_). In the case of b, the speaker influencing others' speech has in turn acquired his/her pronunciation via a, b, or c. (Or possibly other modes I haven't thought of.)