Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Why aunt is pronounced as ant?

My answer from
The spelling is an aberration; however, its AmE pronunciation is not. They kept the spelling as aunt to distinguish from ant.
I have always thought why the digraph in aunt has a TRAP vowel variant, whereas the same digraph receives LOT/THOUGHT vowels in other set of words. After reading Christopher Upward's The History of English Spelling, I have found an answer.
Spelling change and pronunciation change
<aun> > <an>
aunswar > answer
haunde > hand
daunce > dance
braunche > branch
avauntage > advantage 
<an>  > <aun>
hanch > haunch
vant > vaunt
No spelling change, but variant pronunciations
Variant spellings
gauntlet vs gantlet
staunch vs stanch
gauntry vs gantry

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