Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Jeopardy," you disappoint me again!

"Jeopardy" is on a role tonight, with a category of "homophones" that contained two answers that do not work for some English speakers.  The alleged homophones:

  • don (as in Mafia leader) and dawn (as in sunrise)
  • weather and whether
Of course these are homophones for many American English speakers, with pronunciations of [dɑn] and [wɛðər].  But for some, they are not; for some, there are two minimal pairs involved. For these latter folks, the pronunciations are:

  • don [dɑn] - dawn [dɔn]
  • weather [wɛðər] - whether [ʰwɛðər].

I really wish the Jeopardy people would stop taking one regional variant as the only legitimate one.


  1. What, no brickbats for "on a role"?

  2. I missed that one, but what was it? Role and roll? If so, those really are homophones.

  3. It's "on a roll," as in rolling with momentum.

  4. Homophones unless you mean "rôle" with a uvular r.


Comments and feedback are welcome, as long as they conform to normal standards of civility and decency. I will delete comments that do not meet these standards.