Mom and Mum and other Linguistic Oddities

All work and no play makes John a dull boy …. and let me tell you, it’s been too much work lately. So it’s time for some fun.

I was thinking the other day about the word “mom.” When Canadians (and denizens of jolly old England) say mom, it rhymes with gum. When Americans say “mom,” it rhymes with Tom.


You might conclude that Americans are more logical than Canadians and British. After all, it’s an “o” and not a “u.”

However, (what a shock) Americans have linguistic inconsistencies. After all, an American’s rendition of “honey” does not rhyme with “bonny.” Nor does an American “son” rhyme with an Oxford “don.”

So Americans do pronounce some “o”s with a “u” sound.

Alas, the enunciatory obfuscation does not belong solely to those from the U. S. of A. Canadians, after all, do not think that Tom is the singular of Tums. Nor do they confuse a bonfire with some odd orgiastic baker’s barbeque. Neither, alas, did Ben Johson “wun” the 100-metre dash.

And yet a Canadian metric ton (tonne) rhymes with gun.


1 CommentLeave a comment

  • In England, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore and Australia we spell it “Mum”, so we say “Mum”.