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Do you pronounce the L in almond? UC wants to know

Do you pronounce the L in almond? That’s the question asked by the Amond vs. Almond Project, a survey by University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“Both pronunciations are technically correct,” the project’s authors say on their website. “We want to find out why people pronounce ‘almond’ a certain way, and determine geographic boundaries where certain pronunciations are used.”

According to people who spend a lot of time in almond country, the no-L pronunciation is common among those from longtime almond-farming families. The standard joke — understandable only if you know something about nut harvesting — is that the almonds have “the L shaken out of them.” (The UC researchers note that, by that reasoning, walnuts should be wanuts.) No-L proponents also cite the conventional pronunciation of salmon.

Answers from the online survey are being plotted on the map displayed below: red for ALL-mund, green for AH-mund or AM-mund, blue for people who vary their pronunciation depending on who they’re with.

Respondents are also asked to give reasons or anecdotes concerning the pronunciation, such as:

• “Saying it with an L sounds too ‘cityfied.’”

• “[My mom’s cousin] was in a Blue Diamond commercial and had to practice saying almond.”

• “I used to say all-mund. That was before I went to CSU Chico.”

• “Most Ripon people call them ammons” (omitting the D as well as the L).

A significant number have repeated the “shaking the L out” line.

Red dots indicate poll respondents who voice the L, green dots those who don’t, and blue dots those who vary their pronunciation. Click on a dot for more information about that particular answer.

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