where have you bean?

It was back in 2007 when I last brought up this scintillating topic- how to pronounce ‘been’. I wrote back then:

I pronounce it /bin/. Absolutely the same as ‘bin’. Been/bin. How come no-one ever investigates this merger? I have heard British say the word the same as ‘bean’, as in baked beans. As in how have you bean. It sounds ridiculous to me, but I can’t offer an explanation as to why I pronounce it /bin/, except to say I’ve never said it any other way. (what is going on, 2007).

Well, today on a walk around Seattle, I saw a sign that takes it one step further:

Here we have the spelling ‘been’ to represent the word bin. It is surely true (at least in my ideolect, and I guess in this area of the U.S. as a whole) that been and bin are homophones. However, given their different orthographies, I would be surprised that anyone would mistake the two in their written forms– especially, someone, so attentive, to comma placement!


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Filed under daily life, english, language, seattle

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