Today, I discovered that almond farmers in northern California pronounce the word almond as ah-mond, with the l being silent. There's a common joke explanation that the nut is called an almond on the tree and an ah-mond on the ground because you shake the l out of it. Obviously, that's not the real reason for the sound change. Almonds were first introduced to southern California by Spanish missionaries who called them almendras, and then to northern California by Portuguese and French immigrants who called them amendas and amandolas, respectively. This makes up just one of many linguistic differences between the two halves of the state, including the increased prevalence of Chicano English and "Valleyspeak" in the south and the more widespread use of the word hella in the north.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.