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17:55 Thursday 22 May 2008 I am surprised that the definitions of 'milk' offered focus exclusively on milk derived from milking a mammal. To me, a milk is first an foremost a liquid in which solids or other liquids are in colloidal suspension, of which mammal milk is an example.

I agree. It's a very out-dated, unbalanced & inaccurate definition as it currently stands. It should be more like "A whitish-colored liquid either produced by the mammary glands of an animal (including humans), or obtained from a vegetable source, such as legumes (e.g. soy bean), fruits (coconut), nuts (e.g. almond) or grains (e.g. rice, oats)." I propose we change it to that. (I'm not sure, but I get the impression that the lack of balance is probably due to vested interests in the animal milk industry.) --Tyranny Sue 01:20, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Nope, it's a result of biology. To many people, the word milk exclusively means "cow secretions". To those trained in basic zoology, it usually means "mammal secretions". To those trained in botany or raised vegetarian, it means "thick white secretions or fluid". Words mean different things to different people based on the culture in which they are raised, and the breadth of their education. --EncycloPetey 01:53, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Not sure what your "nope" refers to, EncycloPetey. It could be taken as attempting to dismiss my whole comment. I'm not sure if that is how you intended to come across. The fact is, lexical choices are rarely a direct result of biology (or any science). (Were you not aware that there are very often all sorts of cultural and political reasons for various definitions of words?) Anyhow, have a look at the various types of non-dairy milks that exist next time you're in a supermarket. It is just a matter of how the word 'milk' is actually used in the world at the moment (and has been for many years now). Isn't that what Wiktionary should reflect? (If it was a specialist biology dictionary, then I suppose it may be another matter, though in terms of agri-business, there's no fair reason to regard the non-dairy milks as less relevant or 'valid' than dairy milk.) It seems really strange that Wiktionary only had the 'dairy' meaning, when so many people in the world are familiar with the other milks. I just would have assumed that Wiktionary would be more up-to-date, and more global in its scope, than that (i.e. than a standard, more old-fashioned dictionary - the kind that tend to be satisfied with out-dated assumptions). --Tyranny Sue 02:31, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
It is not so strange that Wiktionary is missing the additional senses of milk, since our project in barely five years old. There is nothing in your reply that I did not already know. I myself like hazelnut-flavored rice milk. Please try reading past the first word of my reply. You seem more intent on changing other people's usage than in actually representing the diversity that does not match your world view. That said, your edits to the entry were good and have improved the entry for everyone. --EncycloPetey 04:29, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Nope, I'm just interested in seeing the full range of meanings represented without bias.--Tyranny Sue 08:20, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

I'd also ask you to please try to respond (especially if you are going to respond dismissively or at least in a way that seems to attempt to be dismissive) by making it clear which part of my post your objection refers to, otherwise it looks like you are making (or perhaps attempting) a blanket dismissal of the whole post. And also consider that my initial comment was far from being a personal attack on anyone, just a matter of agreeing with the previous person's wonderment at an omission that did seem very strange to both of us.
Also, I'm not sure what your personal rice-milk-drinking habits have to do with any of this, and even more, I wonder at your comment about my "world view". There is no need to take these comments so personally, as you are hardly going to be held personally responsible for the definition of this entry. Most people understand that this is a hugely collaborative project.--Tyranny Sue 03:16, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

You asked me to "have a look at the various types of non-dairy milks that exist next time you're in a supermarket". I replied. If you weren't questioning my knowledge of the subject, then why did you ask "Were you not aware that...". I replied to your comments. If you don't understand where my replies are coming from, then perhaps your comments were not written to convey the information you intended. You continue to impugn my knowledge of both the subject and the project. Please do not do that. --EncycloPetey 03:31, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Um, hang on, you've baselessly accused me of being "more intent on changing other people's usage than in actually representing the diversity that does not match your world view" and you are saying you feel impugned? I don't accept your claim that I'm impugning you, and I also reject your unjustified accusation about what you assumed to be my intentions. Please refrain from jumping to mistaken conclusions & making such unjustified personal accusations.--Tyranny Sue 00:33, 14 April 2009 (UTC)


Can some others weigh in here? I recently had a bit of a debate with someone about how to pronounce this word. My friend says it should be pronounced just like the word "mill" (but with a "K" sound at the end), whereas I've always pronounced it and heard it pronounced as something more in the direction of "melk." The dictionaries that I've looked at all seem to have pronunciation keys that side with my friend here, but it still doesn't match with my experience. I don't know if a regional/dialect issue. Mine is American English, Mid-Western to be specific, and it may well be pronounced differently in different places. But for me, in spite of what prounciation keys may say to the contrary, the "I" in "milk" sounds quite different from the "I" in "mill." I believe I even recall, from back in elementary school that the word was often mis-spelled with an "E." Others please give opinion here, thanks! —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 21:04, 6 January 2009.

Final "L" in English is pronounced slightly differently from "L" in other places. The difference is subtle, and most English speakers never realize there is a difference. If the vowel is different in your dialect, then that is a particular regionalism. It doesn't occur in any of the dialects I've heard (Southern US, California, New England, or in British or Australian dialects). --EncycloPetey 21:10, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
The issue was more the vowel sound. The way I've always heard heard and pronounced it, it does not rhyme with ilk, but does rhyme, or at least come closer to rhyming, with elk. I'm pretty sure this is the common pronunciation, at least in Mid-Western American English. And I remember noting on a number of occasions over the years that this word was rather unique, in that it was the only English word (at least that I know of) where the letter "I" didn't have either a "short-I," "long-E" (i), or "long-I" (ai) sound. Maybe some Mid-Westerners can comment?... 21:26, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
This transition i -> e before two consonants occurs sometimes in Danish, exempli gratia spille(to hop around, to play), pronounced sb'''e'''l∂, but I never thought that it may occur in dialects of English. Intriguing. Is this pronunciation forsooth common? In British English? Bogorm 21:30, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
For me, "melk" (rhyming with elk) is pretty much the only pronunciation that I've conciously heard. Though I'm thinking now that maybe my brain just automatically corrected when I heard it pronounced the other way (where it would rhyme with "silk"). I found a thread on a forum where they discussed this and did an un-scientific poll.[1] The "silk" side was winning by a large margin, but quite a few people also posted that they said it such that it rhymed with "elk." It seems this pronunciation is most common in the Mid-Western US, but prevalent in other regions as well. Some theorized that this may be because of immigrants who spoke Scandanavian languages, or possibly from Scottish English as well... 22:21, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
The explication involving Scandinavian immigrants is cogent, I also just collated the similarities without espying any forums... Bogorm 22:33, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
For what it's worth, this Minnesotan of Scandinavian descent has never heard the word pronounced /melk/. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 02:47, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I think "melk" should be added as an alternate pronunciation, at least in American English. I've done some more searching and this pronunciation is indeed quite common. For example, this page [2] has three recorded pronunciations, one Australian and two American. Two of the three are pronounced so that they rhyme with "silk," while on of the three is pronounced such that it rhymes with "elk." 00:08, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

The page you've cited has three audio files, but only one IPA pronunciation if phonemic transcription is used. All three match our current mainstream pronunciation. The Canadian one seems to use [ɨ], not [ɛ]. --EncycloPetey 00:12, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Whose pronunciation reigns supreme? :) I'm American-Australian and the rhyming with "silk" one sounds most 'correct' (or 'normal') to me. (New Zealanders, though, pronounce it "mulk", so it really depends on your region. Is mid-west American the standard for Wikipedia?)--Tyranny Sue 01:25, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
I've no idea what standard the people over on Wikipedia have. Here on Wiktionary, we include multiple pronunciations, identified by region when there are regional pronunciations. See nose for an example where we have separate UK and US pronunciations. --EncycloPetey 01:35, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Personally, as a lad I always said melk, but after moving to a different area populated by a different group of people for university, I began to pronounce it as milk. I grew up in suburban southern Ontario, Cambridge to be precise. My family still says melk. I have no explanation for this, the only thing odd about my area I can think of is that there were a lot of German and low German speakers who settled there. 21:33, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
I remember in 1st grade when i learned the spelling, i was expecting <melk>. Also, there are many folks with Dutch last names hereabouts, so my theory was that this pronunciation was based on Dutch melk. I live in northwestern Oregon. --Leif Runenritzer 21:38, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

To add my two cents, I definitely think an "alternate pronunciation" should be added "depending on dialect" or something like that. I have always said melk (rhymes with elk), but some of my friends have recently been on my case saying it rhymes with ilk. I have lived in Louisiana, Texas and Singapore, and only now, living in New York State have people mentioned it to me. 22:29, 17 November 2011 (UTC)

The pronunciation 'melk' certainly is common in some places. --Pinnerup (talk) 08:36, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Good find! Now we know which (or, a) dialect this pronunciation is found in, I've added it with an appropriate accent label and with that news article as a reference. - -sche (discuss) 19:29, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
What the CBC source says is that the /ɪ/ phoneme tends to sound like [ɛ] in Canada; this does not mean that milk is pronounced /mɛlk/ in Canada, but rather that the pronunciation that is phonemically /mɪlk/ sounds more like [mɛlk] from a phonetic standpoint (hence the square brackets instead of the slashes); and my recent edit reflects this.
That being said, however, I think there's more to it than the source in question may suggest. What I think is that milk is really pronounced /mɛlk/ in Canada at least by some speakers, regardless of the extent to which they have the vowel shift, if they have it at all. Indeed, for speakers with the shift, milk will sound more like [mælk]! That is, some Canadians will really rhyme milk with elk and not with silk, irrespective of the actual phonetic qualities of their vowels. The fact that this phenomenon is unrelated to the Canadian vowel shift is borne out by the impressionistic evidence we have, according to which the short-e pronunciation may be relatively common in the Midwest, which is if anything affected by a different vowel shift (the Northern Cities Shift), which goes in the opposite direction. "Impressionistic evidence" doesn't equate to "reliable sources," but I do think I can find some reliable sources that may shed some more light on this issue. Stick Daze (talk) 23:21, 18 August 2015 (UTC)