Literal – littoral

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Literal and littoral form one of the sets of homophones listed by the then Poet Laureate Robert Bridges.
(For more, see Bridges homophones). AWE has a category listing our articles on each of these..

They are contained in Bridges' list VI: 'words excluded from List I for various reasons, "their homophony being rightly questioned by many speakers".' AWE cannot determine the questioning that might have arisen around 1920, fashions in pronunciation having changed over the last hundred years.

Both are usually pronounced 'Lit-er-el', IPA: /ˈlɪt ər əl/, but LPD records an American pronunciation that stresses the final syllable: 'lit-er-AL' (or -AHL), IPA: /ˌlɪt ər ˈæ (or ɑː)l/. This may be the pronunciation used by the 'many speakers' cited by Bridges. British speakers may, to avoid ambiguity, clarify by emphasizing the central syllable: 'lit-ORE-el', IPA: /ˌlɪt ˈɔːr əl/