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In a recent(-ish) episode of the Big Bang Theory, the men recruit the women to help out in the lab, and they had to do a lot of soldering.

Throughout the episode the cast pronounced "solder" as "sodder" which I thought was interesting. Is this the pronunciation used in the whole of the US (and Canada)? What happened to the "l"?

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    The L is right there where you see it, but I have never heard it pronounced. See google.com/…
    – Davo
    Feb 9 '17 at 12:10
  • More or less "sodder". I pronounce it with vaguest hint of the "L" sound, but likely not enough for even me to distinguish between applying "solder" to a connection vs having a "sodder" lay sod in a yard.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 9 '17 at 13:02
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    I have worked with solder for over 40 years, and never heard it pronounced any other way until I came to Latin-America, where it is pronounced soldadura--with an "L" sound. I think those who work with it are just following the pronuciation they heard when they were learning, and the teachers from their teachers and so on, going back to Adam in the garden of Edison. Working with solder is almost an art, and is usually taught one-on-one.
    – Cascabel
    Feb 9 '17 at 17:04
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    I think what people actually do, and what's correct are somewhat distinct issues, but unless reason to doubt the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary 3rd Edition can be provided, this question can be definitively answered by a single and commonly available internet link, which is grounds for closure according to Are Some Questions Too Simple and help center guidelines, so I am flagging this as "research required".
    – Tonepoet
    Feb 9 '17 at 19:15
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    @Clare Someone stepped on it and bent it into an r.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 9 '17 at 20:55
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There are pronunciation dictionaries on line. I have found them, in a case such as this, to be of only general help, not specific assistance.
This may help:

British: "sold-er", or "sold-der" with a distinct, if not long, "o", much as if the word "sold" had an "er" attached. The "r" of course, would generally be indistinct. There may be variations in Britain I am ignorant of.

North American: "sod-der", as if "sod" with a "der" attached. This seems the most common pronunciation.

Liquids like "l" and "r" have taken a beating in English over time. Most Americans will have to remember to place the "l" in "salmon" and the same for most Brits. It just isn't pronounced.

but

In the Eastern US I have heard such as "sew-duh" , "saul-der" (with a distinct "r") and "sawd-der".

If one did not want to attract attention in North America, "sod-der" with a distinct "r" would be the way to say it.

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