A UBD colleague, someone who like me comes from the south of England, asked me about Macau, and I replied that it is basically one big casino with a few outlets to support the gambling, such as pawn shops.
We talked a bit more and then he said, "Oh, I see, that sort of pawn." He had heard it as porn! Even though pawn makes much more sense in the context.
Of course, if I spoke with a rhotic accent (like an American), that kind of confusion would be unlikely to occur, as pawn and porn would be quite distinct.
It does strike me that my accent is not the clearest way of speaking. And I would recommend that anyone who has rhoticity in their pronunciation should keep it. Maybe I should learn to speak with a rhotic accent in order to enhance the intelligibility of my speech.
More on trends in the Google ngrams corpus
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