Cross-post on "whore"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 20 06:02:52 UTC 2000

This was posted on Linguist List today; responses should be sent to
Mr. Mooney (as well as optionally to us).  I know the phonology
alluded to is at least frequent in the Boston area but I have no idea
what the parameters are, and we're a long way from "W" in DARE.  I'd
wager that the stressed vowel shift is in fact independent of the
non-rhoticity of the coda, whence the not unfamiliar [hu:r]
pronunciation in areas far from Boston, so in effect there are two
variables in play here.  If I'm not mistaken, there's even a Scots
pronunciation of this "hoor" type.  For some reason there's no [u:]
pronunciation given in the AHD4 entry for "whore"--in either rhotic
or non-rhotic version--but I think this must be an oversight.


Date:  Mon, 18 Dec 2000 15:53:54 -0800
From:  HMooney at
Subject:  variant pronunciation of "whore"

I have sometimes heard the word "whore" pronounced something like /hua/, with
the vowel shifted to a true u-sound as in "who" and with the r shifted to a
schwa. I'm pretty sure this is an East Coast dialect pronunciation, possibly
working class or lower middle class, but I'm not sure... Does anyone out there
know the exact location/class of this variant?

Hank Mooney
hmooney at

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