/hw/, herb

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Mon Jan 29 19:58:00 UTC 2001

>If you confuse the UK with England, /hw/ is deader (at least for
>many parts) than in the US, but if you take a somewhat larger (and
>politically correct) view, it's not even slightly ill (or should I
>say sick).



>Lynne Murphy <lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK> writes:
>My next question:  does anyone/any region in the US use the Brit
>pronunciation of 'herb' (with the /h/), and which pronunciation is
>prevalent in Canada?
>Not that I can recall, except just possibly for some individual speakers
>who I can't make a pattern out of. /h at rb/ is a man's name here, period.
>Pronouncing the "h" in "herb" is a setup for a gag.
>And as long as I'm throwing out BrE/AmE pronunciation issues, I'll note
>that my students were discussing my fellow American colleague's
>pronunciation before class the other day, and asked me why he pronounces
>words like 'where' with a /hw/.  This might signal that the downfall of
>/hw/ is progressing faster in the UK than the US?  Fowler's notes that the
>Concise Oxford of 1995 left out all the /hw/ pronunciations, while AHD4 and
>M-W10 still put /hw/ pronunciations first--even for words like 'whammy'
>which I've never heard as /hwami/.
>At one point in my work I proposed /hw/ for the UK prons of words with
>written "wh", only to be corrected by my UK-native co-workers with exactly
>that assertion: that /hw/ is dead, dead, dead in the UK even if it's still
>hanging on by its fingernails this side the Water.
>    Mark A. Mandel : Dragon Systems, a Lernout & Hauspie company
>           Mark_Mandel at dragonsys.com : Senior Linguist
>  320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02460, USA : http://www.dragonsys.com

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at pilot.msu.edu
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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