herb; /hw/

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 30 11:38:10 UTC 2001

At 5:57 PM -0500 1/30/01, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>I want to make clear that the /h/ pronunciation for 'herb' that I hear in
>southern Ohio is not an issue of educated vs. uneducated people, or even of
>pseudo-sophisticated (the Martha Stewart type) vs. not hip.    This is
>basically a regional feature, and while it may be disappearing, it can
>still be mapped, I think.  I'm also not surprised that older people in the
>Adirondacks still have /hw/, as do some yet in these Appalachian
>foothills.  Clinton's 50-something generation (in the Ozark extension of
>the mountains) has lost it but inconsistently (a student just reminded me
>that Dan Rather, 65-ish, has /hw/ pretty consistently, so much so that he
>once generalized it to speak of Diana, Princess of /hwelz/).  Hillary, as a
>Chicagoan, never had it; nor do New Englanders or those in the vast general
This is a bit over-generalized.  My wife, a 50-something New
Englander, has hw- consistently.  I, a 50-something New Yorker, do
not (except in self-conscious correction contexts:  "Was that
[WE-dh at r] or [HWE-dh at r]?")


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