h in what and where

Natalie Maynor maynor at CS.MSSTATE.EDU
Fri Mar 8 21:01:43 UTC 2002

At 12:45 PM 3/8/02 +0100, Paul Frank wrote:
>I'm curious: Who pronounces the h in what and where? Does it depend on age,
>region, race, or class?

Age and region appear to be factors.  I don't know about race or class.
Although I haven't done any real research on it, informal discussions with
my students lead me to believe that this distinction which (can you hear my
[hw] there?) is normal for Southerners of my age (58) is almost extinct
among young Southerners.  Through the years I've noticed that more and more
of my students pronounce "whales" like "Wales" and "which" like "witch."
The last time I talked about the wh/w distinction in class, most of the
students didn't seem to have any idea what I was talking about.
 -- Natalie Maynor (maynor at ra.msstate.edu)

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