h in what and where

Mon Mar 18 23:25:29 UTC 2002

[hw] sounds very old-fashioned and/or hillbilly-like to me.  When my son was in first grade, he came home from school, laughing at his teacher's pronunciation of 'which'  (in Minnesota). For some reason, she was on a crusade to get all the kids to start saying [hw].  Naturally, she failed, but I think she exagerated the sound to the point where it really sounded funny to my son.
My general impression here in Oregon is that most young people do not say [hw].  I think it tends to be older folks and rural people who say it.  When I ask my classes who makes a distinction between which and witch, very few say they do.

>>> Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU> 03/18/02 02:22PM >>>
I heard Sandra Day O'Connor on NPR last week clearly pronounce /hw/
twice.  About 68? born in Arizona, I believe, grew up in West Texas (with
grandparents).  Dan Rather (east Texas), same age roughly, also has it.  My
understanding is that it is rapidly receding, with only the Deep South (and
maybe parts of Appalachia) retaining it regularly.  I don't think it's
class-based; not sure about race.  Britain, too, has apparently lost the
/hw/, even more than the U.S.

At 11:37 AM 3/18/02 -0800, you wrote:
>I do.  Age 56.  Salt Lake City area most of my life
>(so far).  For research purposes only, I'm white,
>               --- Paul Frank <paulfrank at WANADOO.FR>
> > I'm curious: Who pronounces the h in what and where?
> > Does it depend on age,
> > region, race, or class?
> >
> > Paul
> > _________________________
> > Paul Frank
> > English translation
> > from Chinese and German
> > e-mail paulfrank at wanadoo.fr
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Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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