Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Sat Jul 24 00:56:13 UTC 2004

On Jul 23, 2004, at 12:15 PM, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: hoarse-horse
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> On Jul 22, 2004, at 4:10 PM, Peter A. McGraw wrote:
>> And now we're REALLY talking about the Decline of Western
>> Civilization...
>> --On Thursday, July 22, 2004 6:52 PM -0400 "Dennis R. Preston"
>> <preston at MSU.EDU> wrote:
>>> PPS: hw-w is another fading Louisville distinction.
> last night i heard a BBC news report about whaling ships, with
> "whaling" pronounced with a [w]; i kept hearing it as "wailing ships"
> (the Flying Dutchman, maybe).  i should know by now that the
> distinction is rapidly fading in the u.k., but i keep expecting to hear
> it in people who are otherwise RP speakers (as this newsreader was).
> here in the u.s., i'm pleased when a [hw] goes by, but i don't really
> expect it.
> arnold (zwicky at csli.stanford.edu)

When I was in the Army in 1961, a barracksmate from Cleveland casually
remarked, "Have you ever noticed that the "h" is not pronounced in
words that start with "wh"? We nearly came to blows. Clearly, his
observation was utter nonsense.

On another occasion, ca.1973, I happened to mention the title of the
CLS book, "Chicago Which Hunt." My hearer was startled, remarking that
she hadn't known that there were  people who still distinguished
between the "hw" pronunciation and the "w" pronunciation. For my part,
I was struck by the sudden realization that there were people for whom
the title was actually a pun, rather than a mere approximation of one.

-Wilson Gray

More information about the Ads-l mailing list