Hypercorrection of /w/-/hw/

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat May 22 21:48:22 UTC 2004

>Nothing informal about it. I am a native speaker of wh-, and I cannot
>utter exclamatory 'why' with wh-. Now you have elicited data (albeit
>reported) from an native respondent.

Me too. That's two natives.

>Why is this? (By the way, plenty of wh-ers agree with me; well, maybe
>not plenty, we are fading fast.) Could it be the date? Apparently
>not; the first OED exclamatory use is cited from the early 16th C.,
>well before the loss, even in the south of England.

In my own speech (and experience, I think) "whoa" (for the horse, etc.)
also has "w-" pronunciation rather than "wh-".

-- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list