[hw-] v. [w]

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jul 30 15:49:26 UTC 2007

At 12:51 AM -0400 7/30/07, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>Quoting Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com>:
>>  Tonight, on a TV cartoon show, "Family Man," I think that it was, the
>>  characters kicked around the [hw-] v. lw] pronunciations, with one of
>>  the [hw-]-speaking characters jokingly noting that, e.g. [wip] in
>>  place of [hwip] sounded "wheird" [hwird].
>>  [wip] in place of [hwip] doesn't sound "wheird," but it does sound
>>  weird. Well not really, though I'm a [hw-] speaker.
>That's "Family Guy"... it must've been a repeat of an episode from last
>December. See Mark Liberman's post on Language Log:
Indeed.  (Too bad the uptalk links are no longer available; I was
hoping to use them in class.)  But the examples Mark posts from
"Family Guy"--"(Cool) *Wh*ip", "a *wh*ile", "*w*eird", "the
*wh*ip"--all seem to involve a variant I don't recall ever hearing in
the real world--more like [xwIp] than [hwIp], with a definite velar
frication.  I wonder if whoever is doing the voices in each case is a
non-[hw] speaker him- or herself and/or is just trying for emphasis,
but the result is, in a word, hweird.


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