ho 'whore' (What Santa Claus might say in some dialects?)

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 9 03:15:05 UTC 2013

WB: African-American [hoe] 'whore' > Honkese <hole> (vulva as metonymy for
fuckworthy female).  This was my analysis in 1968 as my brain tried to
process AA input. Why <hole> & not <whore>? Because AA <ho> (IPA [hou ~
how] (non-rhotic syllable) has strong labio-velar rounding on the end, and
sounds more like <hole> with velarized-L on the end, than it does with
<whore> with [r] or [winged-schwa] coda, in my Honkese rhotic idiolect; cf.
HoDeDo, attesting AA [ou] in both <hold> & <door>. As we probably all
agree, homonymic clash of AA <ho> 'whore' with <hoe> (garden tool) is
another, albeit minor, factor in the multiple etymologies of AA <ho>.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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