Fricative voicing in *blouse* (with a note on "dwarves")

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Wed May 10 20:01:19 UTC 2006

All of my non-connubial acquaintances have /z/ as the last
consonant in "blouse"--that is, all whom I've heard using
the word (not a huge number!).

Regarding the plural of "dwarf":  Back in the 1960s and
1970s, Tolkien was often regarded as innovative (or
donnishly eccentric) for his spelling "dwarves" (though the
OED gives an attestation from 1818).  My Webster's New
Collegiate Dictionary of 1956 does not include that plural
form, although some later dictionaries do.  Among my present-
day folklore students--whether influenced by Tolkien or by
oral processes--"dwarves" is the ONLY plural spelling.

Curiously, although my students know almost nothing of the
tale of Snow White other than what they recall from the
Disney movie, they disdain Disney's spelling "dwarfs" (in
the books associated with the movie).  I can't remember how
the word is pronounced in the movie.


>Sender:    American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:    Alice Faber <faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU>
>Organization: Haskins Laboratories
>Subject:   Re: Fricative voicing in *houses*
>Charles Doyle wrote:

>> Not only does my wife, from the Chicago area, keep the /s/
of "house" unvoiced in the plural.  She also pronounces
the "s" of "blouse" as /s/, which sounds odd to my Southern
ear (actually, I have two of those).  I don't recall ever
hearing her use "blouse" as a verb.
>How else would you say "blouse"? [blawZ]??? I don't think
I've ever heard that.

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