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

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 10 21:43:05 UTC 2006

I agree with Charlie WRT having heard blou[z] often enough not to consider
it weird or strange.

I don't remember how I came to "know" this, but, ever since I was a little
kid in the '40's, I've regarded "dwarves" as the proper pronunciation and
"dwarfs," which I pronounced "drawfs" as a child (I have a mother who
remembers every dumb-assed thing that I ever said or did as a child and
enjoys the hell out of re-telling, nay, acting them out) as anomalous. For
many years, I've been afraid that "dwarves" would go the way of "EXquisite,"
spoken only by a few voices crying in the desert: "But, if you say
'exQUIzit,' why don't you also say 'perQUIzit' and 'reQUIzit'?! What is
WRONG with you people?!"


On 5/10/06, Charles Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      Fricative voicing in *blouse* (with a note on "dwarves")
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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.
> --Charlie
> __________________________________
> >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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