[Ads-l] The pronunciation of "dwarf"

Charles C Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Thu Apr 4 20:48:30 UTC 2019

In a recent conversation with a friend, within an interval of about 20 seconds he pronounced the word “dwarf” four times without the /w/. I asked him about the pronunciation, and he insisted that that’s the only way he’s ever heard it pronounced (obviously untrue, since he had just heard me ask, “Do you always pronounce “dWarf” without the /w/?”).  He is a retired linguistics professor in his late 60’s, white, who lived in Maryland and Delaware from birth through his early adulthood.
            None of the dozen dictionaries I consulted record a w-less pronunciation of “dwarf.” Of the several specialized pronunciation dictionaries that I looked at, only one does--the Oxford Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English (2001), which shows the “w” inside parenthesis marks, which means (according to the introduction) that the “w” belongs to an “optional pronunciation” in American English.
            Is the pronunciation without the /w/ at all common?  Is it regional?


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list