[Ads-l] The pronunciation of "dwarf"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 5 03:05:17 UTC 2019

As a child,, I used the pronunciation, [Snow White and the Seven] "Drawfs."
But I switched to "dWarf" as soon as I learned to read and to articulate
/dw/. Read somewhere or other, back in the '40's, that Eisenhower got his
nickname from his inability to say "Dwight," when he was learning to talk.

On Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 4:48 PM Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at uga.edu> wrote:

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

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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