[Ads-l] The pronunciation of "dwarf"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Apr 5 03:19:59 UTC 2019

> On Apr 4, 2019, at 11:05 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 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.

As long as he could distinguish “tot” and “twat”...
> 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
> -- 
> -Wilson
> -----
> 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

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list