ERobert52 at aol.com ERobert52 at aol.com
Tue Feb 2 15:21:30 UTC 1999

[ moderator re-formatted ]

petegray at btinternet.com writes:

> Larry writes of initial /hw/ as if it were indeed /hw/.  I have seen this
> description of it in the text books, and been puzzled by it.  In my dialect
> (NZ) it is a voiceless /w/.  There is no /h/ at all.

> I'm just checking back, I guess.   Do some speakers actually say /h/+ /w/?
> I always thought the textbooks were wrong.

Yes. I say /h/ + /w/. (I am Scottish). There is also a flavour of bilabial f
because of anticipatory lip rounding. The degree of the anticipatory lip
rounding varies according to the register I am speaking in. In Scotland /hw/
is still almost universal, but I am starting to hear it replaced by /w/ in
some young people.

BTW, Larry Trask is exaggerating to say /hw/ is dead in England. I visit
England frequently and still occasionally hear it from native English people.
My wife, who is English, reports that her mother told her as a child that not
saying /hw/ was sloppy.  My wife has retained /hw/, but her mother has now
moved to /w/.

Ed. Robertson

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