Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 09:49:11 +0900
From: Daniel Long dlong[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]JOHO.OSAKA-SHOIN.AC.JP
Subject: Re: waft
Let the record be set straight. . .
The answer to my colleague Dr. Preston's question (conditional statement?) is "no".
Louisvillians are NOT southerners. They are yankees, as any true, God-fearin' Southerner could
tell you. (I woulda said "damn yankees" 'cept this is the innernet and we cain't say "damn" on
As for Dale Coye's question, "waft" most certainly does rhyme with "raft" in West Tennessee. It
may be pronounced in other ways in places where English is spoken with an accent, mind you, but
in West Tennessee (where English is spoken with absolutely no accent whatsoever), the word is
pronounced with a low-front vowel. Look it up in the Bible. I feel sure this is the way it is
pronounced there as well.
Dennis R. Preston wrote:
If us Louisvillians are southerners, then count at least one southern /ah/
(rather than low-front) pronouncer of 'waft.' ''Waft' wif a wow-fwont vowew
sounds wike siwwy wabbit tawk fow 'raft' to me.
Dennis in East Lansing (where the winds blow too hard and cold for this to
ever be a question)
I'm gathering evidence among cultivated speakers for the pronunciation of
several literary words, and am finding that waft is overwhelmingly pronounced
WAHFT, but in the South (speakers raised and still living there) it seems to
be the vowel of RAFT. Can anyone from the South speak to this?
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]pilot.msu.edu