Date: Tue, 7 May 1996 16:26:25 -0600


Subject: Re: Do REAL Texicans Say wh=[hw] & news=[njuz]?

ADS member and cinema dialect coach Allyn Partin asks for information on the

following in current Texas adult speech. ("Adult" meaning "grown up," not

something else.) She wants to help certain actors sound Texan.


I am originally from Oklahoma, but I lived and taught in the eastern part

of Texas for about 5 years, although I also spent a considerable amout of

time in and around Brownwood, Texas--"West"-Central Texas, after my parents

moved there.

1. Is there a distinction between wh- and w- ?

During the years I lived in eastern-southern Oklahoma, there was a CLEAR

distinction made. In those years I taught in East Texas, some 45

years ago!, the same CLEAR distinction between [hw] & [w] was also made.

Along Texas' southern coastal plain, I sensed that this difference was NOT

always observed, although this is nothing more than my impression. I

suspect that usage varies widely within the state, depending to some

extent on the language traditions and characteristics of both original

settlers and of those who subsequently settled throughout the different

areas of the state, even creating linguistics pockets. The "Piney Woods"

of East Texas are far different from the "twang" of Abilene or from the

somewhat softer, easier vowels of a place like Temple, Texas.

2. Is there a [j] after the initial [n] in *news* etc?

I found the transitory "i" = IPA [j] to be broadly distributed throughout

the North, the Central and the Eastern parts of Texas, as in [njuz] or

[njuz-pe-pr]. It is also found in suit=[sjut] & [sjut-kes].

There is in many Southern areas a perhaps slightly less clear but still

easily-distinguishable [j] in a word like shoes=[shjuz].



She is not e-connected, so I will note your answers and pass them on. Or, if

you care to phone her directly (some of you know her), it's 818/361-0898.

- Allan Metcalf, ADS executive secretary



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