Date: Sat, 22 Nov 1997 23:15:26 -0600
From: "Donald M. Lance" engdl[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU
Subject: Re: pragmatic change in progress?
I'm a /hw/-/w/ distinguisher; that is, 'whale' and 'wail' are not
homophones for me.
BUT - interrogative why ('Why did you do that?') is always /hw/ in my
speech, and the discourse marker 'why' ('Why, it's on the the other side of
the room') is invariably /w/.
Any other standard speakers out there like me who have this distinction
(not /hw/ - /w/ in general; lots of us old codgers from some places have
that, but this specific sepaation of the two 'whys')?
Well, of course it's the way you describe it. Anything else would be
artificial. I can remember wondering as a kid who both hwy and wy are
spelled alike. There seemed to be no pragmatic relation between them
As I've read postings on this topic I've been trying to remember where,
recently, I saw some piece of fiction that used the spellings 'why' and
'wye' for these two forms.