Date: Sat, 22 Nov 1997 22:24:52 -0500 From: Gregory {Greg} Downing Subject: Why = hwy or wy? (A Tale of Two Regions) At 09:36 PM 11/22/97 -0500, you ("Bethany K. Dumas" ) wrote: >I've been aware for some time that my /hw-/ ~ /w-/ usage is variable; I >think it fits the pattern that DInIs describes (and Garland Bills also >claims) -- > Well, as long as we're onto this, these things can cause great troubles in a marriage when they come up at the wrong moment, you know! I was raised in Michigan and say "hwy" (initial aspiration) for "why," and my wife, who was raised till age 10 in New York City, and thereafter by a relative in Michigan who had also been raised in New York City, says "wy" and only "wy." For fifteen years she has bugged me from time to time about the fact that I say "hwy" not "wy" (most of us probably know how it is with relationships and getting one's way etc...). It's because she notices it the most when I am asking her a question she does not want to answer. Do I need to draw a picture here? So when the discussion on a given topic reaches the point where (hwair) I am trying to get her to give a good reason for whatever (hwutevr) she is advocating at a given juncture, so's I can take it apart systematically and (of course) get my way on the issue at hand, I'll say, "Yes, but hwy?" She'll almost invariably try to derail the interrogation by responding, "Hwy? Hwy? Hwy? Hwy? Hwy? Wy do you put that stupid extra sound at the front and overenunciate? Wut's yer problem? Wy do you always do that?" Part of my problem on this topic results from the fact that when she and I got married and first came to NYC I ran across folks who had, or were trying to affect, boarding-school accents (with or without the actual educational experience to ground them, natch), of the semi-RP/BBC east-coast variety. As a basically perverse type I went through a period of making a point of speaking midwesternly, with the idea that if anyone was going to think I knew what I was talking about I wanted it to be for content not accent.... Thus ends my brief lesson on the convolutions of regionalism, status-markers, pragmatics, etc. etc.... Glad I got that off my chest. I feel much better now! Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]