Date: Sun, 23 Nov 1997 12:31:42 -0500 From: "Dennis R. Preston" Subject: Re: Why = hwy or wy? (A Tale of Two Regions) First, /hw/ is dying in Michigan (thought you'd like to moarn). Second, you ain't got no linguistic marraige problems at all! I am a standard American English speaker from Louislville marreid to a starnge-talking Wisconsinite. Of course, I am a post-vocalic /l/ vocalizer (or even deleter in some cases). I pretty completely delete it in 'wolf,' and, although it is not a high-frequency word around our house, whenever I say it, my wife looks at me and starts to bark. DInIs >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] Dennis R. Preston Department of Linguistics and Languages Michigan State University East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] Office: (517)353-0740 Fax: (517)432-2736