Re: [tied] Unvoiced [j]?

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 15090
Date: 2002-09-04

I've just recalled something in connection with <wh>. As Richard pointed out recently, the standard pronunciation /w^n/ for <one> is historically irregular, the mainstream development of OE a: > ME O: being retained in the derivatives "only", "alone" and "atone". /w^n/ was borrowed into London English during the seventeenth century from one of the regional accents that developed a strongly pre-rounded reflex of ME O: (something like /wa/, /wo/ or /wu/ > /w^/, depending on the location). Some rural accents still have "wuts" and "wuk" for "oats" and "oak". The same vowel was used after /h/, so that "whole" (OE ha:l) was _really_ pronounced with /hw/. Also "hot" (OE ha:t -- the shortening in Standard English is irregular) became "hwut", and "home" had a regional pronunciation like "hwum". That may have helped inherited /hw/ to survive and spread, since the sequence was not exotic to anyone familiar with the accents in question.
----- Original Message -----
From: Anne Lambert
Sent: Wednesday, September 04, 2002 7:57 PM
Subject: Re: [tied] Unvoiced [j]?

In American English, /hw/ is gradually disappearing.  I pronounce it, but my
husband does not.  it seems to have disappeared from the East Coast; the
disappearance may be moving west.  I am from Chicago and my husband is from
New Jersey.  A friend from New  York had never heard of /wh/ales!