General Question

TheOnlyException's avatar

Why do some people say "whipped" like "hwipped"?

Asked by TheOnlyException (2172 points ) April 2nd, 2010

And some people don’t?
Like words with ‘wh’ at the beginning, some people kind of breathe a ‘h’ before the w.
Like whip would be
“hwip”
and whetstone would be
“hwetstone”

etc. It seems to me just a solid ‘w’ would be easier to say, so where has thiks little speech quirk come from? I find it quite interesting actually but where has it originated? Do you do it?

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33 Answers

partyparty's avatar

I suppose each and every person has their own interpretation of pronunciation.

Kylie's avatar

I could be hopelessly off track here; however I do believe old English used the emphasis on the Hwhip sound.

Pandora's avatar

Maybe they’ve been drinking.

Cruiser's avatar

Hwhat are you talking about??? Never heard this before but I do like hwipped cream!

Fyrius's avatar

@partyparty
To a minor extent, yes. But pronunciation is copied from other language users just like the rest of language. So it’s not so much individuals being unique as it is sub-cultures within the language community having slightly different speech habits.

It kind of reminds me of some people in my own native language who pronounce our word for “seven” differently from everyone else. Saying more or less “soyven” instead of “sayven”. Very crude transcription.

XOIIO's avatar

Like probounching the “h” in Cool Whip?

j0ey's avatar

All I know is that I hate it when people do that…..

It just annoys me that they would put the extra effort into it….

But I guess it pisses me off because thats how my Mother pronounces words with the “hw” thing….and she talks like a bogan for all other words.

jaytkay's avatar

That sound is not covered, but if you clicked on this question, you might find this short quiz interesting:
http://www.gotoquiz.com/what_american_accent_do_you_have

cbloom8's avatar

Maybe they’re alluding to the sound of a whip when they say it that way.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@XOIIO AHAH i was waiting for someone to post that :)

dpworkin's avatar

An aspirated “w” is just another normative allophone of the “w” phoneme. Some use it, some don’t.

sakura's avatar

@XOIIO that’s funny, almost as funny as watching american police car chasing shows and the officer says veehicchale, in that fabulous southern accent! Which, I’m sorry if it offends people, makes me laugh out loud every time!!
I am northerener, here in the UK, when I went over to NZ they really found my accent funny and the children in teh school I worked in found the way I said bucket and cupboard hilarious!! We laughed for some time.. sad I know but if you don’t laugh at yourself then life is no fun!

evandad's avatar

Because they’re hweird.

finkelitis's avatar

That pronunciation is called an “aspirated” h. Certain dialects pronounce the letter like that. I remember a linguistics friend of mine in college getting really excited when she heard someone doing it.

mollypop51797's avatar

Why do people say Florida like “Flawrida”? Why do people say Orange like “Are-ange”? Why do people say drawer like “Draw”? Why do some people say human like “Youman”?

Fyrius's avatar

@finkelitis
I think you mean “aspirated w”, as @dpworkin mentioned. The h is aspirated by definition.

beancrisp's avatar

I just checked a dictionary and the majority of the words that start with WH have HW as the main pronunciation with W being the alternate pronunciation.

morphail's avatar

This is the earliest pronunciation of “wh”. It used to be spelled “hw” – eg Old English hwæt (what), hwettan (whet).

dpworkin's avatar

See above. Both the aspirated and unaspirated forms are common , neither is standard.

XOIIO's avatar

@sakura LOL true!

@TheOnlyException That’s the first thing I thought when I read your question.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

It’s the same people who say I-talian instead of ITalian.

birdland33's avatar

…or pronounce HEIGHT as HYTHE

jellyfish3232's avatar

Maybe it’s irish. My history teacher says it like that and I know he’s irish…

kostaweb's avatar

Irish. That’s all I know.

_zen_'s avatar

It’s a linguistic pronunication Nukular reaction in phonemes when there is a one syllable word before the word beginning with Wh. Thus, one would say whip normally – but Cool Whip becomes Cool Hwip. No-one knows why. Or hwy not.

morphail's avatar

@zen No, I already explained why. It’s nothing to do with the preceding word.

_zen_'s avatar

Hwat’re you on about, @morphail?

morphail's avatar

@zen The pronunciation of the letters “wh” used to be /hw/ for all speakers. This was the only possible English pronunciation of “wh”. Then at some point, c1600 I think but I’m not sure, in some dialects /hw/ merged with /w/, so that words spelled “wh” were pronounced /w/. This is known as the wine-whine merger. Scotland, Ireland and some area of the US and Canada do not have the merger, so they still pronounce “w” and “wh” differently.

_zen_'s avatar

@morphail Now, that was interesting. I would include a reference if I were you – especially when you say “I think” but that’s a GA.

morphail's avatar

http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19991015

It actually started much later: the mid-twentieth century.

DreamTrees's avatar

The “wh” combination sounds like “hw” to the untrained ear; long ago, in better circles, and particularly in New England and in upper crust circles, the proper pronunciation is to emphasize the “h”, which sounds like the “h” is before the “w”, but if pronounced correctly, you will hear both letters and know the first two are “wh” of whatever word you are using in the sentence.

Almost no one says it that way any longer and it is more prominent in older individuals; however, we are lazy in our speech, and most Americans just pronounce the “w”, which we ignorantly accept.

Having said that, I am sure the Universty of Oxford in England could give you a far more articulate explanation; but what I have emphasized here is the meat in the nutshell…whether or not you agree, and use the whetted knife to whisper your objection, and whip the ones who do not side with your position.

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