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YAEPT: Voiceless TH in whether, worthy)

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Sunday, November 12, 2006, 1:21
Re [T] vs. [D] in "worthy"
Arthaey wrote:
> Both my parents were born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of > California. All of *their* parents were also Californians, so no > immigrant accent influence so far as I know.
Great- or great-great-grandparents? Unless you're of Hispanic descent, it's almost certain your people came from some other part of the US. At least, my impression is that there were very few non-Hispanos in CA prior to the 1830s or so. I'm coming to the conclusion that your parent's pronunciation must be idiosyncratic, since almost no other native speakers here concur. Yet it's possible to see how it might have originated-- Perhaps some older dialects still viewed worthy as a clear derivation < worth, just like earth::earthy (can't think of any other exs-- except possibly (archaic?) swarth vs. modern swarthy, but IMD swarthy has [D]; or recently coined truthy/truthiness :-) ) Some linguistic habits/peculiarities die hard-- my grandmother (1880s-1973) was mixed English/German by way of Canada and Iowa. She had a peculiar pronunciation of just one word: the exclamation "why!", as in "Why, I never heard such a thing!"-- she used a labio-dental [v\] (is that right?); every other /w/ and /W/ was correctly formed. My sister and I both picked up on this when we were little :-)))) (Come to think of it, maybe she was saying "Fie!... and had somehow blended the two words.)