Arnold Williams (notebuyer) wrote,
Arnold Williams

New English: The Missing Consonant

I've written before about the changes in the meaning of words from the time I grew up to the present. I'm about to turn 62, and those had the ring of "You Kids Get Off My Lawn!" to a couple of friends.

This one is just puzzlement.

When I was growing up, there was a consonant used to begin certain words by all classes of people: "WHat WHen WHere WHy WHether WHerefore WHet WHip WHey" -- got the pattern? at those WH places, there was a strong breath through narrowed lips, good enough to put out a candle or blow a paper. It showed up on WHy with added emphasis for many people when they didn't understand how they could possibly have deserved the disaster they were facing.

For my daughter, on the other hand, those words have no "H", and no breath. "Wut, Wen, Were, Wy, Wether, Werefore, Wut does Wet mean, Dad? Wip, Wut does Wey mean, Dad?"

If it began with WH in the dictionary, it had this sound. But doesn't now, and causes its own occasional confusion as a spelling problem.

Are there any other consonants disappearing that I should have noticed?
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