When I was in college, I had a roommate named Hoffman but he pronounced it Huffman. From Wisconsin iirc.
I figured it was a family preference.
Finally 40 years later, I hear Michael Feldman, who is from Wisconsin and has a radio show, pronounce "scofflaw", I think he was saying, as "scufflaw".
Are there other words for which Wisconsinites pronounce an o like a u, or are these the only two?
Or is there a word scufflaw that he might have been saying?
Posters should say where they live, and for which area they are asking questions. I was born and then lived in Western Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis 7 years
Chicago 6 years
Brooklyn, NY 12 years
Baltimore 26 years
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When I was in college, I had a roommate named Hoffman but he pronounced it Huffman. From Wisconsin iirc. I ... "scufflaw". Are there other words for which Wisconsinites pronounce an o like a u, or are these the only two?

I don't know about all Wisconsinites. But I don't shorten the "o" into the "u" of "cup", in either of your examples. And I have lived in Feldman's hometown for the past 30 years. I haven't heard others use that pronunciation, either, so I must assume that, if you heard it correctly, he has some personal pronunciation characteristics. On the west side of town there is a suburb, Middleton, whose residents I heard using a characteristic dialect somewhat like Feldman's, but years after I first heard that sound (back in the early '60s, I heard some residents of a town 40 miles away use the same or a similar dialect but not that Huffman/scufflaw bit).
I wonder if there is some kind of insular pronunciation adopted by people affiliated with the University culture here? (Not joking! The main campus is on the west side of town, and I believe many of the faculty and staff live on that side of town.)
Or is there a word scufflaw that he might have been saying?

I don't think so. Having had discussions here recently (on AUE) about some vowel sounds, I think we (well, I) more or less came to the conclusion that people hear things that they expect to hear, or that they make comparisons with other sounds that other listeners might not make.
With the exception of a few years outside the area of southern Wisconsin, I have spent my life here.
When I was in college, I had a roommate named Hoffman but he pronounced it Huffman. From Wisconsin iirc. I ... "scufflaw". Are there other words for which Wisconsinites pronounce an o like a u, or are these the only two?

Are you sure you are not hearing the simple variant in the "o" sound that one might hear in the word "don, dog" (Names: Don, Dawn; cot, caught)"
Having had discussions here recently (on AUE) about some vowel sounds, I think we (well, I) have more or less come to the conclusion that people
hear things that they expect to hear, or that they make comparisons with other sounds that other listeners might not make.

I wonder if there is some kind of insular pronunciation adopted by people affiliated with the University culture here? (Not joking! The main campus is on the west side of town, and I believe many of the faculty and staff live on that side of town.)
I don't know about all Wisconsinites. But I don't shorten the "o" into the "u" of "cup", in either of your examples. And I have lived in Feldman's hometown for the past 30 years. I haven't heard others use that pronunciation, either, so I must assume that, if you heard it correctly, he has some personal pronunciation characteristics. On the west side of town there is a suburb, Middleton, whose residents I hear using a characteristic dialect somewhat like Feldman's, but years after I first heard that sound (back in the early '60s, I heard some residents of a town 40 miles away use the same or a similar dialect but not that Huffman/scufflaw bit).
Or is there a word scufflaw that he might have been saying?I don't think so.

Pat Durkin
durkinpa at msn.com
Wisconsin
(With the exception of a few years outside the area of southern Wisconsin, I have spent my life here)
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When I was in college, I had a roommate named Hoffman but he pronounced it Huffman. From Wisconsin iirc. I ... =A0 7 years Chicago =A0 =A0 =A0 =A0 =A06 years Brooklyn, NY 12 years Baltimore =A0 =A0 =A0 26 years

Before WWI, there was a large German-speaking population in the US. When WWI came around, they had to decide whether they were German or American. The vast majority decided they were American, and sought to downplay their Germanness.
Huffmans (many of whom spell it that way) are Hoffmans who decided they were American, not German. Eisenhauers became Eisenhowers, etc.
mm filted:
When I was in college, I had a roommate named Hoffman but he pronounced it Huffman. From Wisconsin iirc. I ... a u, or are these the only two? Or is there a word scufflaw that he might have been saying?

I don't know about Wisconsinites (Wisconsonians?), but some people say "dunkey" for "donkey"..r

"Oy! A cat made of lead cannot fly."
- Mark Brader declaims a basic scientific principle
When I was in college, I had a roommate named ... o like a u, or are these the only two?

Are you sure you are not hearing the simple variant in the "o" sound that one might hear in the word "don, dog" (Names: Don, Dawn; cot, caught)"

Yeah, I'm sure. It sounded like the u in "cup" as you suggested. Of course, of your three pairs, I only distinguish cot and caught. Emotion: smile

But I lived with Mr. Hoffman for a year and heard him say his name many times. I only heard Michael Feldman say "scufflaw" twice and it was through the radio, but all his other words come out clearly and the only lack of clarity here was that I had never heard of a scufflaw, but he used it in a sentence where the word meant was clear.
Having had discussions here recently (on AUE) about some vowel sounds, I think we (well, I) have more or less ... the west side of town, and I believe many of the faculty and staff live on that side of town.)

I knew Mr. Hoffman when he was in grad school and at first I thought I remembered that he went to college outside Wisconsin, but he may well have gone to to U of W. I've lost contact with him and googling gave too many different people with his name.
I don't know about all Wisconsinites. But I don't shorten the "o" into the "u" of "cup", in ... heard some residents of a town 40 miles away use the same or a similar dialect but not that Huffman/scufflaw bit).

This seems very complicated. Emotion: smile Maybe in another 40 years I'll get another clue.
Or is there a word scufflaw that he might have been saying?

I don't think so.

Posters should say where they live, and for which area they are asking questions. I was born and then lived in Western Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis 7 years
Chicago 6 years
Brooklyn, NY 12 years
Baltimore 26 years
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When I was in college, I had a roommate named ... a word scufflaw that he might have been saying?

Before WWI, there was a large German-speaking population in the US. When WWI came around, they had to decide whether they were German or American. The vast majority decided they were American, and sought to downplay their Germanness.

Did this accelerate during WWII?
Huffmans (many of whom spell it that way) are Hoffmans who decided they were American, not German. Eisenhauers became Eisenhowers, etc.

If you're right, and I think you are, you don't sound like a naive user after all.
I should have asked my roommate how he pronounced the names of people outside his family who spelled it Hoffman, but I didn't look at the long term in those days.

Posters should say where they live, and for which area they are asking questions. I was born and then lived in Western Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis 7 years
Chicago 6 years
Brooklyn, NY 12 years
Baltimore 26 years
(snip question about Wisconsin vowels, of which I know little)
Before WWI, there was a large German-speaking population in the US.

You got any figures on that?
When WWI came around, they had to decide whether they ... decided they were American, and sought to downplay their Germanness.

I have to point out that many of these had lost their "Germanness" long before that, like a century or so.
Did this accelerate during WWII?

It was over before then, if we're talking about language and cultural assimilation, and not merely surnames.
Huffmans (many of whom spell it that way) are Hoffmans who decided they were American, not German. Eisenhauers became Eisenhowers, etc.

Well, to take that specific example, the page on "EISENHAUER/EISENHOWER Family History" shows that the Eisenhower whose father was (born) an Eisenhauer was born in 1794, in Pennsylvania. So the change of spelling had nothing to with WWI and probably nothing to do with anti-German sentiment.
Got a better example?
Variant spellings are quite common among English and Scottish surnames, too, you know. There was some name we discussed here that had eight or nine variant spellings, and DNA tests were being run to prove they were related.
I'm sorry to be argumentative about this, but I've seen these claims about Germans in the US trotted out before, with very little backing.
Best Donna Richoux
I think you added confusion by using the word "cup" as your example of how it is pronounced. Most people pronounce cup as a short ah sound, but not everyone.
Here are three similar words: look, lock and luck. The last two have the long "aah" sound and short "ah" sound. The first one (look) is a short "u" sound. If it were pronounced like Luke that would be a long "uu" sound.

The word "cup" can be pronounced with either a short "u" or a short "ah" sound but not a long "uu" or long "aah" sound which would turn it into coop or cop.
Hoffman is often pronounced with either a short "ah" or long "aah", but would not likely to be pronounced with any "u" sound as if it were spelled Hoofman. Both of those common pronunciations are probably Americanization of the original pronunciation which is with a full O sound like it was spelled Hoefman or even tending towards an OW sound as if it were spelled Howfman
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