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I know the correct pronunciation of sword. I also know that at least some blacks pronounce the w in it. (Mahalia Jackson certainly does in her marvellous rendition of the song Down By The Riverside.) As the word existed in Old English, it is highly likely that the w was commonly pronounced in those days. What I don't know is how common it actually is to pronounce the w today and whether this pronunciation is confined to African Americans only. Is the w pronounced in any American or British dialect spoken by white people as well? In New Zealand or Australia?

What about former US or British colonies in which English isn't spoken by all, such as India or the Philippines, for example? Thank you for your replies.

CB
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Wow...interesting thread you all have going... as a Southern African American (reared in Mississippi, no less), I must say that I pronounce sword as sord (without the w), the way that I was taught to pronounce it in school. I don't think the pronunciation of sword with the w is an exclusively African American "thing". All of the African Americans I know (and I do know a lot of them) pronounce it as "sord". I do not profess to know all African Americans, so I cannot say that all African Americans pronounce the word as "sword", just as you don't know all caucasians, so it would be incorrect to say that all caucasians pronounce the word as "sord".
Hey Cool Breeze, there are a couple of recordings by her out there, I don't believe she's pronouncing 'w' in this one at least

Eiwb67-TMd0

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Kooyeen, I'm African American and being black has NOTHING to do with pronouncing the word "sword" nor does it have anything to do with Ebonics. That is an ignorant, stereotypical statement...y'know wum sayin??? Furthermore, the mispronounciation of many words often has more to do with the region one is raised as opposed to race (although culture definitely has an influence). For example, when I moved to Tennessee I noticed that many people truncated words and their accents altered the way they pronounced words.

**Please stop attempting to type in "black dialect." It's disturbing...tink we ain't got any black brothers here in de forumz (what is that...you speaking like a Jamaican??). That's not even Ebonics!!
AnonymousKooyeen, I'm African American and being black has NOTHING to do with pronouncing the word "sword" nor does it have anything to do with Ebonics. That is an ignorant, stereotypical statement...
It was just a guess, since CB said he heard it from a black singer. I have no idea how my guess could be "ignorant" or "stereotypical".
AnonymousFurthermore, the mispronounciation of many words often has more to do with the region one is raised as opposed to race (although culture definitely has an influence). For example, when I moved to Tennessee I noticed that many people truncated words and their accents altered the way they pronounced words.
I don't think I said otherwise. In fact, I don't consider words pronounced in Black English or any other native dialect as "mispronounced" words.
AnonymousPlease stop attempting to type in "black dialect." It's disturbing...tink we ain't got any black brothers here in de forumz (what is that...you speaking like a Jamaican??). That's not even Ebonics!!
It was just a kind of joke, eye-dialect, whatever. You're actually right, maybe it should have been "we ain't got NO brothers here", but I am not trying to be an expert, just kidding. I doubt the tink/thing difference made sense, but I'm more sure about the/de.
My friend , Kevin Quintero , he is NOT African American. He is Costa Rican and he still pronounces the w in sword. He can say "sor" and "d" but when i tell him to put it all together it comes out with the W. Whether this is him f**king with us or simply a speech impedement or whatever I wouldn't know.
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NO, you can't just pronounce a word any way you like and call it your opinion, it's not judging, it's not the way you pronounce the word. There is a right and wrong way to pronounce words, it's called diction. Pronunciation isn't up for grabs. There is no such thing as "just a different pronunciation".

Proper english

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I know the common pronunciation omits the 'w' sound. Being born to Jamaican parents in England and spending bits of time in different US regions as well as Canada, I never really heard anyone pronounce the 'w'. I pronounce the 'w' for two reasons. 1)It reminds me of the correct spelling and 2)I just assumed that the 'w' wasn't pronounced out of ignorance or laziness. The pronunciation of the 'w' in poetry or song may have validity. I've learned not to blindly adapt suspect pronunciations. If we do a little research we'll probably find the second case has validity.
I live in Alachua County and my boyfriend said "sword" the other day, not "sord". That's why I came here. I thought it might be an aspect of a regional dialect. What do you think?
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I googled this topic because my wife is giving me a hard time for pronouncing the "w" in "sword." I don't know why I pronounce it this way. I don't think anyone else in my family pronounces the "w." I suppose I simply read it in my head this way as a child and no one ever bothered to correct me until now. I am a white guy from Seattle so I can't really add much to the racial aspect of the thread. Interesting discussion. Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts.
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