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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 4) 
I'm African-American; I have ALWAYS pronounced it "SORD" since I could talk, because a) that's what I was taught from my family b) that was how I learned it in school. To be honest, to hear it pronounced with the "w" is like, to use a hackneyed phrase, hearing nails on a chalkboard. I grew up around plenty of kids of a few backgrounds who pronounced it with the "w" intact, and I was the jerky kid who would correct them more often than not.
Coincidentally, what brought me here was the RZA song; it's in the Afro-Samurai film (and "samurai" is another word that drives me crazy when hearing him pronounce it in the so-called Black Vernacular "form" used by the majority of AAs in the NYC/NJ area), but it's both he and Ghostface Killah, I think, that pronounce it "swohrd" in at least two songs in this film. Perhaps the whole Clan pronounce it that way...I don't know. It annoys the hell out of me, though. ::shrugs:: What can you do.
In the song 'Kill My Landlord' by The Coup E-Roc pronounces it with the 'w'

It is also pronounced that way by WC in WC & the MAAD Circle's 'Caught n a Fad'

Maybe it was common among African-Americans in LA in the early 1990s?
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I am an African American and I can tell you that most African Americans pronounce the word sword the same way that most Americans do.I also know that the w in sword was pronounced in Old English however it was eventually dropped though the spelling was kept the same I think that some people especially RZA pronounced the w because of the w in Wu-Tang Clan and the Wu-Tang Logo is shaped like a w thou I may be wrong about that.
Wow... what an interesting discussion. I stumbled upon two ways of pronouncing sword in BBC Comedy Proms, when Tim Minchin first sang "sWord" than made a funny face and sang "soohrds". It got me thinking if it's possible that Australians pronounce that word with w and that it was just another way too make fun of UK/Australian differences.

I recently read that the letter W was originally, in English, a literal double U, that is: UU. Over time the 2 U's were connected, creating the letter W. So with that in mind, the word 'sword' would have originally been 'suuord', making the modern pronunciation accurate even though the modern spelling no longer matches. But the next question is: when did 'uuhen' become 'When'?

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adam yauch of the Beastie Boys pronounces sword with the w in "long burn the fire" and even repeats that 3 times

I know this an old thread, but I recently heard an intelligent, educated person who also happens to be African-American, pronounce the w, and I was also wondering if it was a regional or cultural thing. Has anyone thought that maybe when people pronounce the w that it's because they've only read the word and never heard anyone say it out loud? How often do we hear the word said these days?