How do you pronounce "when"?

Josh Lalonde   Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:10 pm GMT
I'd forgotten about that. I think all Scottish English accents use [W] though, even though Scots might have other realisations. I remember reading once that Japanese borrowed words with 'wh' as [f], so 'white' is something like [faitu].
Travis   Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:18 pm GMT
>>I think all Scottish English accents use [W] though, even though Scots might have other realisations.<<

I did not categorically exclude Scottish English primarily because the line between it and Scots is not necessarily all too hard and fast more than anything else.
Guest   Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:07 pm GMT
In modern Japanese, "white" is rendered as [howaito].
Josh Lalonde   Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:29 pm GMT
Thank you for correcting me. Isn't [f] an allophone of /h/ in Japanese?
Travis   Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:49 pm GMT
>>Thank you for correcting me. Isn't [f] an allophone of /h/ in Japanese?<<

Despite the use of "f" in some romanizations, it is not actually [f] but rather [p\], and shows up in just the cluster /hM/ (realized as [p\M]).
Travis   Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:51 pm GMT
That should be "the syllable /hM/".
Uriel   Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:06 pm GMT
I've met the occasional American who distinguishes wh- and w-. Often enough that it doesn't even catch my notice as being anything terribly unusual.
Sho   Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:21 am GMT
Even though "white" in Japanese is usually /howaito/ when written as a katakana-English word, usually "whisky" is /wisMki/[wiski] or /MisMki/[uiski].
Less common word (in everyday usage in Japanese), like "what" and "when" depends on when s/he received English language education at school. From my observation, younger generation tends to use /w-/ rather than /how-/.

"Wheel", by the way, is pronounced /hoi:rM/.

The Standard Japanese /hM/ is usually realized /pM\/, but some people from various regions can have /fM/.
Jim   Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:00 pm GMT
... and "whip", /hoipu/.

The younger generation may tend to use /w/ over /how/ or some other contortion but the older generation is still in the school system srcibbling up those confounded transcriptions for the poor kids.
Anon   Sat Apr 28, 2007 3:52 pm GMT
I say "when" as (hwen) most times. "Witch" and "which" should not rhyme. (wich) and (hwich), not (wich) and (wich). If we deal with all the English words on how to pronounce them, then we can also write correctly without thin thinking in a spelling reform.
English Professor   Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:48 pm GMT
/ʰwɛn, wɛn; unstressed ʰwən, wən/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[hwen, wen; unstressed hwuhn, wuhn] -

–adverb 1. at what time or period? how long ago? how soon?: When are they to arrive? When did the Roman Empire exist?
2. under what circumstances? upon what occasion?: When is a letter of condolence in order? When did you ever see such a crowd?
–conjunction 3. at what time: to know when to be silent.
4. at the time or in the event that: when we were young; when the noise stops.
5. at any time; whenever: He is impatient when he is kept waiting.
6. upon or after which; and then: We had just fallen asleep when the bell rang.
7. while on the contrary; considering that; whereas: Why are you here when you should be in school?
–pronoun 8. what time: Till when is the store open?
9. which time: They left on Monday, since when we have heard nothing.
–noun 10. the time of anything: the when and the where of an act.


[Origin: bef. 1000; ME when(ne), OE hwenne; c. G wann when, wenn if, when (cf. Goth hwan when, how); akin to

Why don't you American Imbecile's ever look in a Dictionary?

Go to for all your pronunciations.
Anon   Sat Apr 28, 2007 7:23 pm GMT
Brothers, don't use pronunciation symbols, just guessssss how to pronounce. It's very simple! If you don't speak correctly, somebody can help you say it well.
Kendra   Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:38 am GMT
''I say "when" as (hwen) most times. "Witch" and "which" should not rhyme. (wich) and (hwich), not (wich) and (wich). If we deal with all the English words on how to pronounce them, then we can also write correctly without thin thinking in a spelling reform.''

Well said
English Professor   Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:21 am GMT
Well said? You can't compliment yourself. And besides that was not well said. We were not talking about which or witch, and yes they can ryme. You can either pronounce the "h" sound or not. it makes no difference at all. So, you ass, get off your lazy butt and look in a dictionary!

which. Show Spelled Pronunciation[hwich, wich]
Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–pronoun 1. what one?: Which of these do you want? Which do you want?
2. whichever: Choose which appeals to you.
3. (used relatively in restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses to represent a specified antecedent): The book, which I read last night, was exciting. The socialism which Owen preached was unpalatable to many. The lawyer represented five families, of which the Costello family was the largest.
4. (used relatively in restrictive clauses having that as the antecedent): Damaged goods constituted part of that which was sold at the auction.
5. (used after a preposition to represent a specified antecedent): the horse on which I rode.
6. (used relatively to represent a specified or implied antecedent) the one that; a particular one that: You may choose which you like.
7. (used in parenthetic clauses) the thing or fact that: He hung around for hours and, which was worse, kept me from doing my work.
8. Nonstandard. who or whom: a friend which helped me move; the lawyer which you hired.
–adjective 9. what one of (a certain number or group mentioned or implied)?: Which book do you want?
10. whichever; any that: Go which way you please, you'll end up here.
11. being previously mentioned: It stormed all day, during which time the ship broke up.


[Origin: bef. 900; ME; OE hwilc, hwelc, equiv. to hwe- (base of hwā who) + -līc body, shape, kind (see like1); c. OFris hwelik, D welk, G welch, Goth hwileiks lit., of what form]

—Usage note The relative pronoun which refers to inanimate things and to animals: The house, which we had seen only from a distance, impressed us even more as we approached. The horses which pulled the coach were bay geldings. Formerly, which referred to persons, but this use, while still heard (a man which I know), is nonstandard. Contrary to the teachings of some usage guides, which introduces both restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. The “rule” that which can be used only with nonrestrictive clauses has no basis in fact. In edited prose three-fourths of the clauses in which which is the relative pronoun are restrictive: A novel which he later wrote quickly became a bestseller. See also that.

Go to for all your pronunciatons.
Guest   Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:36 am GMT
>> /ʰwɛn, wɛn/ <<

Hmm. Why doesn't it list [wIn] also? It seems to me to be just as common as /wEn/. The only Westerners that use /wEn/ are Californians, Arizonans, New Mexicans, and people from Nevada.