'What?' -- pronunciation

In several postings I’ve seen on the board, the poster says something, then finishes the post with:


By context I understand it’s meant to imply that the something said was likely to generate strange looks or double-takes, and the poster means to pre-emptively say Hey, What’s Wrong With That? (I’ve tried to find more than the one example but apparently nobody has used the word ‘what’ in any post over the last full year on the board – who knew?) I admit this description of my interpretation is open to argument, but I feel my understanding is sufficient if not my explanation. This is not my question.

What I want to know is, how do you inflect it? Do you say “what?” as though you’d been busy with something and suddenly realized people were looking at you? “What?” in that slightly annoyed tone that you affect when someone stares at you too long? “Wot?” like wot the British do, eh wot? Or some other way?

Do tell.
Oh – I pronounce it the first way, rhymes with “huh?” (Drat! Pronounce is to rhyme as inflect is to what?)

Yeah, the first way.

The first documented use and correct pronunciation of “What?” can be heard in the 1936 cartoon Parsnips A-Plenty.

Now that that’s settled, how would you pronounce “Potates”?

To me “What?” is said with a rise in the voice, like a question-- as in I can’t hear you.

I think the tongue-in-cheek “What” at the end of some posts isn’t meant to have that rise. It’s more of a command, as in “(Tell me) What('s so funny).” Should have a period.

I am the almighty grammar and punctuation god. And my shirt looks fabulous on me.



Depending on the situation, I’ll impliment either “What?” in that slightly annoyed tone that you affect when someone stares at you too long and rhymes with “cut,” or else the British “wot.” I don’t do that high-pitched “Wat?” thing…if you follow.

For the exact pronunciation, see Vinnie Barbarino.