Who, other than John McCain, still pronounces the word “Washington” as “Warshington?” Where does this pronunciation come from? My 97-year old grandfather who died in February pronounced it that way, but otherwise I hadn’t heard it for years until this general election campaign.
Has anyone else noticed this? (Please note: this is not an invitation to dump on McCain as old in the comments. He can’t help that–he tried to become President in 2000 when he was eight years younger, and I defy any of you anti-McCain people this year to argue that he would have done as poorly or worse than George W. Bush. I don’t have any brief with his age, just with his policies.) I’m simply wondering if the “Warshington” pronunciation is due to a regional dialect, or generation, or perhaps something else. Apparently, I’m not the first person to wonder about this–inquiring minds want to know, but the answers proposed at those sites devolve into political attacks. The Linguist says it’s a midwestern thing–were McCain’s parents midwesterners? (For the record, my grandfather was, but so am I originally and I’ve never said “Warshington.”) From what I understand, McCain had the typical Navy brat upbringing all over the place, and only moved to Arizona as an adult. A native Washingtonian says that it’s the local pronunciation by the hometown crowd. He notes that McCain attended Episcopal High across the river from D.C. as a teenager, and says that “‘Warshington’ is merely the hometown version of ‘Noo Yawk’ or ‘Missourah.'”