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English is my second language, therefore I have trouble grasping certain words phonetically.

When I speak with my co-workers, sometimes and almost always, they pronounce the word saw as sawr, like, "I sawr this movie last night", and I can distinctly tell that there is an "R" sound at the end of the word saw.

Now I pronounce the word saw as in a saw with which you cut wood. I wouldn't say "Hey Mike, hand me that sawr so I can cut this wood", although this would be a better word to be used as there is cutting involved.

This has me confused, do I say "I sawr her" or "I saw her"? Can someone please clarify?

  • I have lived my whole life in NYC. I was born and raised (and currently reside) in Manhattan. Most people say "saw", but some people say "sawr", often those from adjoining NJ. – Dan Bron Dec 8 '16 at 14:12
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    'saw' is standard English. If you try to say 'sawr' it will sound very dialectal and non-standard. You want to say 'saw' unless you're very embedded in a particular community that distinctly says 'sawr' (that's general advice for learning any language). – Mitch Dec 8 '16 at 14:15
  • @Dan: having lived in New Jersey for nearly two decades, I don't think any more people in New Jersey say sawr than people in Brooklyn or Queens. People who live in Manhattan tend to have a lot more money, and better-off people are more likely to speak standard English. – Peter Shor Dec 8 '16 at 14:23
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The people from New York who say sawr only say it if the following word starts with a vowel or is him, his, her (in which case the 'h' gets dropped). As far as I know, nobody says "I sawr this movie last night," alhough they would say "I sawr a movie last night."

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    Does the same follow for "wartch" (as in "wristwatch")? The people I know who say "sawr" also say "wartch", but I haven't paid attention to the phonetic context. – Dan Bron Dec 8 '16 at 14:26
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    I've never heard anyone say "wartch" – Zohaib Dec 8 '16 at 14:26
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    @Dan: wartch is really strange. – Peter Shor Dec 8 '16 at 14:34
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    @Dan: warsh is common throughout the Midwest, and I've heard gararge from Midwesterners as well. So maybe wartch is part of the same phenomenon (which I read originally comes from Ireland). – Peter Shor Dec 8 '16 at 14:39
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    I have heard "wartch" on rare occasions. – Hot Licks Dec 8 '16 at 19:52

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