Mark J. Reed wrote:

> Second, /Vmf/ is universally -umph rather than -umf.
> "Helen paused.  With an audible `wumph,' Muffy's familiar yipping had
>  ended..." (from a Far Side cartoon).
> "He left it dead / And with its head / He went gallumphing back."

But the verb 'gallumph' is a portmanteau word coined by Lewis Carrol
from 'gallop' + 'triumph', so the spelling is surely exactly as one
would expect.

> Are modern textual foley artists emulating Carroll, or was Carroll 
> just an early example of the same tendency?

See above.

> I don't know what role the vowel plays in this phenomenon, but 
> Nightcrawler's BAMF! is a good example of /mf/ not preceded by /V/.

Pronounced like Banff in Scotland, I assume     :)

> I imagine the use of PH may come from parallelism with the common 
> sequence -ump.

I think so, reinforced by the actual occurrence of the word 'triumph'.
But there are no non-onomatopoeic English words AFAIK ending in --nf.

/umf/ is usually <oomph>, too.  But without the -m-,
> <f> reappears: <whuff>, <oof>, etc.

True - but then there are many English ending in -ff.

I suppose an alternative, based on traditional spelling, would be
*whough - but that its pronunciation would be a tad ambiguous   :-)

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