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Germans have no /w/ etc.

From:Carsten Becker <post@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 9, 2004, 18:37

I'm only going to answer the phonology stuff ... Danger! Y.A.E.P.T. alert!

From: "Emily Zilch" <emily0@COX.NET <mailto:emily0@...>>
Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2004 11:28 AM
Subject: Germans have no /w/, Marking of Resonants, racist use of RL
languages in Star Wars movies

 > { 20040608,0046 Joe } "Germans have no /w/.  <w> is /v/(and <v> is
 > /f/).  It's often quite hard to pronounce a letter you don't have.
 > Hence Germans find it hard to pronounce [T], [D], and [w](just as some
 > English-speakers find it hard to pronounce [x].  I was once watching a
 > travel programme where someone tried to simulate [x] by shouting when
 > he got to it, and inserting an [h].)"
 > Strangely, my roomie, who is a Deutscher, has no trouble with [D], [T]
 > or the other usual suspects such as [r\].

It's not that hard, actually. It's just a matter of getting used to it
and daring to pronounce a sound that your mother tongue does not have.
Maybe it has also to do how good you are at languages and if you're
interested in lanugages at all.
And with a little exercise, you can even pronounce the whole IPA after
a while. ;)

LOL, I had a classmade who pronounced [T] and [D] even as [f] and [v]!
(What an interesting sound change ;)) Later, he switched to [s] and [z],
as many Germans (mis)pronounce it. He wasn't very good at languages,
anyway, which supports my thesis. Also, it's a shame for my English
teacher that she isn't able to distinguish /T/ from /s/. How shall the
English n00bs in the 5th grade classes where she teaches English learn
how to properly pronounce tee-aidges?

As for me, when speaking fast or being excited because of being called
up, I also mix up [v] and [w]. Voiced |-s| at the end of words is
difficult though, so I mostly don't pronounce it properly. But [T] and
[D] have never been a problem for me. [5] was a bit strange at the
beginning, too, especially for my little brother who nearly pronounced
it like swallowing his tongue ;). I'm not rhotic either. My
pronounciation is mostly British English with some Americanisms I guess
(e.g. [dE:ns] instead of the more seldom heard [da:ns]) and a German
accent shining through.

You said, on TV they tried to make a person pronounce [x] by shouting
and pronouncing [h], but of course that's definitely not the way. [x] is
a bit further back than [k] (so it's a [c]), but without stopping the
airflow. [C] is a bit more difficult. The trick is basically that you
curl your tongue down instead of up while pressing the middle of your
tongue against the palate.

--Carsten Becker



Joe <joe@...>
Tristan Mc Leay <kesuari@...>