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Re: YAEPT: How you pronunce foreign place names

From:T. A. McLeay <relay@...>
Date:Friday, January 26, 2007, 1:43
On 1/26/07, Kinetic <kinetic_wab@...> wrote:
> I'm personally of the opinion that, wherever possible, place > place names should get as close as possible to the original > pronunciation _using only the phonemes available in the lang > you're speaking_. Including sounds alien to your language > seems pretentious - but equally, over-mangling a name when > there's an anglicisation (or whatever-isation) which is closer > to the original just seems wilfully ignorant to me. I do let > some unstressed vowels get schwa-ified, though.
Wilfully ignorant? I don't think so. Particularly in a language like English which has been borrowing by diverse dialects over a long time, the nearest English phonemes in one dialect won't always correspond to those in another, and English speakers are much more likely to learn of a place from other English speakers than people who come from a place. I'd say this was much more the cause than anything; personal names are much more likely to have anglicisations quite close to the original phonemes than places or famous people's names, at least IME in Australia.
> I also appear to dislike destroying the timing of words more > than I dislike destroying the sounds. If a short vowel in a > foreign word can only exist in English as a long one, I > prefer to alter the vowel than lengthen it. An example that > springs to mind is "clique" (/klIk/ rather than /kli:k/). > From Eugene's list: I say /I'r\ak/ rather than /I'r\A:k/ (the > latter appears to be common on the news here in the UK).
I thought Iraq in Arabic had a long vowel? At least, the transliteration of the Arabic on Wikipedia is _'al-'Irāq_ (asciified: 'al-`Ira:q), and the Arabic writing has an aleph in the right place, which I think is used for a long a. ...
> But examples of things I do say are: Boulogne /b@'lonj/ > rather than the very common yet inexplicable /b@'loin/;
Although I don't think I've ever heard the name pronounced, I think the common anglicisation you give is not so inexplicable. /lonj/ is simply an impossible syllable in English /j/ must always preceed a vowel. And assuming 'gne' actually represents a /J/, the nearest English adaptation in that context frequently actually is /-in/. I think how /J/ sounds to people without palatal phonemes has actually be discussed on this list before. -- Trisatn.


Kinetic <kinetic_wab@...>