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Mispronouncing Conlang Names

From:David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Date:Wednesday, April 13, 2005, 6:43
Hey all,

This is a chatty thread I'm starting, but it is on topic (i.e., about
conlangs), so I thought it was all right.

I recently posted Barry Garcia's translation of the Sheli poem
into Ayhan on my site, and I noticed, after pasting his link in,
that I'd been incorrectly spelling the language as "Ahyan".
Why?  Because that's actually how I'd been *pronouncing* it
(in my head) all this time.  And, indeed, I actually mispronounce
a lot of conlang names, I've noticed.  Here's a short list (and
feel free to add) in alphabetical order:

-amman îar: It wasn't until I read the section on phonology in
David Bell's reference grammar that I learned that the circumflex
over the "i" meant that you should pronounce the vowel like a
consonant, rather than you should pronounce the vowel *separately*
(as with a diaresis in French).  For that reason, this language is
most saliently pronounced by as ['A.mAn i.'Ar], where the last
word has two syllables, like "Eeyore", the lovable donkey.  It
should, of course, be ['jAr] (in my anglophone pronunciation).

-Ayhan: Every time I see this word, I guess I *want* to pronounce
a coda [h], because I always seem to pronounce it ['Ah.jAn],
metathesizing the "y" and the "h" (which I assumed, of course,
were pronounced as [j] and [h], respectively, but which may
not be the case.  I'd actually go and check, but it looks like Yahoo
Geocities is down, for some reason...).

-Brithenig: I didn't recognize the relationship with "Britain" for a
long time, and also did know the purpose of the language for awhile,
so for some reason I always pronounced it as ['brE.T@.nIg].

-Fith: A classic case of hypercorrection (wait...  hypo?).  I often
pronounce the English word "fifth" without a coda [f], but sometimes
I make a concerted effort to put it in there.  As a result, I sometimes
find myself saying (and spelling!) Fith with an extra "f".

-Kangathyagon:  Sorry, but I can't do the thorn.  And also, my
e-mail program always makes the thorn *really* small, or sometimes
doesn't even print it at all.  For that reason, I pay special attention
to it, and so seem to regularly forget the first "g", pronouncing it
something like ['ja.g@n].  Anyone's guess where the "n"
coda comes from.

-Miapimoquitch: "Tepa" was a whole lot simpler.  I did something
strange to this name, pronouncing it something like, [mi.'am.p@.kwItS],
but sometimes without the coda [m], and sometimes (possibly under
the influence of the Simpsons), as [mi.'a.p@.m@.kwItS].

-Minyeva: This is a really bizarre one.  I think because I often confuse
the name with Jeffrey Henning's Minhyan (and probably also because
the "-n" suffix is so easy in English), I frequently pronounce this name
with an "n" on the end of it.  (Hope I've never spelled it that way!)

-Rokbeigalmki: Whenever I see that many consonants, my head
kind of starts swimming, so I stopped at "rokbei", and then kind
of made up my own name, [rAg.bA.'].  I've *always* pronounced
it that way (in my head), and it wasn't until a few months ago
when I actually looked at the spelling and said to myself, "Man,
I was *way* off!"

-Teonaht: I think I might be forgiven for mispronouncing this
one, since it's never obvious if a language spelling you see is
in an invented romanization, or is trying to stick to something
like the IPA.  For that reason, I didn't know for a long time
that "ht" was pronounced [T] (and I also didn't know that
Teonaht was a language, for a long time, rather than the
full name of H. S. Teoh (!!!).  For that, I *shouldn't* be forgiven).
As a result, Teonaht has always rhymed with "astronaut",
but with ['] in place of ['&s.tro].  Anyway, though, I thought
it was cool: Like this language is a rocketship through your
linguistic solar system.

Those are all the ones that occur to me, though there may be
others.  I sincerely apologize to the authors, though, and I
should let you know that when I figure out that I've been
pronouncing a language incorrectly, I tried to go and emend
my mental dictionary, so that I pronounce it right in my head
from then on.

Well, except for Zhyler, since I created it.  That will always be
['] in my head, rather than the correct, [ZY.'ler].

"sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Dirk Elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Muke Tever <hotblack@...>
Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>