Pesky diphthongs (was: OT coins and currency)
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, January 10, 2006, 10:41|
Andreas Johansson wrote:
> Quoting "Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@...>:
>>On 1/9/06, Andreas Johansson <andjo@...> wrote:
>>>Back in the day, some Swedes used an English-inspired [j8\:ru], but that
>>>pronunciation, thankfully, seems to have died out.
>>Yeah, thank goodness. The last thing you want is to sound like those
>>ignorant Anglophones. :)
> Indeed. :p
> Seriously, apart from the fact I personally find that pronunciation ugly, it's
> totally disconnected from how we pronounce related words like _Europa_,
> _eurocentrisk_, etc.
And also, being serious, we anglophones are not in fact being ignorant
in pronouncing |eu| as /ju/ [ju:]. It is historically a development of
earlier /ew/ just as modern Greek /ev/ ~ /ef/ is also a historic
development of earlier /ew/.
When the teaching of Greek was revived in England, the Byzantine
(essentially same as the modern) Greek pronunciation was used. But many
scholars in Europe realized that ancient Greek must have been pronounced
differently and there was a move to reform the pronunciation of ancient
Greek. This culminated in 1528 with Erasmus's "De recta Latini Graecique
sermonis pronuntiatate." The Cambridge scholars John Cheke and Thomas
Smith propagated the Erasmian pronunciation during the Tudor period. It
was recommended that Greek EY be pronounced as 'ew' in 'few', which at
that time was still /ew/.
A pronunciation similar to this is still used in "Welsh English" where,
for example, one hears 'few' [fIw], 'screw' [skIw] etc. But elsewhere in
the anglophone world the falling diphthong changed to a rising one /ew/
--> /ju/ (and in certain environments - which are not the same in all
English variants - the [j] onset may disappear).
The shift of a falling diphthong to a rising one is not unknown in other
languages. One obvious example is French |oi| which was originally [Oj]
but had shifted to [wE] by the end of the 13th century and is now [wa],
except when it is nasalized when it is still [wE~].
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