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Furrin phones in my own lect! (YAGPT warning!)

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Monday, March 27, 2006, 13:08
Henrik Theiling skrev:

>>(I believe German has a near-obligatory glottal stop before >>word-initial -- possibly even morpheme-initial -- vowels, so I have >>the same tendency.)
I remember my mother, who is a German L1 speaker, correcting me when I pronounced the word _Verein_, which I had only encountered in writing, as [fe'rain], insisting that it be [fe6'?ain]! Since _ein_ is a stem, I think your rule holds, except that it should be "stem-initial and word initial": surely a prefix like _un-_ is pronounced [?un]! My other, and hence I, has a strange feature in her German pronunciation: she vocalizes /r/ to [6] in spite of the fact that her unvocalized /r/ is apical [r] or rather [4]! I suspect this is ulimately influence from her parents' L1s (Ukrainian and Polish), which both have [r] but no [R], or are there German accents that genuinely has this strange realization? Strangely my aunt, who also has lived in Sweden for 45 years (after 27 years in Germany, 23 years in Germany, 45 in Sweden for my mother) has [R] in her German, and even in her Swedish! On the subject of "hard" phones the diphthongs arising in German from short vowel + vocalized /r/ are hard to me in spite of my almost L1 pronunciation (German being my L1.5! :-). I tend to merge them all as something like [3(:)] or even [E(:)]. Is this something I've invented myself, or is it a feature of Berlin accent, which influenced me quite a lot when I learnt German as a kid? N.B. this does *not* happen when the underlying vowel is long: _Firma_ is ['f3ma] for me but _Vier_ is [fi6] or even [fi:6]. Truly wierd! FYI my English is rhotic; I learnt it mostly from my paternal grandmother who had lived in Chicago for twelve years. I wonder if my English still has features of 1920's Chicago accent!? On the theme of furrin phones I had a university teacher who like many people from North and Middle(1) Sweden had /x/ merged into /s`/ with the strange result that she pronounced [s`] for [x] in foreign words, even in words from languages like German and Hebrew which properly have an /S/ vs. /x/ contrast. (The subject was history of religion, hence the Hebrew words!) When I learnt Icelandic I first had grave problems with /G/, which I pronounced [g], until someone pointed out that [R], which I could pronounce, was a much better approximation. Then I met this Frenchman, a scholar of Old Norse, who consistently had the following substitutions: /G/ -> [R] /r/ -> [Z] /s/ -> [S] /D/ -> [z] /T/ -> [s] Strangely he was intelligible after a few minutes, although we soon switched to English! This worked in spite of the fact that Icelandic has a marginal distinction between /rs/ [s`], /sj/ [s\] and /s/ [s]. In fact even some Icelanders have [S] for /s/ (and [rS] for /rs/), though that is considered a speech defect. Both when speaking Icelandic and when I try to affect Danish or Finnish I tend to use *voiced* stops instead of voiceless unaspirated stops, or at most voiceless lenes. Strangely this seems acceptable to L1 speakers: more acceptable than excessive aspiration in Icelandic and Danish, and Finns tend to hear even ungeminated aspirated stops as their geminated unaspirated stops, while they hear even geminated voiced stops as their ungeminated voiceless stops. Strange but convenient for a Swedish L1 speaker! Furrin phones in my own lect: Swedish uses clicks as interjections and calls to horses -- like other Germanic langs AFAIK --, but strangely that doesn't make it easier to say them in words like _Xhosa_! -- /BP 8^)> -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch at melroch dot se "Maybe" is a strange word. When mum or dad says it it means "yes", but when my big brothers say it it means "no"! (Philip Jonsson jr, age 7)


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>