Sunday, June 29, 2008

Say my name! Say my name!

John Wells writes on his phonetic blog: It’s Wimbledon fortnight, and our television screens are full of tennis.

Mine are too. Tennis comes second after hockey among my favourite professional sports to watch. Perhaps it's the names. Both sports offer some gorgeous spellings and pronunciations. So Wells provides helpful advice on some pronunciations that are often slaughtered:

English people seem to have a complete blind spot about the letter c having the value ts in eastern European languages.

Remember: When Polish is Anglicized orthographically, a <c> is pronounced ts.

But: In Turkish the <c> is a voiced postalveolar affricate ʤ: the consonant in 'edge' and twice in 'judge'.

He adds:

Ljubičić gets his medial in English, too, although Ivanišević, like the late Milošević, usually misses out on his ʃ.

What's a fellow to do? Especially when all your efforts to correct a pronunciation fall prey to a clumsy tongue.

Not only does the chair umpire miss the ʃ; he pronounces it as n. He gets closest at the end but instead of the more common depalatalisation to s it sounds to me like he added voiced: z.

Goran was always fun to watch. I remember when he won as a wild card at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 2001. I almost cried. I can turn into a baby watching this sport.

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