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Pronouncing an unfamiliar language

There are some English words that would likely never have a Trai'pahg'nan'nog cognate, because the concepts only apply to humans. Like the word "lesbian." This is because all AKB relationships with one another are same-sex; obviously, because they're hermaphrodites. So there'd be no reason to have a word meaning "lesbian." If they needed to use the word, they'd use the English word (or whatever other language).

Thinking about that made me wonder how they'd pronounce it if they'd never heard the word, and were trying to pronounce it from the Latin-letter spelling of it. I'm assuming an AKB who doesn't know that the pronunciations vary depending on the word, who knows what the letters are but not all the ways they can be pronounced. Since they write TPNN in a phoenetic alphabet, they'd probably assume the same thing here. So they'd pronounce the names of the vowels in the word. (E = ee, I = eye, A = A {rhymes with hay}). And not knowing the weirdness that is the letter S, they'd likely pronounce it as just an S.

And so, "lesbian" (normally pronounced "lez-bee-un" in my accent), they would in that instance pronounce "lease by ayn."

Let's try some other words. Some that wouldn't necessarily have no cognate in TPNN, just having some fun seeing how they'd pronounce them under those circumstances. How about "candlestick"? I say it kan-dull-stik. They'd say it "kane-duh-lees-tike-kuh." (Either that or assume the K was a glottal stop.) This is because they wouldn't know where the seperations between syllables are, and not knowing that, they assume similar-sounding letters would be pronounced independently (because using two letters that make the same sound when you could use one is just silly). In TPNN, the way it's written in their alphabet, the syllable separations are obvious. (And in the Latin spellings I use for words like trai'pah'gut'ik, the apostrophes serve the function of showing syllable separation points.)

Now with further bits added, we can move on to a word like "battering." Well now that I write it, obviously bait-teer-eyeng, with a split-second pause between bait and teer. I need to think of a word where a double letter is superfluous. Well, more so.

Okay, "seed." You're probably thinking, "well duh, it's 'seed'!" But no. They're assuming double letters are not redundant, because they don't know they're a difference between the E in "they" and the EE in "seed." So they'd pronounce it "see-eed," again with that split second pause between see and eed.

"Dell" would be "deel-luh." Hill would be "highul-luh." Todd would be "Toad-duh." Because they were told "These letters are Eh, EE, eye, oh, and yew."

So naturally, let's take "natural," how would the pronounce it? "Nate-yew-rail." But what about Y? Well let's assume they were told "This is the letter 'why.' It's a consonant that acts like a vowel if it's not at the beginning of a word." (I don't know how accurate that is, but let's go with it for now.) Now "naturally" would be "nate-yew-rail-why." "Tyrell" would be "Twhy-reel-luh."

Of course, if they'd ever heard any spoken English, I don't think it would take them long to realize they were mispronouncing the words. :) After all, the word for the language isn't "Een-glysh," it's "Ing-lish." Also, try pronouncing the title of this post in this manner. It's a doozy! (Pro-no-yewn-kyng ain yewn-fame-aisle-eye-air laing-yew-aig-ee.)

This was cross-posted from https://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1406047.html
You can comment either here or there.



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