December 23rd, 2009

It's a big enough umbrella...
  • andorus

Morphing non-English name pronunciations

What's the deal with how Iraq is pronounced in the west? Where did this "eye-rack" mess come from? "Ee-rock" (sorry, I don't have any formal linguistics knowledge and don't know the proper symbols/terminology for the sounds) isn't difficult or unnatural for English speakers in the US and other countries to manage, so how did this change occur?

It just bothers me so much, partly because I'm Indian-American and sick of people butchering my own not-hard-if you-actually-stop-and-think-about-it name and the names of my friends of various ethnicities. I was so thrilled to hear Obama pronounce "Pakistan" properly, as opposed to "pack-uh-stan"--I get that a short A sound is more common in English, but once again, it's not that hard to pronounce it properly.

Anyway, I guess this was more of a rant than an actual question, but if you have any ideas of how this came about, I'd be interested in hearing them. Thanks!

EDIT: I should add that "ee-rock" is an approximation. I don't pronounce it that literally, but I don't know the terms for the various sounds, and I was focusing far more on the errors in the vowel sounds, since we have access to a very wide range of vowel sounds in our natural vocabularies, but on a day-to-day basis we don't use the same consonant sounds as needed to pronounce "Iraq" accurately according to Arabic. Apologies for not being more specific on that!

Immersion Plateau?

I've been wanting to post here for quite some time, but the truth is I'm a bit embarrassed.

I seem to have hit some sort of low-level plateau learning Turkish and I would be eternally grateful to anyone who could recommend some materials or - wonder of wonders - new strategies/techniques.

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Does anyone have any recommendations? I hate the idea that I'm wasting my time here by not taking advantage of +60 million native speakers!
pixelated moi
  • tisoi

The name of this decade.. and the one to come..

I was reading this Time Magazine article about what to call this decade that'll be ending next Friday.

So what are your thoughts? What should it be called? For the life of me, I can't seem to choose one that I like. Though, I am leaning towards the "zeroes." While we're on the subject, the next decade will be called "the teens" right?

Also, I'm curious as to what the situation is in other languages... Does this problem exist?
from a painting

Learning Language Greetings

For some reason I always have a really hard time when it comes to learning basic greetings in a language (hello, good morning, what's your name?, how are you?, etc) yet I can dive into things like "Are there any nice restaurants near the plaza?" Does anyone else experience the same thing? Is there a way to get through greetings quickly, painlessly, and effectively?
  • oh_meow

dan-down merger?

I've been back in Medway this week, and thinking about phonetics (too much time on my hands for sure!). Round my way, there's almost sound merger between words like Dan and down, but not quite (often represented in writing as things like Saarf London). So aʊ gets turned into just plain a contrasted with the æ of words like cat or the ʊ:w of words like dawn or horse . Is there an official name for this change, along the lines of "trap-bath split" or "cot-caught merger"?

So to make it clearer
Dan= dæn (RP) dan (Medway)
down= daʊn (RP) da:n (Medway)
Dawn= dɔ:n (RP) dʊ:wn (Medway)

Hopefully an OT Question

I'm on a hunt, but it's going rather vaguely, so I thought I'd try to narrow my search and just suck it up and ask someone...

I want to buy German manga (comics in the Japanese cartoon style). There is one in particular that I'd want to buy, and it is written, drawn, and produced IN Germany (not translated from the Japanese). However, as I'm trying to continue my study of the German language, I wouldn't mind buying some German translations of other things as well.

So my question is this: Do any of you know of any specific sites from which I could order German comics? I'm looking for something based in Germany (for more variety), but by all means, if you know of one that's based in the US, the shipping savings would be appreciated. =^_^=;