Tabouli the animate salad (tabouli) wrote in linguaphiles,
Tabouli the animate salad

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Romantic letters

I've just written phonetic versions of the names of over 7000 students who are about to graduate from a big university. The aim of this is to enable the senior academics (mostly native speakers of Australian English) to read their names out with some level of confidence and accuracy at their graduation ceremonies. Essentially a specialised form of data entry. Tedious. Very tedious.

Anyway. A problem I kept on encountering was the way consonants are pronounced in different Romance languages. I'm fine with French, which I've studied, but with the other Romance languages I found myself continually trying to figure out whether a name was Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or something else so that I could figure out which pronunciation chart to consult for pronunciations of consonants which vary across these languages (J, C, others?). And that's without even daring to look too closely at regional issues (e.g. Latin American vs European, Catalan/Castilian/other, etc.).

Do any of you linguaphiles have tips on:

- A website which summarises these consonant pronunciation differences in a nice clear table or something?

- How to figure out which Romance language a (sur)name comes from? I generally come up with an educated guess by Googling (Facebook is a godsend for this sort of job!), but any guidelines which would help me save time would be very welcome.


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