James Fallows, in a series of interesting blog posts
, questions the typical English pronunciation of China's capital city arguing that "the "jing" in Beijing is pronounced basically like the "jing" in Jingle Bells. It's essentially the normal English j- sound. What it's not like is the Frenchified zh- sound you hear in "azure" or "leisure," or at the end of "sabotage.""
One reader suggests, "My working theory about "Beijing/bay-zhing" is that at some deep, unconscious level, English speakers secretly believe that all foreign languages are French and should be pronounced as such in the absence of instructions to the contrary."
Another reader argues, "Major cities and countries have historically had different names in different languages, and these names serve a good purpose by being easy to pronounce and identify in the languages where they are used. There is really no more reason to say "Beijing" in English than "München" or "Moskva."" [more inside]
posted by beisny
on Aug 13, 2012 -
Original Pronunciation (OP)
"...performance brings us as close as possible to how old texts would have sounded. It enables us to hear effects lost when old texts are read in a modern way. It avoids the modern social connotations that arise when we hear old texts read in a present-day accent." The site includes transcripts
of Shakespeare plays and other writings with IPA
notations, indicating how to pronounce them in OP. It also includes some audio recordings
. [more inside]
posted by grumblebee
on Sep 11, 2011 -
is a unique online speaking dictionary that offers clear pronunciations of English words
, slang terms
, technical terms
, brand names
, proper names
, and many foreign words
, including common variations
. Astoundingly, the sound files are not computer-generated
-- every single one of the site's 138,152 entries
are enunciated in the dignified tones of British academic and polyglot Tim Bowyer
, who has steadily expanded its glossary
over the years using logs of unsuccessful searches and direct user suggestions. The site is part of Bowyer's Fonetiks.org family of language sites
, and is also available as a browser extension
and as a mobile app for iPhone/iPod
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 23, 2010 -
Sounds of American English
details each of the consonants and vowels of American English with a real-time Flash animated articulatory diagram of each sound; video and audio of the sound spoken in context and an interactive diagram of the articulatory anatomy.
posted by Lezzles
on Feb 16, 2009 -
It’s not what you say, it's the way you say it--Part 2.
This observation was cleverly illustrated by Prof. Howard L. Chace in Anguish Languish
, an exercise to demonstrate to his French Language students that intonation is key to understanding spoken language. Here
is the complete text. You can read
his best known Furry Tell about a Wicket Woof and a Ladle Gull or hear
it read.(Warning-has sound.)
I first found out about Howard Chace from an article
in The Whole Earth Catalog and certain phrases have rattled around my head ever since. Here
is a discussion of Anguish Languish if you want to write your own. Like this version
of Gender Cyst
from the Homely Babble
posted by lobakgo
on Sep 22, 2003 -
Coffee, our nan?
Is this "Would you like some more coffee, Grandmother?" or Kofi Annan? Oh and mathowie - are you sure the Irish Haughey
is pronounced Howie
? [Check out Charles Haughey for the proper way.
] Thank you, Voice of America, for teaching us how to pronounce those pesky foreigners' names. And shame on you, BBC Pronouncing Unit
, for not being online
! [This last link requires Real Audio but is really worth listening to if you have anything against stuck-up English twits.
posted by Carlos Quevedo
on Apr 12, 2003 -
Home of Central Command and Al Jazzera television, it's a small oil-rich country we've all heard of, and that's the problem: I hear Qatar called Cutter, Gutter, Katar, and Kwatar.
How do the Qataris' pronounce it; is it possible to accurately pronounce foreign words in English? Who decides? More inside...
posted by Mack Twain
on Mar 29, 2003 -
How do you say "caramel?"
Unlike most Internet quizzes and surveys, Dr. Vaux's Dialect Survey won't pigeon-hole you into one of a finite set of types ("Your speech is most similar to Generic West Coast Dot-Commer, but with a trace of Oklahoma Trailer Park.") Which is just as well since folks like George Bernard Shaw
, HL Mencken
, and David Foster Wallace
would tell us that pronunciation varies with the individual, and doesn't quite fall neatly into a standard type with odd variances. Rather, this survey is a purely academic method for collecting information on who says what where, and the maps at the end are interesting to look at. I know that the pop/soda/cola variance has been visited before
, but what's up with people using "hosey" to refer to the "shotgun" seat of a car?
(requires registration if only to track your answers)
posted by bl1nk
on Oct 11, 2002 -