Linguistics for Objectivists


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In another thread, the following exchange occurred:

Did they pronounce it correctly?

Only Trebek was tasked with pronouncing the name, it being Final Jeopardy, and yes he got it right, 3 or 4 times in fact. He definitely said "Ayn" correctly, but I tend to pronounce the vowel in Rand like canned or banned, he used a somewhat fuller vowel, close to wand. It was correct though.

Interesting. Where are you from, Dennis? Do you pronounce the vowels in "have" and in "halve" the same or differently?

Ted:

Now this interests me. I pronounce Rand and canned. And I pronounce the halve with what I think is a Boston muted "a" and pronounce have differently. What does that establish?

Answering this requires discussing what are called minimal pairs, and the English vowel system.

Every language has a distinctive set of sounds which characterize it. While English has 26 letters, it has over 40 phonemes (distinctive sounds used to construct words) in total, hence in part, our difficult spelling conventions. The Rotokas language of New Guinea has only 11 sounds, A E G I K O P R S T U V, with T and S actually being positional variants of one phoneme (sort of like t before i in -tion). Ubykh, a recently extinct language of the Caucasus, had only two vowels, but 84 distinct consonants.

If, as in English, spelling is not a proper guide, how does one determine how many phonemes a language has? The method is that of finding what are called distinctive pairs. Those who have studied German or Spanish might be aware that English actually has two different /l/ sounds. The ell in 'laugh' is made with the tip of the tongue touching the teeth (say it to yourself and feel where the tip of the tongue is) while the ell in gold and ball has the tongue touching the roof of the mouth, or the "palate." Spanish and German, however, do not have the second sound, and learning to speak those languages requires learning only to pronounce the dental version. While one might sound as if one has a foreign accent, no one speaking English will think you are saying a different word if you switch the two sounds. Yet in Russian and many othe languages, the difference is vital and using the wrong ell can cause one to be misunderstood just as if one were to say sick and sin instead of thick and thin.

Another example of contrasting sounds in English are the two versions of /th/. Although we spell them the same, there are two sets, the voiced and the unvoiced. (Voicing is the difference cause by whether our voicebox hums, or whether we whisper when we say a sound. The sounds ess and zee are identical, except that zee is voiced or hummed - try saying "zzzz" and ess is whispered, try hissing "ssss."

This distinction of voiced versus unvoiced exists for most English consonants which come in the following pairs which are identical except that the first sound is voiced and the second voiceless:

v & f

z & s

j & ch

zh & sh

p & b

t & d

k & g

(but /w y r l m n ng/ and /h/ have no voicing counterparts.)

Now consider:

thin thick throw myth breath bath

and

they those that other breathe and bathe

in all these words the sounds are spelled th, but in the first set they are voiceless (whispered - try making the sound as in thin: "th....") and in the second set they are voiced.

But how do we know for sure that the two sounds aren't just positional variants, like the two ell sounds? One could argue tha the silent e in breathe and bathe is what causes the difference between those words and breath and bath. (Indeed, historically, that is the explanation. Since all vowels are naturally voiced, a /th/ between what were originally two vowels, with the /e/ now silent, became voiced from an originally unvoiced condition.)

So, can we assert that the two /th/s are actually just one phoneme with two phonetic variants? No, because of the following "minimal pair": "thy" (voiced) vs "thigh" (unvoiced).In these two words the vowels are identical (as opposed to breathe vs breath). The minimal difference is caused by the fact that the two /th/ sounds are in fact distinct.So what about people who pronounce "have" and "halve" (as in "to cut in half") identically for the consonants, but with different vowels?

Stay tuned for the next post.

Edited by Ted Keer
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If you want to study lingusitics, I would recommend five books for beginners. The first is Anthony Burgess's A Mouthful of Air. Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange in which he created a future dialect

Thank you, Ted. And here's a blog I follow regularly that's fairly pertinent to this topic http://www.languagehat.com/

Wow! A cliffhanger!

Will we have only halve of the damsel in distress saved by a salvation hero!

dd5.jpg

Adam

Edited by Selene
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I am reposting this with the linebreaks fixed:

In another thread, the following exchange occurred:

Did they pronounce it correctly?

Only Trebek was tasked with pronouncing the name, it being Final Jeopardy, and yes he got it right, 3 or 4 times in fact. He definitely said "Ayn" correctly, but I tend to pronounce the vowel in Rand like canned or banned, he used a somewhat fuller vowel, close to wand. It was correct though.

Interesting. Where are you from, Dennis? Do you pronounce the vowels in "have" and in "halve" the same or differently?

Ted:

Now this interests me. I pronounce Rand and canned. And I pronounce the halve with what I think is a Boston muted "a" and pronounce have differently. What does that establish?

Answering this requires discussing what are called minimal pairs, and the English vowel system.

Every language has a distinctive set of sounds which characterize it. While English has 26 letters, it has over 40 phonemes (distinctive sounds used to construct words) in total, hence in part, our difficult spelling conventions. The Rotokas language of New Guinea has only 11 sounds, A E G I K O P R S T U V, with T and S actually being positional variants of one phoneme (sort of like t before i in -tion). Ubykh, a recently extinct language of the Caucasus, had only two vowels, but 84 distinct consonants.

If, as in English, spelling is not a proper guide, how does one determine how many phonemes a language has? The method is that of finding what are called distinctive pairs. Those who have studied German or Spanish might be aware that English actually has two different /l/ sounds. The ell in 'laugh' is made with the tip of the tongue touching the teeth (say it to yourself and feel where the tip of the tongue is) while the ell in gold and ball has the tongue touching the roof of the mouth, or the "palate." Spanish and German, however, do not have the second sound, and learning to speak those languages requires learning only to pronounce the dental version. While one might sound as if one has a foreign accent, no one speaking English will think you are saying a different word if you switch the two sounds. Yet in Russian and many othe languages, the difference is vital and using the wrong ell can cause one to be misunderstood just as if one were to say sick and sin instead of thick and thin.

Another example of contrasting sounds in English are the two versions of /th/. Although we spell them the same, there are two sets, the voiced and the unvoiced. (Voicing is the difference cause by whether our voicebox hums, or whether we whisper when we say a sound. The sounds ess and zee are identical, except that zee is voiced or hummed - try saying "zzzz" and ess is whispered, try hissing "ssss."

This distinction of voiced versus unvoiced exists for most English consonants which come in the following pairs which are identical except that the first sound is voiced and the second voiceless:

v & f

z & s

j & ch

zh & sh

p & b

t & d

k & g

(but /w y r l m n ng/ and /h/ have no voicing counterparts.)

Now consider:

thin thick throw myth breath bath

and

they those that other breathe and bathe

in all these words the sounds are spelled th, but in the first set they are voiceless (whispered - try making the sound as in thin: "th....") and in the second set they are voiced.

But how do we know for sure that the two sounds aren't just positional variants, like the two ell sounds? One could argue tha the silent e in breathe and bathe is what causes the difference between those words and breath and bath. (Indeed, historically, that is the explanation. Since all vowels are naturally voiced, a /th/ between what were originally two vowels, with the /e/ now silent, became voiced from an originally unvoiced condition.)

So, can we assert that the two /th/s are actually just one phoneme with two phonetic variants? No, because of the following "minimal pair": "thy" (voiced) vs "thigh" (unvoiced).In these two words the vowels are identical (as opposed to breathe vs breath). The minimal difference is caused by the fact that the two /th/ sounds are in fact distinct.So what about people who pronounce "have" and "halve" (as in "to cut in half") identically for the consonants, but with different vowels?

Stay tuned for the next post.

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From the Jeopardy Show Question thread:

Do the following words rhyme in your speech?

hoarse and horse

cot and caught

Dawn and Don

marry and Mary

merry and marry

merry and Mary

Murray and merry

water and hotter

water and daughter

water and footer

water and butter

writer and rider

writer and spider

rider and spider

So where can we take this test and get the answers? :)

Judith

(Please note! In order to perceive the differences in these sounds, it is necessary both to ignore the spelling and concentrate only on the pronunciation, and to say the words out loud. If you do not say the words out loud, due to, say, embarrassment, you will not hear the differences. You must also simply pronounce the words naturally, without stressing them or trying to pronounce them "properly." For example, the normal vowel of the word "the" rhymes with "duh" in natural speech. But if asked to pronounce the word properly, speakers will give what is called the "citation form" (when "the" sounds like "thee") which is the way we pronounce the word in isolation (lie as a dictionary entry) rather than normal speech.)

The point of the above "test" is that it is diagnostic. People in different English speaking areas will disagree as to whether the words above rhyme or not in their own normal way of speech. Each pair differs at most in its stressed vowel - the spelling is not relevant. For example, would anyone say that the first vowels of hotter, daughter, footer and water all rhyme? I.e., hot, daught, foot and but? In my dialect they are four distinct vowels, only one of which rhymes with the first vowel of water. (But which one I won't say as of yet so as not to influence others.) While in what is called General American these vowels are distinct, in the Boston area hot rhymes with the vowel of fought. And in northern England (think the Beatles) the vowels of cup and mother rhymer with the vowels of foot and footer.

As for writer and rider, in American dialects, the -t- following a stressed vowel and preceding another vowel is not pronounced as a plain British /t/, but instead is identical to a /d/ in that circumstance with both being pronounced as what is called a flap. (If you speak Spanish, compare "para ti" and "pot o' tea" - the first consonant after the p will be identical in each.) In the case of almost all North American dialects, the actually pronounced consonant sounds of writer and rider will be identical, and what will distinguish them is how the first vowel is pronounced.

fight Mike wipe life writer mice

vs

high wide mine lively rider size

Here is the list again, if you want, you can post your answers by adding a Y or N after each pair for whether you

rhyme the vowels or not:

hoarse and horse

cot and caught

Dawn and Don

marry and Mary

merry and marry

merry and Mary

Murray and merry

water and hotter

water and daughter

water and footer

water and butter

writer and rider

writer and spider

rider and spider

dog and hog

dog and log

sinned and send

penny and any

fletcher and catcher

Edited by Ted Keer
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Here is the list again, if you want, you can post your answers by adding a Y or N after each pair for whether you rhyme the vowels or not:

hoarse and horse Y

cot and caught N

Dawn and Don N

marry and Mary N

merry and marry N

merry and Mary Y

Murray and merry N

water and hotter N

water and daughter N

water and footer N

water and butter N

writer and rider vowels, yes; consonants, no.

writer and spider vowels, yes; consonants, no.

rider and spider Y

dog and hog Y

dog and log Y

sinned and send N

penny and any Y

fletcher and catcher N

Do I pass? :-) From whence do I hail?

How would one pronounce "hoarse and horse", "merry and Mary", "rider and spider", and "penny and any" differently?

In the case of almost all North American dialects, the actually pronounced consonant sounds of writer and rider will be identical, and what will distinguish them is how the first vowel is pronounced.

Are you sure you have that right? As far as I can tell, the ONLY thing distinguishing the two words' sounds is the "t" versus the "d". How would the VOWELS differ?

Judith

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Here is the list again, if you want, you can post your answers by adding a Y or N after each pair for whether you rhyme the vowels or not:

hoarse and horse Y

cot and caught N

Dawn and Don N

marry and Mary N

merry and marry N

merry and Mary Y

Murray and merry N

water and hotter N

water and daughter N

water and footer N

water and butter N

writer and rider vowels, yes; consonants, no.

writer and spider vowels, yes; consonants, no.

rider and spider Y

dog and hog Y

dog and log Y

sinned and send N

penny and any Y

fletcher and catcher N

Do I pass? :-) From whence do I hail?

How would one pronounce "hoarse and horse", "merry and Mary", "rider and spider", and "penny and any" differently?

In the case of almost all North American dialects, the actually pronounced consonant sounds of writer and rider will be identical, and what will distinguish them is how the first vowel is pronounced.

Are you sure you have that right? As far as I can tell, the ONLY thing distinguishing the two words' sounds is the "t" versus the "d". How would the VOWELS differ?

Judith

There are certain inconsistencies, especially your denial that the first vowel in water rhymes with any of the four vowels given. I suspect, given your other answers, you either rhyme it with hotter or daughter. I'd like to know what vowel you rhyme the "a" of water with. Also, do you really rhyme merry and mary? (Many American dialects do.) Or do you distinguish between berry, merry and ferry, versus hairy, Mary and scary?

Also, in your speech, does the first consonant of "thanks" sound like that of "then" or of "thin"?

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In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly happen.

The nuances of neighborhood aside, I appreciate this topic being brought here because the primary purpose of speech is to enable thinking. The more you understand about the words you use, the more levels you bring to your thinking.

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If you are a JWCE (Junior Woodchuck Epistemologist)....

God forgive me, but the following makes at least as much sense to me as the preceding page of posts:

How much epistemology would a junior woodchuck chuck, if a junior woodchuck could chuck epistemology?

Happy Holidays, everyone!

REB

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There are certain inconsistencies, especially your denial that the first vowel in water rhymes with any of the four vowels given. I suspect, given your other answers, you either rhyme it with hotter or daughter. I'd like to know what vowel you rhyme the "a" of water with.

Sorry -- mistake on my part. I rhyme "water" with "daughter".

Also, do you really rhyme merry and mary? (Many American dialects do.) Or do you distinguish between berry, merry and ferry, versus hairy, Mary and scary?

All of those words are indistinguishable for me. How might one make them different??

Also, in your speech, does the first consonant of "thanks" sound like that of "then" or of "thin"?

Thin. I've NEVER heard anyone say "thanks" using the other "th" sound, no matter where in the country (or the world) I've been.

Please don't forget the questions in my previous post! :-)

Judith

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Okay, Judith, my best guess is you are from Connecticut outside of both the the Boston and the NYC regional dialects.

(Dennis, you should not read further until you answer the questions I took the time to type up for you, if you still intend to do so.)

The first issue is your lack of typical Southern traits such as spend being pronounced as spinned.

The next is the Marry/Mary/Merry/Murray vowels. These are four distinct vowels historically, but only the NYC regional dialect continues to distinguish all four. They pronounce Mary with a "long a" as in the rest of the country, and marry with the vowel of "cat" which I understand you to do. But they pronounce the vowels of merry, berry, very and ferry with a distinct "short e" sound, as if Lisa Simpson were to say "meh" followed by "ree" to say "Meh-ree Christmas." This is not natural for most speakers of American English, but can be acquired. Philadelphia is like NYC in that it too distinguishes Marry Merry and Mary, but the Phildelphia dialect merges the vowel of merry with that of furry, so they say "Murray Christmas" and cause New Yorkers to laugh when they ask directions to the "Staten Island Furry." The merger of merry with mary, but kept distinct from marry. is found in a large swath of the North, from Maine to Chicago and down to Baltimore, as well as the South. In the rest of the country, marry, merry and Mary have the same vowel. (This is part of what drives Easterners to fin Sarah Plain's speech annoying.) George Costanza pronounces his very, merry, ferry vowels quite clearly with the four part distinction.

Next is the cot/caught merger. In Eastern New England, the Pittsburgh area, and just about everywhere West of the Mississipi, cot and Don are not distinguished from Caught and Dawn. In Boston, the vowels have shifted to the caught vowel, while in other areas where they are merged, like the Mid West, they use the cot vowel in all cases.

So, you have a North/North Eastern dialect without the characteristic signs of a Philly, NYC, or Boston Dialect and without the Pittsburgh and Midwest cot/caught merger.

You could have been from Baltimore. But as in Philly, Baltimorons rhyme water with footer.

You could have been from upstate New York, but from Binghamton to Buffalo they pronounce "thank you" as "dhank you" - that is, with the first consonant of "then" and "this" rather than thin and thrall. It is as much a giveaway as is the Philly dialect's pronunciation "wooter" - and if you had been from Albany I would have expected you at least to have heard it.

So, you are a hard case, because all the evidence is negative in nature. My diagnosis is that you are from a large, semi-overlapping swath of the North East where the pairs marry and mary and cot and caught remain distinct, but outside the Baltimore, Philly, Pittsburgh, NYC, Finger Lakes, and Boston areas with their local diagnostic peculiarities. Since you rhyme water with daughter and not with hotter it is more likely that you are in the eastern area, rather than the midwest which, like the south, tends to rhyme water with hotter.

Edited by Ted Keer
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As for the difference between writer and rider, for most Americans the actual difference in pronunciation lies in the vowels, although it is caused by a rule which is applied to the consonants.

(Attention, in order to gain any value from this post whatsoever, you must read it aloud in its entirety, and be willing to make a fool of yourself by talking to yourself. If this is a problem, explain to your loved ones, and adjourn to another room. Warrantee is void if you read the cited words silently.)

The vowel sound of the homophonic words "eye" and "I" is a combination of the pure "ah" sound of the word "father" followed by a "y" off glide. This combination of a pure vowel and a glide (w or y) is characteristic of the three typical diphthongs of English"

boy: the vowel of "caught" followed by "y"

eye: the first vowel of "father" followed by "y"

cow: the vowel of "cat" followed by "w"

It also turns out that the other long vowels, those of bean, bane, bone and boon, also have off glides, "y" for the first two and "w" for the second two. So, in fact, bean is the same as bin with a "y" after the "i", bane the same as "ben" with a "y" after the "e", and so on. But this is a side point.

In most of North America, the vowel sound of "eye" remains the same standing on its own, or followed by the voiced consonants, which are produced with a hum in the throat, namely the consonants {b d g j zh dh v z m n ng r l} (dh is the sound of th in they, thy, or those).

But in the case of an underlying "eye" sound followed by an unvoiced consonant, such as {p t k ch sh s f th}, which are whispered without a hum in the throat, in most US dialects the diphthong changes from that of "ah" followed by "y" to that of "uh" followed by "y" That is, of the vowel in "cup" rather than the first vowel of "father" followed by "y"

Compare the following

rye sky pie tie buy thy thigh

ride jibe time sign while (a)live rise

vs

write skype mice bike life rice

If you are American, and try to pronounce the words write life and rice with the vowels of ride (a)live and rise you will most likely hear it as an affected British accent. If you try to do the reverse, and pronounce ride, live and rise with the vowels of write life and rice you will sound like you have an "Uhyrish" accent.

Now, if you do distinguish between the two "ah-y" versus "uh-y" sounds and speak American, rather than stage English, you will also have a tendency to pronounce "t"s between two vowels, the first of which bears stress, the same way you will pronounce a "d" in the same circumstance, both becoming a third sound, called a flap, which is actually like the "r" in the Spanish word "para." American "pot o' tea" comes out just like Spanish "para ti" If you have taken instruction in voice or stage acting, you have probably been told to pronounce your "t"s distinctly, the way the English do, not the way Americans speak in normal circumstances.

So, given the two rules, the change of ay-h to uh-y before voiceless consonants such as "t", and the change of "t" between vowels to a flap sound, (for which I will use a capital D) which is voiced, what happens when we ad the -er suffix to write and ride?

The change from ah-y to uh-y before "t" rule is applied (subconsciously) first.

So:

write > ruhyt

ride > rahyd

Then, when the -er suffix is added, the t >D and the d > D, i.e., the voiceless and voiced dental stops become the identical interdental flap.

ruhyt-er > ruhyDer

rayhd-er > rahyDer

And the distinction which is originally caused by the distinction in consonants has now become one which is expressed only in the vowel - yet we continue to interpret it as a difference in consonants.

Of course, if you pronounce your consonants and vowels like Katherine Hepburn and Bette Davis, you will not speak this way. If your speech is more like that of Bruce Willis, you can hear the above distinctions with some practice and attention.

One interesting exception to the rule of keeping the "ahy" vowel before voiced consonants is that of "spider." Most Americans pronounce this with the "uhy" vowel, as do many with the vowel of "cider." So the nursery rhyme "along cam a spider and sat down beside her" often comes out sounding funny:

Try:

"Along came a spied her and sat down be side her" ("ahy")

vs

"Along came a spiter and sat down be sighter." (uhy")

Edited by Ted Keer
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For further study: what does the fact that we cannot often even conceive of such things as not pronouncing merry and Mary differently say about Ayn Rand's notion of human nature?

For more on American dialects, see: http://en.wikipedia....ional_phonology

For more on the cot caught merger, see: http://en.wikipedia....t-caught_merger

For more on Murray merry Mary marry see: http://en.wikipedia....ry-merry_merger

For more on the ahy / uhy split see: http://en.wikipedia....anadian_raising

dialectsUS.gif

Edited by Ted Keer
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As for the horse/hoarse merger, originally words of the first class had the vowel of law/cost/dog followed by "r" while the latter had the vowel of know/go/beau followed by an "r". The difference survives in some rare pockets and I have heard it in the speech of some negroes of southern birth. It sounds to me almost as they are rhyming "four" with "lower" rather than "for".

See: http://en.wikipedia....e-hoarse_merger

Areas where the hoarse horse merger has not yet completed, although I have not heard it in the speech of people I know from Boston or Tallahassee:

3a24499e.jpg

Edited by Ted Keer
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Okay, Judith, my best guess is you are from Connecticut outside of both the the Boston and the NYC regional dialects.

...

So, you are a hard case, because all the evidence is negative in nature. My diagnosis is that you are from a large, semi-overlapping swath of the North East where the pairs marry and mary and cot and caught remain distinct, but outside the Baltimore, Philly, Pittsburgh, NYC, Finger Lakes, and Boston areas with their local diagnostic peculiarities. Since you rhyme water with daughter and not with hotter it is more likely that you are in the eastern area, rather than the midwest which, like the south, tends to rhyme water with hotter.

Not bad! I'm from the Northeast, and the reason it's not more specific is that when I was a teenager I picked up variants from friends' speech that I preferred to that of my family's speech. That combined with television English and voice training have created my current accent.

Judith

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Try:

"Along came a spied her and sat down be side her" ("ahy")

vs

"Along came a spiter and sat down be sighter." (uhy")

All the same "ah-y" to my ear. Unless it's too subtle for my ear to pick up, which is entirely possible; I don't have much of an ear for accents, but I DO know what you mean in terms of diphthongs, etc.

Judith

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Good god. The confusion deepens. They report:

The two groups of words merged by this rule are called the lexical sets NORTH (including horse) and the FORCE (including hoarse) by Wells (1982). Etymologically, the NORTH words had /ɒɹ/ and the FORCE words had /oːɹ/.

The orthography of a word often signals whether it belongs in the NORTH set or the FORCE set. The spellings war, quar, aur, and word-final or indicate NORTH (e.g. quarter, war, warm, warn, aura, aural, Thor). The spellings oVr or orV (where V stands for a vowel) indicate FORCE (e.g. board, coarse, hoarse, door, floor, course, pour, oral, more, historian, moron, glory).

As far as I'm concerned, North and Force are ENTIRELY the same vowel, along with board, coarse, hoarse, door, floor, course, pour, oral, more, historian, moron, glory, and Thor, but quarter, war, warm, warn, aura, and aural are in the "other" class.

Judith

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Only Trebek was tasked with pronouncing the name, it being Final Jeopardy, and yes he got it right, 3 or 4 times in fact. He definitely said "Ayn" correctly, but I tend to pronounce the vowel in Rand like canned or banned, he used a somewhat fuller vowel, close to wand. It was correct though.

This site gives the pronuniciation of the "a" vowel in Rand as in "canned or "banned":

http://inogolo.com/pronunciation/d98/Ayn_Rand

As for "Ayn": Rand's decision to have "Ayn" pronounced that way was an arbitrary one. She might as well have opted to pronounce the "Ay" as in "lay", which would have been more in sync with a pronunciation one would expect in English.

It looks like Rand constructed Ayn from the Finnish name "Aina":

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_ayn_rand_faq_index2#ar_q3

Excerpted from a letter to a fan, 1937:

“Your letter inquiring about the origin of my name has been forwarded to me. In answer to your question, I must say that ‘Ayn’ is both a real name and an invention. The original of it is a Finnish feminine name. . . . Its pronunciation, spelled phonetically, would be: ‘I-na.’ I do not know what its correct spelling should be in English, but I chose to make it ‘Ayn,’ eliminating the final ‘a.’ I pronounce it as the letter ‘I’ with an ‘n’ added to it.” Letters of Ayn Rand, page 40

http://www.babynamespedia.com/meaning/Aina

"In addition, Aina is a Finnish and Scandinavian variant of Aino (Finnish)."

So, can we assert that the two /th/s are actually just one phoneme with two phonetic variants? No, because of the following "minimal pair": "thy" (voiced) vs "thigh" (unvoiced).In these two words the vowels are identical (as opposed to breathe vs breath). The minimal difference is caused by the fact that the two /th/ sounds are in fact distinct.So what about people who pronounce "have" and "halve" (as in "to cut in half") identically for the consonants, but with different vowels?

Stay tuned for the next post.

The German language for example does not have 'th' as a phoneme, which is why Germans who wrongly proncounce "think" as "sink" can be misunderstood by English speakers because the minimal pair has been changed into two homophones.

The "th" sound seems to be a fairly complicated one to produce, which is why kids in the language learning process, often go through a phase where they pronounce "think" as "fink".

Wow! A cliffhanger!

Will we have only halve of the damsel in distress saved by a salvation hero!

dd5.jpg

Adam

Maybe only those in love with linguistics will truly understand Ted's passion about all this. :)

Edited by Xray
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Maybe only those in love with linguistics will truly understand Ted's passion about all this. :)

Wow! A cliffhanger!

Will we have only halve of the damsel in distress saved by a salvation hero!

dd5.jpg

Adam

Maybe only those in love with linguistics will understand Ted's passion about all this. :)

Ms. Xray:

I absolutely share Ted's passion for linguistics. That is why I phrased what I wrote the way I did...say it out loud.

Secondly, the picture that is supposed to be there was of Dudley Do right rescuing the damsel that was tied to the railroad track by the evil mustachioed villain...

http://flyingmoose.o...se/whiplash.htm <<<<see the cartoon strip about midway down

For some reason, the picture did not transfer, but she is a looker ain't she?

Adam

Edited by Selene
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Only Trebek was tasked with pronouncing the name, it being Final Jeopardy, and yes he got it right, 3 or 4 times in fact. He definitely said "Ayn" correctly, but I tend to pronounce the vowel in Rand like canned or banned, he used a somewhat fuller vowel, close to wand. It was correct though.

This site gives the pronuniciation of the "a" vowel in Rand as in "canned or "banned":

http://inogolo.com/pronunciation/d98/Ayn_Rand

As for "Ayn": Rand's decision to have "Ayn" pronounced that way was an arbitrary one. She might as well have opted to pronounce the "Ay" as in "lay", which would have been more in sync with a pronunciation one would expect in English.

It looks like Rand constructed Ayn from the Finnish name "Aina":

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_ayn_rand_faq_index2#ar_q3

Excerpted from a letter to a fan, 1937:

“Your letter inquiring about the origin of my name has been forwarded to me. In answer to your question, I must say that ‘Ayn’ is both a real name and an invention. The original of it is a Finnish feminine name. . . . Its pronunciation, spelled phonetically, would be: ‘I-na.’ I do not know what its correct spelling should be in English, but I chose to make it ‘Ayn,’ eliminating the final ‘a.’ I pronounce it as the letter ‘I’ with an ‘n’ added to it.” Letters of Ayn Rand, page 40

http://www.babynamespedia.com/meaning/Aina

"In addition, Aina is a Finnish and Scandinavian variant of Aino (Finnish)."

So, can we assert that the two /th/s are actually just one phoneme with two phonetic variants? No, because of the following "minimal pair": "thy" (voiced) vs "thigh" (unvoiced).In these two words the vowels are identical (as opposed to breathe vs breath). The minimal difference is caused by the fact that the two /th/ sounds are in fact distinct.So what about people who pronounce "have" and "halve" (as in "to cut in half") identically for the consonants, but with different vowels?

Stay tuned for the next post.

The German language for example does not have 'th' as a phoneme, which is why Germans who wrongly proncounce "think" as "sink" can be misunderstood by English speakers because the minimal pair has been changed into two homophones.

The "th" sound seems to be a fairly complicated one to produce, which is why kids in the language learning process, often go through a phase where they pronounce "think" as "fink".

Wow! A cliffhanger!

Will we have only halve of the damsel in distress saved by a salvation hero!

dd5.jpg

Adam

Maybe only those in love with linguistics will truly understand Ted's passion about all this. :)

Really enjoyed reading this old thread.

Could somebody recommend me a good, simple Indo-European language family chart or tree to show my ESL class? I've told them that English, Russian, Pashto, Farsi, Romany and Hindi are all related but they don't believe me. I've lied to them before.

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Carol:

IM Ted. He is the expert here on this at OL.

Adam

Wondering whether Dudley would rescue Daunce and then steal her away to that hidden chamber he has in Toronto that is decorated like the catacombs in Rome.

temples-tombs-rome-catacombs_24736_600x450.jpg Catacombs such as these were carved over hundreds of years beginning in the second century A.D. from soft rock beneath the outskirts of Rome.

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Could somebody recommend me a good, simple Indo-European language family chart or tree to show my ESL class? I've told them that English, Russian, Pashto, Farsi, Romany and Hindi are all related but they don't believe me. I've lied to them before.

Simple yes. Simple and good, no. Good, yes. Good and simple, no.

Here are two Indo-European family trees that I have found useful, followed by a link to a cool English family tree image that will not port to OL. The English one is a nice graphic that could substitute for a mongrel-dog's lineage. Quite instructive . . . (right-click to save, or contact me backstage and I can send them via email).

Indo-European Family Tree One

Indo-European Family Tree Two

-- NB. Replaced the bozed images with links.

English 'timeline'

Edited by william.scherk
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The chart William posted lists a large number of languages, but the distinction it does make between what are called "centum" (pronounced kentum as in classical Latin) and "satem" languages is considered outdated and it does not indicate mid-level relationships between branches which are currently accepted, such as the closeness of Italic (Latin, and its close relatives and its descendants) to Celtic, the close relation of Greek (a "centum" language) to the Armenian and Indo-Iranian (satem languages) and the close relationship of the Germanic branch (a centum language family) to Balto-Slavic (again satem languages).

For those who are interested, those early languages which retain an original "k" sound before the vowels "i" and "e" are called "kentum" languages (Germanic, Greek, Italic, Celtic, Hittite, Tocharian) while those in which the "k" has become an "s" sound before the same vowels (Baltic, Slavic, Armenian, Indic, Iranian, Albanian) are called satem languages. The word "centum" is from Latin, originally with a hard k sound, and the word satem is based on Sanskrit, where the original "e" vowel in the first syllable changed to an "a" after the "k>s" change had taken place. Originally the distinction was believed to indicate a very early split between European "centum" languages and asian "satem" languages. But Hittite, the oldest known PIE language, and Tocharian, the easternmost PIE language were discoverd only in the last century and were discovered to be centum languages. The change of a "k" sound to an "s" sound before the front vowels "i" and "e" is an extremely widespread change that occurs in many languages at many times. It occurred historically in all of the Romance daughters of Latin (e.g., French cent, Spanish ciento) except Sardinian, where centum remains kentu. It is known from unrelated languages all over the world. It turns out that the change occurred separately in those branches in which it occurred. An analogy from biology would be if we were to classify vertebrates which have fins as a group, holding penguins, sea turtles, seals, whales, manatees and mososaus as related to each other, rather than to their respective closest relatives.

The following chart is adapted from one published in Scientific American. I ignores the centum/satem division and reflects the proper midlevel subgrouping of the PIE families. It omits the hard to classify Albanian branch, which probably lies between Germanic/Baltic/Slavic and Greco/Armenian/Indo/Iranian. But it is otherwise clear and easy for layman to take in.

indoeuropean-language-family-tree.jpg

For those who are interested in what the closest relatives of the Indo-European languages are, they are the Uralic (Finnish, Hungarian, Lapp, Samoyed) and Altaic (Turkish, Mongol, Manchurian, Korean, Japanese) families along with Eskimo-Aleut and various exotic Siberian languages such as Yukaghir, Nivkh, and the Chukchi-Kamchatkan family.

The Eskimo word for setting a fire is "igniq" - sound familiar?

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