This week presents words about how we pronounce or mispronounce words. Some are extremely specific, but let's start with a general one.
cacoepy – incorrect pronunciation
The antonym is orthoepy - correct pronunciation of words
[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Mon Jan 12th, 2004 at 8:36.]
which has caused me to wonder why there are two pronunciations given for orthoepy by the usual gang of idiots; e.g., from AHD4
I am honored to know that you and I have the same opinion of AHD.
sigmatism - defective pronunciation of sibilant sounds. Some sources say the term is synonymous with "lisping", but I would think it is broader, and would include hissing.
A further meaning:
sigmatism - the intentional repetition of words with sibilant speech sounds, as in She sells sea-shells by the sea shore. That is, a particular form of alliteration.
I'd bet the medical profession has words for mispronunciation caused by physical defects in the voice organs, or by neurological problems. Does anyone know?
Aha! Sigmatism is just the word I've been looking for to describe a gentleman of my acquaintance who doesn't "lithp" so much as "lishp"!
epenthesis – the addition of extra sounds in the middle of a word, as when nuclear is pronounced "nukular" and when athlete is pronounced "athalete." Words can legitimately change by epenthesis: for example, the d in thunder and the b in nimble are epenthetic.
One might think the word troilism relates to the character in the old story of Troilus and Cressida, a story used by Shakespeare, among others. In fact, however, troilism comes from the French trois = three (in which the final s is not pronounced) - which lacks the l. So how did troilism acquire its l-sound? I suggest the l came in by epenthesis, for without an extra letter a word troi-ism would look awkward and be difficult to pronounce.
Thus, there is a neat symmetry in that there is "an extra element added" both in the word troilism, and in the act that word names.
troilism – a ménage à trois; sexual relationship involving three people
[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Wed Jan 14th, 2004 at 7:53.]
troiism - the sending of the daily word three(3) times at a go
(well, that's how many copies *I got!)
hirrient - of a sound: heavily trilling
In phonetics, think of the rolled French r-sound. Apart from phonetics, think of the sound of a cat purring.
Follow-up: Perhaps there was a circularity in defining sigmatism as "defective pronunciation of sibilant sounds". It should be added that sibilant means "characterized by a hissing sound". Sibilant sounds include the consonant sounds s, sh, f, z, and both versions of th: as in then, and as in thin.
I can't think of an example. Indeed, I believe that one characteristic pf French is how the "r" is relegated to a mere scrape in the back of the throat.
Spanish, though - that's very different. "Burrillo" has a highly trilled "rr".
lambdacism - a speech disorder involving faulty pronunciation or excessive use of the l-sound.
Also called paralambdacism.
see also lallation
mouillé – a consonant sound that is softened and liquid, pronounced as a palatal sound
If I understand it correctly:
Wordcrafter's word of today
Is a sound which we find on display
In million and canyon
And billion and banyan
The "l" and "ny" are mouillé.
rhotacism – mispronunciation or overuse of sound r.¹
compare lambdacism, which is essentially the same as to the l-sound.
This creates a question. A Chinese person will tend to substitute l for r, calling a US native an "Amelican". Is this rhotacism (mispronouncing the r) or lambdacism (excessively using the l)?
The authorities seem to agree that it is lambdacism. Conversely, the Japanese tendency to substitute r for l, calling a Brit an "Engrishman", is rhotacism. Apparently we chose between the two terms based on the sound added, not based on the sound dropped.
If an overuse of r is rhotacism, what is an underuse of r, substituting a different sound (not necessary the l-sound)? It is pararhotacism. Similarly, an overuse of l is lambdacism, and an underuse of l is paralambdacism.
I thus retract my contrary definition of "paralambdacism" two days ago. One authority supports it, but the others disagree.
¹also, in linguistics, the tendency of the s-sound to change to the r-sound over time
Actually, the Japanese do not substitute r for l, since they have neither sound in their language. The Japanese r sounds to me like a cross between an l and a d. I have heard it described as sounding like the British pronuncion of r in very. Remember, the Japanese have no r or l in their language. We have romanized their language for our benefit and the r is purely an attempt to represent their sound with our alphabet.
TheJapanesePage.com explains how to make the Japanese r sound:
PART ONE: The Tongue...
The sound is made by lightly slapping your tongue just behind your upper teeth. Think of making an L sound, like LOVE. That is the approximate place. The only difference between the Japanese R and the English L sound is how long the tongue is held there. In English the tongue is held a while while air goes around it. In Japanese, the tongue is immediately dropped.All of the R sounds are made the same way with the tongue.
Read that again and then once more while actually making the sound.
And here's what NihongoResources.com says:
ra/ri/ru/re/ro - right, here we go again: THIS IS NOT AN R! again just like the fu, the Japanese r-series has no western equivalent. it is however easier to do than the f. the Japanese r/l is generated by flicking the tongue against the hard part of the inside of your mouth, behind the teeth. (the alveolar region). this same region is used to generate the d, and this is why the Japanese r sounds roughly like a mix between an r, l and d. The simplest way to get it right: say 'aligato' as if it's Japanese. you're done. that is an acceptable Japanese r/l. it's better if you put less force on the tongue while saying it so it really is hard for someone untrained to hear if you just said an r, l or d. (humans have the annoying tendency to not be able to distinguish what they have no words for or notion of after they learn to rely on language)
Finally, Wikipedia has an article on Japanese language:
/r/ is not pronounced in the same way as an American or English "r". To an English speaker's ears, its pronunciation lies somewhere between an "r", an "l", and a "d". The sound may be made by lightly placing the tongue on the back of the upper set of teeth. Some have noted that the pronunciation is close to the Spanish "r".
The Japanese r may sound a little like a Spanish r, but not a lot. The Spanish r is trilled; the Japanese is not.
[This message was edited by tinman on Mon Jan 19th, 2004 at 1:45.]
Most dictionaries I've consulted give two pronunciations for orthoepy, including the OED Online. Should I infer that the editors of those dictionaries are also "gangs of idiots"?
Your definition is incomplete. The OED Online gives two definitions:
1. That part of grammar which deals with pronunciation; phonology. Also, the study of the relationship between pronunciation and a writing system.
2. Correct, accepted, or customary pronunciation.
I assume you meant the #2 definition, but forgot to include "accepted, or customary".
A good dictionary can only list the most common pronunciations of a word. As we have seen on this board from time to time, the pronunciation of a word varies from region to region, and to say one is "correct" and the others are "incorrect" is arrogant and elitist.
You might be interested in the results of a survey C J told us about some time ago.
[This message was edited by tinman on Mon Jan 19th, 2004 at 2:43.]
sibilant: s z sh zh are sibilant, but f v th dh are not. What they all are is fricative.
Spanish r: rolled only when double, as in perro 'dog'. When single, as in pero 'but', it's very close to Japanese r. Many speakers of American dialects of English have this sound written t between vowels, as in <i>letter</i>.
That's also known as "the d-like medial t," which is an essential characteristic of General American. The Limerick about the tutor who tooted the flute is a good exercise in its pronunciation. The "voiced-ness" of the surrounding vowels converts the "t" to a "d" sound.
Another exercise, for those who are acquiring Spanish language, is "Ahora corre duro en su carro caro, pero su perro corre más." This helps in distinguishing the Spanish "r" and "rr". Those who have trouble "rolling" the "rr" are encouraged to use "dzh" instead. It's an imitation of the dialect of northern Argentina, and it works!
But I digress.
Betty Bauder bought a bit of bitter butter but it made her batter bitter .........
Remember, the Spanish you will hear in the USA is South American Spanish and is pronounced differently from Catalan Spanish.
I learnt the latter which means I have a Spanish accent and I was initially flattered on my first visit to Mexico when a waitress exclaimed "You speak Spanish like a Spaniard". I thought she was complimenting me on my facility with her language but actually she was commenting on my Catalan accent. Most of the foreigners she would have met would be from the USA, of course, and any that spoke Spanish would have learnt it from a South American Spanish speaker.
>Most dictionaries I've consulted give two pronunciations for orthoepy, including the OED Online. Should I infer that the editors of those dictionaries are also "gangs of idiots"?
well, I did qualify with an "e.g.", not with an "i.e.", so draw your own conclusion. But serially folks, the comment was intended to be wry (on toast), as in, "I rather reduntantly hoped a word having to do with correct pronunciation would have one unique and distinctive pronunciation its own self."
Yes, you did. I spoke rashly.
Castillian would be better although I was simply speaking of the area of Catalonia, not of the language Catalan.
I am aware that Catalan is a completely different language from Spanish, being, in fact, possibly closer to French.
I did, some years ago, meet an elderly man in Inca (in Mallorca) who spoke onl Mallorquin (a form of Catalan) and was able onlt to converse with him through his daughter who spoke Mallorquin and Spanish.
My point was that there is a general pronunciation difference between "Spanish" Spanish and South American Spanish that is as distinct as is the proununciation difference between UK and US English.
I took Spanish over 40 years ago in high school. I remember being taught that r was slightly trilled while rr was strongly trilled. This site agrees with that.
The Spanish tongue-twister I remember is
Are con are in barril.
Are con are en cigarro.
Alla en el ferrocarril
Rapidos corren los carros.
(There should be an accent over the last a in Alla.)
quote:I am not so sure, Tinman. While I can appreciate Tsuwm's point that it is rather ironic to publish 2 pronunciations of a word that means correct pronunciation, I took the e.g. to mean it is one example of a dictionary that has 2 pronunciations. It just makes sense to think that OED is another example.
As for the Spanish pronunciation or "r" versus "rr," I was taught precisely the same way that Tinman was taught.
Here's another version:
Erre con erre cigarro
Erre con erre barril
Rápido corren los carros
Rojos del ferrocarril
"Erre" is the name of the letter "rr" in the alfabeto español.
"Rápido," being an adverb, has no need to agree with the plurality of "carros," as does "rojos," an adjective.
The "s" of "carros" disappears in pronunciation, giving way to the "rr" sound of the initial letter in "rojos."
From a column in our local paper:
"President Bush committed epenthesis three times during the State of the Union address, by the way."
I got the columnist on our word-list some time ago.