American-English speakers question

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American-English speakers question

Post by flapane » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:08 am

Houston, the Texan city, has this pronunciation: /ˈhjuË
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Post by xan_user » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:29 am

from wiki

[quote]The street name Houston confuses many people from outside of New York (invariably becoming one of the easiest signs of spotting tourists) because the letters "ou" are pronounced as in the word house (pronounced /ˈhaÊŠstÉ™n/), whereas the same letters in the name of the city of Houston, Texas are pronounced like the "u" in huge (pronounced /ˈhjuË
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Post by flapane » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:33 am

My bad, I've only searched for Houston on wiki.
Thanks!

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Yes I knew of the Arkansas think, that sounds amazing for a neolatin speaker :shock: :lol:
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Post by xan_user » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:38 am

With a language where you can spell fish, GHOTI it s a wonder why we dont all go crazy here...:lol:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghoti

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Post by xan_user » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:44 am

Now look at a map of the usa and explain to me how Ohio can be considered part of the "mid west" when its only two states away from the Atlantic ocean?!?!?

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Post by flapane » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:44 am

Ghoti?:shock:
OMG, I've never heard of it :lol:

I think Ohio is considered Midwest just because it doesn't have an Atlantic coastline, isn't it?
By the way I consider it way different from MN or NE, I find it difficult to consider Ohio as a Midwest state.
I'd ask Ms Krabappel, anyway, I was just watching TV when she came, and couldn't resist to take a shoot
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Post by andyb » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:40 pm

I've never had a problem, its always been "hugh-stn", as in "Whitney (english pronunciation) Houston", (or "Hugh-stn" Laurie), and no-one has ever asked me to repeat it, but accents are very fickle.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fickle


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Post by swivelguy2 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:53 pm

Americans definitely pronounce the first syllable of Houston like "you." I have no idea how to interpret the pronunciation symbology (which is how you can tell I'm an American!).

The Midwest has been called that since a time when that was a very geographically appropriate title, given the then-borders of the U.S.

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Post by xan_user » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:09 pm

sorry but,"I just flew in from hew-stun Texas to see Whitney hew-stun in a club down on house-ton street." is proper.

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Post by flapane » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:31 am

andyb wrote:I've never had a problem, its always been "hugh-stn", as in "Whitney (english pronunciation) Houston", (or "Hugh-stn" Laurie), and no-one has ever asked me to repeat it, but accents are very fickle.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fickle


Andy
I think it's due to the wiki article xan_user reported: Houstoun, Lower east side has become Houston, Lower east side for whatever reason, but the pronounce remained the original one (Houstoun).
That really confused me the first time I heard it. :)
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Post by qviri » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:44 pm

[quote="wikipedia"]because the letters "ou" are pronounced as in the word house (pronounced /ˈhaÊŠstÉ™n/), whereas the same letters in the name of the city of Houston, Texas are pronounced like the "u" in huge (pronounced /ˈhjuË
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Post by andyb » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:02 am

Isn't English great?
I expect that there are very few languages on the planet that dont have the same problem with pronunciation and accents, especially when it is used and abused across most of the planet.

I remember when I was at school (not) learning French, I could understand the female voice on the tape reasonably well, the male voice on the tape a little, and I had no idea what my teacher was saying, until she changed her accent.


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Post by flapane » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:13 am

I don't know...
I know that international phonetic alphabet (or whatever is its name) is widely used in English, but a few or never with other languages (i.e Italian doesn't have a particular spelling, the words are pronounced the way they are written, while you can create a big mess if you don't spell english correctly... for example I would pronounce "Houston" as "OOO-USTOOON" and "silentpcreview" as "seeee-lent-peee-chi-re-veeeù, with ù being spelled as in randez-vouz).
I don't know if chinese has the same english spelling and pronounciation problems as probably the most widely spoken language on the planet with english, and spanish (even if it should be similar to italian, as we can understand ourselves easily without translation and have a similar grammar).
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Post by andyb » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:18 am

I think that the main problem with the spelling of words in English vs their pronunciation is that the way people speak has changed a lot where the spelling has not, but you also have to remember that English is a bastardization of many languages and has evolved over centuries.

An Example:

"Most words in the English language are pronounced the same way they are spelt", the only exception in that sentence is the word language, but that might just be my accent and my localized way of pronouncing words. If you had an English speaker say that with a different accent and different pronunciation, they would spell the words different phonetically to me.

If we were to go down the road of letting our future generation spell words incorrectly (like Americans and idiot marketing people do) this would only make things worse because different groups of people would change the words to their way of spelling them, and others would do likewise, this would then split the language into several versions which wont be good for anyone.


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Post by xan_user » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:23 am

andyb wrote:
"Most words in the English language are pronounced the same way they are spelt"


:?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelt

:lol:

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Post by andyb » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:31 am

Good one.

Windows

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows

I always thought Windows were things that you looked through, but stopped wind :?


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Post by xan_user » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:38 am

andyb wrote:Good one.

Windows

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows

I always thought Windows were things that you looked through, but stopped wind :?


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Window

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Post by qviri » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:38 am

andyb wrote:"Most words in the English language are pronounced the same way they are spelt", the only exception in that sentence is the word language
Compare the "o" in "most" with the second "o" in "pronounced", compare "a" in "same" with the a in "are", compare first and last "e"s in "sentence", etc.
andyb wrote:
Isn't English great?
I expect that there are very few languages on the planet that dont have the same problem with pronunciation and accents, especially when it is used and abused across most of the planet.

I remember when I was at school (not) learning French, I could understand the female voice on the tape reasonably well, the male voice on the tape a little, and I had no idea what my teacher was saying, until she changed her accent.
That's actually fairly incorrect. Most of pronunciation inconsistencies are not caused by local dialects or accents. The ghoti example works in Canada as well as in Australia.

The problem is mostly due to English being a pretty ridiculous mismash of a fundamentally Germanic language with extraordinarily strong Romance (French) influence in vocabulary, a significant amount of borrowing from Latin, and a fair bit of borrowing from languages around the world to round out the mix. Not its fault per se -- but it's there.

In many, if not not most, languages, there is only one or at most two ways to pronounce each orthographic symbol (Latin or Cyrillic letters, Hànzì). How do you pronounce an "o" in an English word? How do you write down /ʃ/ (the "sh" sound) in English? Big fat depends.
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Post by flapane » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:47 am

To propose an example, the word "media" is widely spelled as "meeeedia" but it's actually simply "media" with an open "e", as it's written, because it's latin and not english, but I suppose that it was borrowed decades ago and so it started to follow the english pronunciation rules, so if you speak english natively you'll say "meeeedia". Even in Italy, in the last years, you can sometimes hear the english way of "media" on TV, and pourists will tell "he made a mistake, it's "media", not "meeedia" ".
English is really a meltin' pot and (at least for a non mother tongue) an Australian speaks soooo differently to an English, the same for the Americans, with a lot of pronunciation diffs and singularities (ie. centre vs center, did anybody read the Oscar Wilde statement about those differences?).
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Post by andyb » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:18 am

The English language is far from perfect, but as no other language is perfect either and English as already used very widely its not going anywhere soon.

I agree with your points about the pronunciation of letters such as "o" depending on the other letters in the word, but in my opinion (being a native English speaker) French has some serious problems too.

http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032301.htm

Pretty good examples in that link, this is the main reason why I quit French at school, I was constantly getting some but not all of the words correct in a sentence and therefore failing pretty badly as I could not get my head around the fact that you have to use different words depending on other words. Yes you have to do that in English as well, but not to the same degree, the following is pretty much the thing that destroyed my spirit whilst learning French. The changes from one sentence to the next are highlighted.

I am going to the hospital - Je vais à l'hôpital
she is going to the hospital - elle va à l'hôpital

take me to a hospital - prends-moi dans un hôpital
take me to the hospital - Emmenez-moi à l'hôpital

take her to the hospital - l'emmener à l'hôpital
take her to a hospital - l'emmener à un hôpital


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Post by flapane » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:31 am

I think that those examples are clearly a characteristic of neolatin langs because they seems obvious to me as italian speaker dude (I could even recognize some similarities to our neapolitan dialect due to French and Spanish domination, but that's another story :lol: ):

I am going to the hospital - Je vais à l'hôpital - Io vado all'ospedale
she is going to the hospital - elle va à l'hôpital - Lei va all'ospedale

take her to the hospital - l'emmener à l'hôpital - portala all'ospedale
take her to a hospital - l'emmener à un hôpital - portala ad (or "a", but it's more correct "ad") un ospedale (or un' if ospedale were f. and not m. noun, for example).
I'm going to give it to you - Je vais te le donner - Te lo do (or "Te lo sto dando", probably it better underlines the "going to" form)

Probably it's the most difficult thing (togheter with the verbs where you have a lot of forms whenever the time changes in the past or in the future) when an english begins to approach to a neolatin language, in the same way the pronunciation, the "s" for the third person and the correct use of the prepositions next to the verbs (geez, that's really hard!:oops: ) are a problem for us. :wink:

It's always hard to succesfully "hide" your background, as you can clearly recognize an italian speaking a poor english, because he'll tend to use the phrase construction of its own native language.

Some time ago I started learning a little bit of russian for some reasons, they handle the nouns in a similar way the ancient latin did with the final part of the word indicating the case, but they don't even use articles and commas, it's such a pain...
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Post by andyb » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:48 am

It's always hard to succesfully "hide" your background, as you can clearly recognize an italian speaking a poor english, because he'll tend to use the phrase construction of its own native language.
I have never had a problem with someone speaking poor English and mixing up the order of the words, or having poor verbal grammar because it still makes sense providing all of the important words are present, a couple of examples.

Original: I am going to the hospital

Garbled: the hospital going to I am - reminds me of Yoda :)
Garbled: hospital I am going to the
Garbled: I am hospital going to the

You could even miss out the "the" and it makes sense, how would that work out in French or Italian.?


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Post by flapane » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:01 am

Yes of course it still makes sense, but you can say: "I'm sure that he comes from..." and many times you guess because it remembers you of an italian speaking... italian language using english words :lol:

I don't know how mixing words would work out in italian, but I'm going to try:

Original: Io vado all'ospedale

Garbled: All'ospedale vado io (ok, does make sense, it's used in some dialects in Sardinia but not in standard language)
Garbled: Io all'ospedale vado (same as above)
Garbled: Vado ospedale all'io (no, what is that? :lol: )

Shrink: Vado all'ospedale (ok, you can omit the person if it's clear by the context, but in theory you MUST use it)

It will probably be true for spanish, sometimes for french.
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Post by flapane » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:22 am

How funny: I was just watching The Simpsons show on TV and...
Image

They buy a Pub in Ireland and let people smoke cigarettes inside. When some policemen come and start doing some questions, Homer says: "Are those questions or statements? I cannot understand" and they answer "So are you criticizing our syntax, yankee?" :lol:
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Post by qviri » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:24 am

flapane wrote:(ie. centre vs center, did anybody read the Oscar Wilde statement about those differences?).
The glorious thing is that "center" and "centre" are pronounced absolutely the same way when speaking normally, which is insane if you think about it from the perspective of someone used to phonetic scripts.
andyb wrote:in my opinion (being a native English speaker) French has some serious problems too.

I could not get my head around the fact that you have to use different words depending on other words. Yes you have to do that in English as well, but not to the same degree, the following is pretty much the thing that destroyed my spirit whilst learning French.
You are describing declension and conjugation. I'm not a particular fan of French (and I know precious little about it), but that's not exactly a unique concept.

In any case, this has no bearing on English being irritatingly non-phonetic.

I am not attempting to make a case for English being better or worse or trying to convince people to ditch it or even fix it; I'm just presenting the annoyances it contains for those learning it... and a fair amount of native speakers, too.
andyb wrote:I have never had a problem with someone speaking poor English and mixing up the order of the words, or having poor verbal grammar because it still makes sense providing all of the important words are present, a couple of examples.
Word order matters in English. The classic example:

Ally has a cat.
A cat has Ally.

The same doesn't happen in declined languages (like the whole Slavic group):

Ala ma kota. (Ally has a cat.)
Kota ma Ala. (Ally has a cat -- stressed that it is a cat Ally has.)
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Post by andyb » Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:59 am

Word order matters in English. The classic example:

Ally has a cat.
A cat has Ally.
I was about to point out the poor grammar, and then I noticed that "Ally" is a person and not a mis-typed "Alley" :roll: Now your point makes perfect sense.


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Post by xan_user » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:04 am

andyb wrote:
Word order matters in English. The classic example:

Ally has a cat.
A cat has Ally.
I was about to point out the poor grammar, and then I noticed that "Ally" is a person and not a mis-typed "Alley" :roll: Now your point makes perfect sense.


Andy
ive never met an ally or an alley...but plenty of Ali's.

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Post by andyb » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:26 am

ive never met an ally or an alley...but plenty of Ali's.
thats what got me, Alley's are far more popular than Ally's, and I have met very few Ali's.

FYI

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alley


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Post by qviri » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:05 am

My bad. It's not a very strong example anyhow because the concept of "having" can be considered two-way in some situations. Use this, instead:

Mark ate an apple.
An apple ate Mark.
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Post by b_rubenstein » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:09 am

As a native New Yawker for the past 56 years, I can tell you that we pronounce Houston the way that we do so that we will never...ever...be mistaken for Texans :wink:

I've also noticed in a number of forums that non-native English speakers write significantly better English than many Americans.

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