pronounciation of english

bulborum botanicum
Tue, 27 Jul 2010 15:13:57 PDT
Finally with a lot of words you say the same as I do

*Lets grow bulbs and enjoy this


2010/7/27 Jane McGary <>

> Ben Zonneveld, who is a very good botanist, wrote:
>> The funny thing is that only English speakers every time wonder how to
>> pronounce a name . The explanation is simple. There are about 35
>> different sounds in every language. There are also about the same number
>> ,35, of ways to write these sounds. With one exception unfortunately
>> .The English has about 800 different ways to write these same 35 sounds.
>> For me, if I see a dutch word for the first time I know in most cases
>> how to pronounce it. This is nearly impossible with an English word even
>> if you are a linguist.
> I, who am no botanist but who am a linguist with a BA in Classics, must
> correct this. Many languages have far more than 35 phonemes, or meaningful
> sounds, and a few have fewer than that. I've worked with more than one
> language of which we said, ruefully, that it has more phonemes than
> speakers. (And by the way, the orthography of Dutch is far from
> transparent.)
> The pronunciation of classical Latin and Greek (most people who get caught
> up in this sort of discussion ignore the fact that many botanical names are
> Greek, not Latin) has been reconstructed in various ways at various times,
> and we can be sure that the way these languages were spoken varied from
> place to place and from time to time. You can't base your pronunciation of a
> plant name on whatever you heard in your high school Latin class decades
> ago, because historical phonology has moved on since then.
> I will not loose the standard lecture at this point, but will say only that
> botanical names are best considered loanwords in whatever language context
> they are being used. Most languages' speakers have a strong tendency to
> treat loanwords in certain ways, such as rendering the vowels and assigning
> syllabic stress. These tendencies can vary even between two varieties of the
> same language; for instance, American English speakers tend to assign stress
> to the penultimate syllable of an unfamiliar word, and British speakers to
> the antepenult. Moreover, American speakers are more likely to preserve the
> Continental vowels than are British speakers (i.e., the vowel pronunciations
> most easily heard in Spanish). These are not mistakes; they are just
> characteristics of different language varieties.
> If your interlocutor (the person you're talking with) understands what you
> mean, you are doing all right. If he doesn't, you can write down the word,
> or, if you know how, render it in a different language variety.
> So stop worrying about how to say them and let's worry about how to grow
> them. I am busy with the latter. I'm lifting my whole bulb collection to
> move it into the new bulb house, which will be finished tomorrow! Then the
> mason builds the raised beds inside it, and I, or, I hope, some powerful
> hired hands, bring in the soil components, and the bulbs go into their deep,
> unconstricted new homes, where they should all be much happier than in pots.
> Then I can start rounding up replacements of all the things that froze to
> death last December -- mostly arums, but if you can spare Gladiolus tristis,
> I'm missing it sadly.
> Jane McGary
> Northwestern Oregon, USA
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