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Pronunciation differences that should (not) be represented

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  • hisilome
    Hi again to Mach . Not directly related to the Chinese Mode, I got a small question on your article about phonetic full writing, section 4 Some thoughts on
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 20, 2006
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      Hi again to 'Mach'.

      Not directly related to the Chinese Mode, I got a small question on
      your article about phonetic full writing, section 4 "Some thoughts on
      how to spell words".

      Under "Pronunciation differences that should not be represented" you
      name variations due to "a specific vowel sound...pronounced one way
      by some people but another way by others", and go on to quote the
      example _bite_ (variants in southern US [pure vowel] and in
      Canadian/north England/Cockney English [divers compound vowels]).
      You conclude these different pronunciations need not be reflected in
      tengwar spelling since they "can be referred to in one and the same
      sign with the meaning 'any pronunciation the vowel of _bite_ can
      have'".

      So far, so good.

      But under the heading "Pronunciation differences that should be
      represented" you include incidences "where certain words are
      pronounced one way by some people but another way by others. These
      cases are few and many of them are well-known, e.g. the words
      _either, can't_ that are not pronounced the same way in England and
      the United States."

      Apart from the fact that (I think) there are actually more than
      a "few" such examples, not just between US/British usage, and that in
      the case of ei[=ai]ther vs. ei[=ee]ther I'm not sure this is such a
      clear-cut US/UK dichotomy (but maybe I'm wrong), what I really don't
      get is how these examples are essentially different from the one
      given above, "bite". By the same rationale you apply to "bite", could
      one not also say that the different pronunciations of _either, can't_
      needn't be reflected in tengwar spelling since they can all be
      referred to in one and the same sign with the meaning "any
      pronunciation the diphthong/vowel of _either/can't_ can have?

      Or in other words, isn't the distinction between "specific vowel
      sounds" pronounced one way by some and another by others,
      and "certain words" pronounced one way by some and another by others,
      rather artificial? In particular since, as you also acknowledge, the
      majority of pronunciation variants in English have to do with vowels,
      not consonants. So, if two words are pronounced differently, chances
      are it's because one (or more) vowels are enunciated differently (of
      course different stress also often comes into it).

      I have much fewer problems with what you write about contrasting (or
      otherwise) _sets of vowels_ distinguished (or not) by different
      speakers.

      I've also always felt that one of the points of phonemic spelling was
      this: that pronunciation differences are represented where two words
      are spelt the same way, but pronounced differently _to indicate
      different meaning_, as in the case of _live_ (verb) and _live_
      (adj.), or _export_ (verb) and _export_ (noun), but again this is
      just my personal opinion. :)

      Greetings,

      Hisilome
    • j_mach_wust
      The difference between pronunciation variation of the vowel of bite and the vowel of either is that in the case of bite , I guess virtually all English
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 20, 2006
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        The difference between pronunciation variation of the vowel of "bite"
        and the vowel of "either" is that in the case of "bite", I guess
        virtually all English speakers would agree that the word "bite"
        belongs to the category of words with the TIE vowel, even though their
        actual pronunciations of that vowel may differ a lot. In the case of
        "either", however, some would say it belongs to the category of words
        with the TIE vowel, but others would say it belongs to the category of
        words with the TREE vowel.

        kry@s:
        j. 'mach' wust
      • hisilome
        ... [I see. So basically, the two categories we re dealing with here are regional variations from a generally acknowledged standard (as in the case of _bite_),
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 20, 2006
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          --- In elfscript@yahoogroups.com, "j_mach_wust" <j_mach_wust@...> wrote:
          >
          > The difference between pronunciation variation of the vowel of "bite"
          > and the vowel of "either" is that in the case of "bite", I guess
          > virtually all English speakers would agree that the word "bite"
          > belongs to the category of words with the TIE vowel, even though their
          > actual pronunciations of that vowel may differ a lot. In the case of
          > "either", however, some would say it belongs to the category of words
          > with the TIE vowel, but others would say it belongs to the category of
          > words with the TREE vowel.
          >
          > kry@s:
          > j. 'mach' wust

          [I see. So basically, the two categories we're dealing with here are
          regional variations from a generally acknowledged standard (as in the
          case of _bite_), and what one might describe as two different standards
          altogether (_either, can't_).

          I still think the line may not always be easy to draw, but as a rough
          guideline it makes sense.

          Thanks!]

          Hisilome
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