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pronunciation of "v"

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  • ragnarrgunnarsson
    Heil, I have been wondering how the v is pronounced, for example in vikingr . I think I read in the EV Gordon book that it s like the b in Spanish. Is
    Message 1 of 26 , Sep 2, 2002
      Heil,

      I have been wondering how the "v" is pronounced, for example
      in "vikingr". I think I read in the EV Gordon book that it's like
      the "b" in Spanish. Is there a word in American/English that has
      the correct syllable?

      Thanks!
    • Dan Bray
      Heill Ragnarr, There is no English equivalent. Just try pronouncing a v with both lips instead of teeth and lips. Vertu heill! Dan ... -- Daniel Bray
      Message 2 of 26 , Sep 2, 2002
        Heill Ragnarr,

        There is no English equivalent. Just try pronouncing a 'v' with both lips
        instead of teeth and lips.

        Vertu heill!

        Dan

        ragnarrgunnarsson wrote:

        > Heil,
        >
        > I have been wondering how the "v" is pronounced, for example
        > in "vikingr". I think I read in the EV Gordon book that it's like
        > the "b" in Spanish. Is there a word in American/English that has
        > the correct syllable?
        >
        > Thanks!
        >
        >
        > Sumir hafa kvæði...
        > ...aðrir spakmæli.
        >
        > - Keth
        >
        > Homepage: http://www.hi.is/~haukurth/norse/
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > norse_course-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

        --
        Daniel Bray
        dbray@...
        School of Studies in Religion A20
        University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia

        "The smarter someone's suit, the dirtier their soul," - Imogen Edwards-Jones
      • arnljotr
        The v in víkingr was definitely pronunced like english w . Because of this, one should really write wiking in english. Personally I pronunce it with
        Message 3 of 26 , Sep 3, 2002
          The 'v' in 'víkingr' was definitely pronunced like english 'w'.
          Because of this, one should really write 'wiking' in english.
          Personally I pronunce it with the w-sound when discussing the subject
          in that language.

          In the central Scandinavian dialect called 'dalska' one still has
          this pronunciation, and ON 'víkingr' should be pronunced something
          like [waikiNg] in that dialect, where [N] means the ng-sound.

          /Arnie



          --- In norse_course@y..., "ragnarrgunnarsson" <keith@d...> wrote:
          > Heil,
          >
          > I have been wondering how the "v" is pronounced, for example
          > in "vikingr". I think I read in the EV Gordon book that it's like
          > the "b" in Spanish. Is there a word in American/English that has
          > the correct syllable?
          >
          > Thanks!
        • konrad_oddsson
          The v in víkingr was definitely pronunced like english w . Because of this, one should really write wiking in english. Personally I pronunce it with
          Message 4 of 26 , Sep 3, 2002
            "The 'v' in 'víkingr' was definitely pronunced like english 'w'.
            Because of this, one should really write 'wiking' in english.
            Personally I pronunce it with the w-sound when discussing the
            subject in that language."

            Yes, ´v´ was definitely pronounced like ´w´ during at least the
            earlier half of the viking age and probably until the end of the
            viking age in many Scandinvian dialects; however, the question as to
            whether one should pronounce ´v´ or ´w´ today has more to do with
            whether or not one wants to speak norse. Those who wish to actually
            speak norse must learn to pronounce ´v´, whereas those who do not
            wish to speak norse may pronounce ´w´ in quoting norse words in a
            non-nordic language. ´W´ does not work with nordic speakers today,
            much as using a pre-viking age pronunciation would not have worked
            with those living in the viking age. Although we know that many
            dialects of one and the same language were spoken in viking age
            Scandinavia, attempting to pronounce any of these old dialects today
            should clearly come long after having actually learned to speak a
            living Scandinavian language. In order to pronounce ´w´ in a modern
            norse dialect today, we would have to change the pronunciation of
            the whole language according to whatever scheme was decided upon in
            order to be consistent with whatever old dialect and era we were
            aiming for. Also, viking age ´w´ was not exactly like modern english
            ´w´, but rather closer to modern norse ´u´.


            "In the central Scandinavian dialect called 'dalska' one still has
            this pronunciation, and ON 'víkingr' should be pronunced something
            like [waikiNg] in that dialect, where [N] means the ng-sound."

            There are definitely many modern dialects spoken in Scandinavia
            today which preserve individual sounds found in few or no other
            living dialects. Some of these sounds are ancient, others are not.
            New Zealanders and Texans speak the same language, but estimating
            the respective similarity of each of these dialects to Anglo-Saxon
            in terms of actual sounds would be difficult, if not impossible.
            Fortunately, grammar is more important than pronunciation. Texan and
            New Zealandic are the same language because they share the same or
            nearly the same grammar. If I were a viking age Norwegian, I could
            move to a given district in Sweden and not have to learn a "new"
            language. The locals, however, would always be able to hear from my
            speech that I was from "out of town". Grammar will make a good king,
            but his brother Pronounciation is not suitable for the throne.

            Regards,
            Konrad.
          • Haukur Thorgeirsson
            ... I will not vouch for the phonological subtleties of other northern languages - but at least in Icelandic our v is neither pronounced as the English v
            Message 5 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
              > "The 'v' in 'víkingr' was definitely pronunced like english 'w'.
              > Because of this, one should really write 'wiking' in english.
              > Personally I pronunce it with the w-sound when discussing the
              > subject in that language."
              >
              > Yes, ´v´ was definitely pronounced like ´w´ during at least the
              > earlier half of the viking age and probably until the end of the
              > viking age in many Scandinvian dialects; however, the question as to
              > whether one should pronounce ´v´ or ´w´ today has more to do with
              > whether or not one wants to speak norse. Those who wish to actually
              > speak norse must learn to pronounce ´v´, whereas those who do not
              > wish to speak norse may pronounce ´w´ in quoting norse words in a
              > non-nordic language. ´W´ does not work with nordic speakers today,

              I will not vouch for the phonological subtleties of other northern
              languages - but at least in Icelandic our 'v' is neither pronounced
              as the English 'v' nor as the English 'w'. To me the English 'v'
              sounds almost exactly like 'f' and I have trouble differentiating
              between 'f', 'v' and 'w' when I (try to) speak English. I think many
              or most Icelanders have trouble with that distinction - it tends to
              end up as either no difference between 'v' and 'f' or no difference
              between 'v' and 'w' (probably more common).

              I agree that 'wiking' would be a more logical English form than
              'viking'. I suppose the Old English 'wícing' died out and 'viking'
              is a fairly recent loan word.


              > Grammar will make a good king, but his brother Pronounciation
              > is not suitable for the throne.

              Who better for the position of jester? :-)

              Kveðja,
              Haukur


              --
              I'll grant thee random access to my heart,
              Thoul't tell me all the constants of thy love;
              And so we two shall all love's lemmas prove
              And in our bound partition never part.

              Cancel me not -- for what then shall remain?
              Abscissas, some mantissas, modules, modes,
              A root or two, a torus and a node:
              The inverse of my verse, a null domain.

              I see the eigenvalue in thine eye,
              I hear the tender tensor in thy sigh.
              Bernoulli would have been content to die
              Had he but known such a-squared cos 2(thi)!
              -- Stanislaw Lem, "Cyberiad"
            • tsdoughty@aol.com
              In a message dated 9/5/02 10:24:29 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... It never ceases to amaze me how subtle differences can be so important to native speakers of a
              Message 6 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
                In a message dated 9/5/02 10:24:29 AM Eastern Daylight Time, haukurth@... writes:


                To me the English 'v'
                sounds almost exactly like 'f' and I have trouble differentiating
                between 'f', 'v' and 'w' when I (try to) speak English.


                It never ceases to amaze me how subtle differences can be so important to native speakers of a language and yet sail by the ears of others without registering.  You're right, 'f' and 'v' are completely distinct in English, and we would never confuse words like "fine" and "vine".   And yet as an English speaker I have all kinds of trouble with the Icelandic/Norse vowels 'e' vs. 'ei', which I'm sure to you are totally distinct.

                Tim
              • Haukur Thorgeirsson
                ... Exactly :-) To me the difference between get (I can) and geit (goat) is as clear as day but the difference between fine and vine is as clear as a
                Message 7 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
                  > > To me the English 'v'
                  > > sounds almost exactly like 'f' and I have trouble differentiating
                  > > between 'f', 'v' and 'w' when I (try to) speak English.
                  >
                  > It never ceases to amaze me how subtle differences can be so important to
                  > native speakers of a language and yet sail by the ears of others without
                  > registering. You're right, 'f' and 'v' are completely distinct in English,
                  > and we would never confuse words like "fine" and "vine". And yet as an
                  > English speaker I have all kinds of trouble with the Icelandic/Norse vowels
                  > 'e' vs. 'ei', which I'm sure to you are totally distinct.

                  Exactly :-) To me the difference between 'get' (I can) and 'geit' (goat)
                  is as clear as day but the difference between 'fine' and 'vine' is as clear
                  as a foggy night.

                  Another English subtlety which I have trouble reproducing is the difference
                  between the _quality_ of the vowels in 'boot' and 'book'. To me, however,
                  the vowel in 'boot' is clearly _longer_ (different in quantity) from the
                  one in 'book'. Native English speakers don't seem to notice that difference
                  - yet, to my ears at least, they produce it accurately every time they utter
                  the words.

                  Kveðja,
                  Haukur
                • tsdoughty@aol.com
                  ... Wow, you nailed the other _big_ thing that s made it very hard to master pronunciation of ON/Icelandic! In English we are never taught the concept of long
                  Message 8 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002

                    To me, however,
                    the vowel in 'boot' is clearly _longer_ (different in quantity) from the
                    one in 'book'. Native English speakers don't seem to notice that difference
                    - yet, to my ears at least, they produce it accurately every time they utter
                    the words.


                    Wow, you nailed the other _big_ thing that's made it very hard to master pronunciation of ON/Icelandic!  In English we are never taught the concept of long vs. short vowels in terms of quantity.  Every schoolchild when learning to read is taught "long" vowels (cane) vs. "short" vowels (can), but in this case it's a misuse of the terms, since it really means two totally different vowels.  We are actually unaware, as you point out, that the vowels take longer to sound.  And when I read that in many languages one has to pronounce the vowels for a longer or shorter period of time, I was mystified.  It took me years to understand that concept, let alone hear the difference.

                    Tim
                  • Louis Erickson
                    ... Interesting; this is a difference that I haven t heard clerly. Do you know of anywhere that tries to explain it well? -- Louis Erickson -
                    Message 9 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
                      On Thu, 5 Sep 2002 tsdoughty@... wrote:

                      > > To me, however, the vowel in 'boot' is clearly _longer_ (different in
                      > >quantity) from the one in 'book'. Native English speakers don't seem to
                      > >notice that difference - yet, to my ears at least, they produce it
                      > >accurately every time they utter the words.
                      >
                      > Wow, you nailed the other _big_ thing that's made it very hard to master
                      > pronunciation of ON/Icelandic! In English we are never taught the concept of
                      > long vs. short vowels in terms of quantity. Every schoolchild when learning
                      > to read is taught "long" vowels (cane) vs. "short" vowels (can), but in this
                      > case it's a misuse of the terms, since it really means two totally different
                      > vowels. We are actually unaware, as you point out, that the vowels take
                      > longer to sound. And when I read that in many languages one has to pronounce
                      > the vowels for a longer or shorter period of time, I was mystified. It took
                      > me years to understand that concept, let alone hear the difference.

                      Interesting; this is a difference that I haven't heard clerly. Do you
                      know of anywhere that tries to explain it well?

                      --
                      Louis Erickson - wwonko@... - http://www.rdwarf.com/~wwonko/

                      Overflow on /dev/null, please empty the bit bucket.
                    • tsdoughty@aol.com
                      In a message dated 9/5/02 3:18:53 PM Eastern Daylight Time, wwonko@rdwarf.com ... No, nowhere, which is why it took me so many years to figure it out for
                      Message 10 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
                        In a message dated 9/5/02 3:18:53 PM Eastern Daylight Time, wwonko@... writes:


                        Interesting; this is a difference that I haven't heard clerly.  Do you
                        know of anywhere that tries to explain it well?


                        No, nowhere, which is why it took me so many years to figure it out for myself.  I remember reading in a Latin textbook back in the '70s about long and short-length vowels in Latin and their importance in word meaning, and had no clue what they were talking about.  When I started reading about ON recently I read the same things so I started analyzing exactly how I speak myself, and that's when the coin dropped.  Now, I've tried to find Scandinavians to listen to as they speak and I finally realize there is a difference.

                        Here's an example, which I relized from hearing Chinese people speak English in Los Angeles.  They have trouble with distinguishing words such as "dog" and "dock".  I did some diction coaching with them, and realized that the final consonant wasn't the problem, it was the length of the vowel.  When followed by a voiced consonant such as "g" , we always hold the "o" vowel longer than when an unvoiced consonant follows.

                        Try it, listen carefully and you'll see what I mean.  There are lots of examples you can play with, such as "dad" & "dat", "lag" & "lack", etc.  Now, we do take care to pronounce the end consonant correctly, but you'll find it's very difficult for yourself to say "dog" with a quick vowel.  The mouth and throat just don't want to do it.

                        Tim

                      • ragnarrgunnarsson
                        Heill Haukur, ... I don t know if you ve read or heard this, or not, but v is voiced and f is unvoiced. To my sensibilities, at least, that is a non-subtle
                        Message 11 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
                          Heill Haukur,

                          > > > To me the English 'v'
                          > > > sounds almost exactly like 'f'

                          I don't know if you've read or heard this, or not, but 'v' is voiced
                          and 'f' is unvoiced.

                          To my sensibilities, at least, that is a non-subtle distinction.

                          > Another English subtlety which I have trouble reproducing is the
                          difference
                          > between the _quality_ of the vowels in 'boot' and 'book'.

                          I think of this difference as a subtle pronunciation change. The
                          lips are more involved in shaping the former, and the latter is
                          closer to a grunt.

                          By the way, is the 'r' at the end of "vikingr" pronounced? I
                          thought I had read that it was pronounced, but not a separate
                          syllable. But two posts to this group today implied it's silent?


                          - Ragnarr "an American who wants to learn how to speak Old Norse
                          like a Vikingr" Gunnarsson
                        • tsdoughty@aol.com
                          ... That was the point, that what is subtle or non-subtle lies in a person s ear, and that children raised in a language come to regard certain phonetic
                          Message 12 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
                            keith@... writes:


                            I don't know if you've read or heard this, or not, but 'v' is voiced
                            and 'f' is unvoiced.

                            To my sensibilities, at least, that is a non-subtle distinction.


                            That was the point, that what is subtle or non-subtle lies in a person's ear, and that children raised in a language come to regard certain phonetic qualities as important while disregarding other ones.  This becomes fixed at a certain point in the child's development.  To an English ear 'v' & 'f'' are important distinctions, while to a native Icelandic ear they are not.

                            Tim
                          • arnljotr
                            Also, viking age ´w´ was not exactly like modern english ´w´, but rather closer to modern norse ´u´. I totally agree with this. But it s hard to use
                            Message 13 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
                              "Also, viking age ´w´ was not exactly like modern english
                              ´w´, but rather closer to modern norse ´u´."

                              I totally agree with this. But it's hard to use the letter 'u' for
                              this sound in an english speaking context.

                              "Grammar will make a good king, but his brother Pronounciation is not
                              suitable for the throne."

                              Well, the dialect of Dalska has a grammar that is quiet similar to
                              the swedish (and of course norwegian) that you find in law texts and
                              other documents from the 14th and 15th centuries. Just taking an
                              example: this is how one counts from one to four in dalska (don't
                              care to much about the pronunciation - it's meant to be more of
                              morphological interest)

                              ienn kall (nom)
                              ienum kalle (dat)
                              ienn kall (acc)
                              - all meaning "one/an old man".

                              ie kulla (nom) - ['ie' is nasalized]
                              ienner kullu (dat)
                              iena kullu (acc)
                              - all meaning "one/a girl"

                              iett aus (nom)
                              ienu ause (dat)
                              iett aus (acc)
                              - all meaning "one/a house"

                              twer kaller (nom)
                              twemm kallum (dat)
                              tuo kalla (acc) - ['uo' is nasalized)
                              - all meaning "two old men"

                              twär kullur (nom)
                              twemm kullum (dat)
                              twär kullur (acc)
                              - all meaning "two girls"

                              tau aus (nom)
                              twemm ausum (dat)
                              tau aus (acc)
                              - all meaning "two houses"

                              trair kaller (nom)
                              trimm kallum (dat)
                              triuo kalla (acc) - ['iuo' is nasalized)
                              - all meaning "three old men"

                              triär kullur (nom)
                              trimm kullum (dat)
                              triär kullur (acc)
                              - all meaning "three girls"

                              tråy aus (nom)
                              trimm ausum (dat)
                              tråy aus (acc)
                              - all meaning "three houses"

                              fiuorer kaller (nom)
                              fiuorum kallum (dat)
                              fiuora kalla (acc) - ['iuo' is nasalized)
                              - all meaning "four old men"

                              fiuorer kullur (nom)
                              fiuorum kullum (dat)
                              fiuorer kullur (acc)
                              - all meaning "four girls"

                              fiuore aus (nom) - ['e' is nasalized]
                              fiuorum ausum (dat)
                              fiuore aus (nom) - ['e' is nasalized]
                              - all meaning "four houses"

                              This system is quiet far from that of standard Swedish and "standard"
                              Norwegian, and also quiet far from all other dialects of Scandinavian
                              spoken on the Scandinavian mainland. My own north Scandinavian
                              dialect has a much more simpler system (but we have instead dative
                              ending '-om' for the remainder of the numerals up to 12, like 'Je ha
                              hylpe tolvom.' - 'I have helped the twelve ones.')

                              So, Dalska is not just interesting because they have preserved the
                              difference between ON 'v' and 'f' (as in 'hafa'), they have so many
                              other nice features one can look at (examples: ON 'nátt' is still
                              pronunced with long vowel and long consonant in modern
                              Dalska: 'noott' ; ON 'gefa' is still pronunced with short vowel and
                              short consonant: 'dsävo').

                              /Arnie
                            • Dan Bray
                              Heil allt! This is an interesting phenomenon, and one that causes English speakers no end of strife when learning new languages. The problem arises from
                              Message 14 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
                                Heil allt!

                                This is an interesting phenomenon, and one that causes English speakers no end of
                                strife when learning new languages. The problem arises from changes in vowels in
                                the historical development of English. Old English used to have that primary
                                distinction between long and short vowels based on quantity, but in the development
                                towards Modern English, this distinction changed to one of quality. For example, OE
                                'á' became the modern 'oo' sound (se máne > moon; tvá > two), which is actually two
                                steps, first from a long (quantity) 'a' sound, then a long (quantity) 'o' sound,
                                then to a long (quantity) 'u' sound (although in this case, the distinction remains
                                one of quantity, there is also a change of quality as well). The difference between
                                'can' and 'cane' shows the development of long 'æ' (ash), which has produced a
                                sound more or less similar to ON 'ei'. Note this is also a diphthong (a combination
                                of vowels), a change in quality rather than quantity. Other examples are: OE 'ú' >
                                'ou' in spelling, but 'au' in pronunciation (ie. OE cú > ModE cow; OE þú > ME thou,
                                etc.); OE 'í' > 'i' in spelling, but 'ai' in pronunciation (ie. OE 'íc' > ModE 'I';
                                OE mín > ModE mine), and so forth. Thus, what used to be a distinction based on
                                vowel quantity is now based on vowel quality, and this is what we get taught in
                                school as long vowels, which doesn't work with any other language. That being said,
                                there are quantitative distinctions in English vowels, but these are not what we
                                get taught are long vowels (nor does spelling necessarily demonstrate regular
                                patterns for them, nor is there necessarily any grammatical relation between them -
                                ie. 'rid' vs. 'read' or 'reed'; 'rod' vs. 'road'; and the old favourite 'book' vs.
                                'boot').

                                Interestingly, Icelandic has undergone a similar process, but in a much more
                                limited way. For example, OI 'á' and 'é' have gone from being pure vowels in the
                                medieval period to 'au' and 'ie' (in pronunciation, they are still spelled the
                                same) in the modern language.

                                Hope this clears up some of the confusion!

                                Dan

                                Louis Erickson wrote:

                                > On Thu, 5 Sep 2002 tsdoughty@... wrote:
                                >
                                > > > To me, however, the vowel in 'boot' is clearly _longer_ (different in
                                > > >quantity) from the one in 'book'. Native English speakers don't seem to
                                > > >notice that difference - yet, to my ears at least, they produce it
                                > > >accurately every time they utter the words.
                                > >
                                > > Wow, you nailed the other _big_ thing that's made it very hard to master
                                > > pronunciation of ON/Icelandic! In English we are never taught the concept of
                                > > long vs. short vowels in terms of quantity. Every schoolchild when learning
                                > > to read is taught "long" vowels (cane) vs. "short" vowels (can), but in this
                                > > case it's a misuse of the terms, since it really means two totally different
                                > > vowels. We are actually unaware, as you point out, that the vowels take
                                > > longer to sound. And when I read that in many languages one has to pronounce
                                > > the vowels for a longer or shorter period of time, I was mystified. It took
                                > > me years to understand that concept, let alone hear the difference.
                                >
                                > Interesting; this is a difference that I haven't heard clerly. Do you
                                > know of anywhere that tries to explain it well?
                                >
                                > --
                                > Louis Erickson - wwonko@... - http://www.rdwarf.com/~wwonko/
                                >
                                > Overflow on /dev/null, please empty the bit bucket.
                                >
                                >
                                > Sumir hafa kvæði...
                                > ...aðrir spakmæli.
                                >
                                > - Keth
                                >
                                > Homepage: http://www.hi.is/~haukurth/norse/
                                >
                                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                > norse_course-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                >
                                >
                                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

                                --
                                Daniel Bray
                                dbray@...
                                School of Studies in Religion A20
                                University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia

                                "The smarter someone's suit, the dirtier their soul," - Imogen Edwards-Jones
                              • Dan Bray
                                Heil allt! How would an Icelander then distinguish between finna and vinna , for example? Is it dependent on context? Dan ... ADVERTISEMENT [Image] ... --
                                Message 15 of 26 , Sep 5, 2002
                                  Heil allt!

                                  How would an Icelander then distinguish between 'finna' and 'vinna', for example? Is it dependent on context?

                                  Dan

                                  tsdoughty@... wrote:

                                   keith@... writes:
                                   
                                   
                                  I don't know if you've read or heard this, or not, but 'v' is voiced
                                  and 'f' is unvoiced.

                                  To my sensibilities, at least, that is a non-subtle distinction.

                                  That was the point, that what is subtle or non-subtle lies in a person's ear, and that children raised in a language come to regard certain phonetic qualities as important while disregarding other ones.  This becomes fixed at a certain point in the child's development.  To an English ear 'v' & 'f'' are important distinctions, while to a native Icelandic ear they are not.

                                  Tim

                                  Sumir hafa kvæði...
                                  ...aðrir spakmæli.

                                  - Keth

                                  Homepage: http://www.hi.is/~haukurth/norse/

                                  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                  norse_course-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                   

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                                  --
                                  Daniel Bray
                                  dbray@...
                                  School of Studies in Religion A20
                                  University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia

                                  "The smarter someone's suit, the dirtier their soul," - Imogen Edwards-Jones
                                   

                                • Haukur Thorgeirsson
                                  ... Not quite there yet :-) The form heil is either feminine singular nominative/accusative or neuter plural nominative/accusative whereas allt is neuter
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Sep 6, 2002
                                    > Heil allt!

                                    Not quite there yet :-) The form 'heil' is either feminine
                                    singular nominative/accusative or neuter plural nominative/accusative
                                    whereas 'allt' is neuter singular nominative/accusative.


                                    > How would an Icelander then distinguish between 'finna' and 'vinna', for
                                    > example? Is it dependent on context?

                                    I seem to have been misunderstood. :-) I have no trouble distinguishing
                                    between Icelandic 'f' and Icelandic 'v'. My troubles are in reliably
                                    producing the difference between 'f', 'v' and 'w' in English.

                                    To understand what I mean we can put the consonants on some sort of linear
                                    scale (a gross oversimplificiation - but hopefully illustrative).

                                    Icelandic: f v
                                    English: fv w
                                    1234

                                    Let's say the Icelandic 'f' occupies position 1, our 'v' has position 3
                                    and the English consonants are positioned as above. Then what happens
                                    when someone utters an English 'v'? In my brain it'll have a tendency
                                    to fall into one of the two slots occupied in my Icelandic system and
                                    thus to be recognized as either 'f' or 'v'.

                                    Very fine ferry vine.

                                    Haukur
                                  • Haukur Thorgeirsson
                                    Heill Ragnarr! ... But that was the whole point! To you the difference between voiced and unvoiced f is clear but to me it is subtle. That s why linguists
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Sep 6, 2002
                                      Heill Ragnarr!


                                      > I don't know if you've read or heard this, or not, but 'v' is voiced
                                      > and 'f' is unvoiced.
                                      >
                                      > To my sensibilities, at least, that is a non-subtle distinction.

                                      But that was the whole point! To you the difference between voiced and
                                      unvoiced 'f' is clear but to me it is subtle. That's why linguists don't
                                      talk that much about 'subtle' and 'non-subtle' but rather 'phonemic' and
                                      'non-phonemic'. If a given difference in sounds makes a difference
                                      in meaning for speakers of a given language then that difference is
                                      PHONEMIC in that language - and it doesn't matter how 'subtle' or
                                      'un-subtle' a speaker with another mother tongue thinks it is.

                                      An example. In Icelandic there is no phonemic difference between
                                      voiced and unvoiced plosives. It follows that hearing the difference
                                      between a French 't' and a French 'd' is extremely hard for me.

                                      On the other hand voice is phonemic in Icelandic 'n'. A voiced 'n'
                                      and an unvoiced 'n' are two different phonemes. This is hard for speakers
                                      of many other languages to grokk since this phonemic difference in voice
                                      is not present in their mother tongues.

                                      Thus the proposition "Voice is a non-subtle distinction" is much too
                                      general. You have to look at individual languages and individual phonemes.

                                      The following monosyllables are entirely distinct in Icelandic.
                                      Try pronouncing them.

                                      hljóð (sound)
                                      hlóð (loaded)
                                      hjóð (not a word - but a phonetically legal syllable)
                                      ljóð (poem)
                                      jóð (child)
                                      lóð (weight)



                                      > By the way, is the 'r' at the end of "vikingr" pronounced? I
                                      > thought I had read that it was pronounced, but not a separate
                                      > syllable. But two posts to this group today implied it's silent?

                                      Why would it have been written if it wasn't pronounced?
                                      I can think of three possibilities:

                                      1. It is a loan-word from another language - the spelling is kept
                                      but the ON phonetic system doesn't allow 'r' in this position
                                      so it isn't pronounced.
                                      2. It was originally pronounced but later on the 'r' fell away in
                                      the pronunciation but was kept in the spelling.
                                      3. It isn't pronounced but is written to maintain some sort of
                                      structural integrity in the spelling. For example: "all strongly
                                      declined masculine nouns have an 'r' in the nominative - but when
                                      it is added to certain consonants, like 'ng', it is not pronounced".

                                      Don't think of the spelling as causa sui. Tell me which of those you
                                      think are likely and any other possibilities you might think of.

                                      Kveðja,
                                      Haukur

                                      --
                                      The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first
                                      half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and
                                      pleasant, the second half still balmy and quite pleasant for those who
                                      hadn't heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice
                                      for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time
                                      during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it
                                      but your brain wasn't reacting yet to let you know.
                                      -- Winning sentence, 1986 Bulwer-Lytton bad fiction contest.
                                    • Haukur Thorgeirsson
                                      Heil! ... A good example. This is another thing Icelanders typically have problems with. As I said before there is no phonemic difference between a voiced an
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Sep 6, 2002
                                        Heil!

                                        > Try it, listen carefully and you'll see what I mean. There are lots of
                                        > examples you can play with, such as "dad" & "dat", "lag" & "lack", etc. Now,
                                        > we do take care to pronounce the end consonant correctly, but you'll find
                                        > it's very difficult for yourself to say "dog" with a quick vowel. The mouth
                                        > and throat just don't want to do it.

                                        A good example. This is another thing Icelanders typically have problems with.
                                        As I said before there is no phonemic difference between a voiced an unvoiced
                                        dental plosive ([d], [t]) in Icelandic. Thus we typically don't hear that the
                                        final consonant in "dog" is voiced and have trouble reproducing the voice.

                                        We hear the difference in length very clearly, however - and that's what we
                                        reproduce in uttering those English words. Typically, and embarrassingly,
                                        we will include a pre-aspiration in words like "lack" and "dat".

                                        Kveðja,
                                        Haukur
                                      • Dan Bray
                                        ... D oh! I was going for neuter plural (ie. a mixed gender audience), but was fooled by allr being a collective noun, thus, I put it in the singular. In
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Sep 6, 2002
                                          Haukur Thorgeirsson wrote:

                                          > > Heil allt!
                                          >
                                          > Not quite there yet :-) The form 'heil' is either feminine
                                          > singular nominative/accusative or neuter plural nominative/accusative
                                          > whereas 'allt' is neuter singular nominative/accusative.
                                          >

                                          D'oh! I was going for neuter plural (ie. a mixed gender audience), but was
                                          fooled by 'allr' being a collective noun, thus, I put it in the singular. In
                                          that case, would 'heilt allt' or 'heil öll' be more appropriate? Or am I on
                                          the wrong track altogether? Who would have thought a simple greeting could be
                                          so difficult?

                                          >
                                          > > How would an Icelander then distinguish between 'finna' and 'vinna', for
                                          > > example? Is it dependent on context?
                                          >
                                          > I seem to have been misunderstood. :-) I have no trouble distinguishing
                                          > between Icelandic 'f' and Icelandic 'v'. My troubles are in reliably
                                          > producing the difference between 'f', 'v' and 'w' in English.
                                          >
                                          > To understand what I mean we can put the consonants on some sort of linear
                                          > scale (a gross oversimplificiation - but hopefully illustrative).
                                          >
                                          > Icelandic: f v
                                          > English: fv w
                                          > 1234
                                          >
                                          > Let's say the Icelandic 'f' occupies position 1, our 'v' has position 3
                                          > and the English consonants are positioned as above. Then what happens
                                          > when someone utters an English 'v'? In my brain it'll have a tendency
                                          > to fall into one of the two slots occupied in my Icelandic system and
                                          > thus to be recognized as either 'f' or 'v'.
                                          >
                                          > Very fine ferry vine.
                                          >
                                          > Haukur
                                          >

                                          I'm curious then, as to what makes the Icelandic 'v' different to both English
                                          'v' and 'w' (it's not bilabial, is it?). I understand what you're getting at
                                          with the diagram (and I've come across this problem with other languages - but
                                          more often with vowels), but the positioning came out all wonky on my email.
                                          If I've guessed right, English 'f' is at position 1, English 'v' is at
                                          position 2, and English 'w' is at position 4...


                                          --
                                          Daniel Bray
                                          dbray@...
                                          School of Studies in Religion A20
                                          University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia

                                          "The smarter someone's suit, the dirtier their soul," - Imogen Edwards-Jones
                                        • Haukur Thorgeirsson
                                          ... correct) is just funny. ... No, it s not bilabial - though the ON v may have been. Our v is not a voiced f . It s not even a fricative - it s an
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Sep 6, 2002
                                            > > Not quite there yet :-) The form 'heil' is either feminine
                                            > > singular nominative/accusative or neuter plural nominative/accusative
                                            > > whereas 'allt' is neuter singular nominative/accusative.
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            > D'oh! I was going for neuter plural (ie. a mixed gender audience), but was
                                            > fooled by 'allr' being a collective noun, thus, I put it in the singular. In
                                            > that case, would 'heilt allt' or 'heil öll' be more appropriate?

                                            :-) 'heil öll' is fine but 'heilt allt' (although grammatically
                                            correct) is just funny.

                                            > > Very fine ferry vine.

                                            > I'm curious then, as to what makes the Icelandic 'v' different to both English
                                            > 'v' and 'w' (it's not bilabial, is it?).

                                            No, it's not bilabial - though the ON 'v' may have been.
                                            Our 'v' is not a voiced 'f'. It's not even a fricative -
                                            it's an approximant. I wonder if an English speaker would
                                            hear it as 'v', 'w' or neither.


                                            > If I've guessed right, English 'f' is at position 1, English 'v' is at
                                            > position 2, and English 'w' is at position 4...

                                            That was my intention, yes.

                                            Kveðja,
                                            Haukur
                                          • astridr_thorgeirsdottir
                                            ... [snip] ... master ... the concept of ... when learning ... but in this ... totally different ... vowels take ... to pronounce ... mystified. It took ...
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Sep 6, 2002
                                              --- In norse_course@y..., Louis Erickson <wwonko@r...> wrote:
                                              > On Thu, 5 Sep 2002 tsdoughty@a... wrote:
                                              [snip]
                                              > > Wow, you nailed the other _big_ thing that's made it very hard to
                                              master
                                              > > pronunciation of ON/Icelandic! In English we are never taught
                                              the concept of
                                              > > long vs. short vowels in terms of quantity. Every schoolchild
                                              when learning
                                              > > to read is taught "long" vowels (cane) vs. "short" vowels (can),
                                              but in this
                                              > > case it's a misuse of the terms, since it really means two
                                              totally different
                                              > > vowels. We are actually unaware, as you point out, that the
                                              vowels take
                                              > > longer to sound. And when I read that in many languages one has
                                              to pronounce
                                              > > the vowels for a longer or shorter period of time, I was
                                              mystified. It took
                                              > > me years to understand that concept, let alone hear the
                                              difference.
                                              >
                                              > Interesting; this is a difference that I haven't heard clerly. Do
                                              you
                                              > know of anywhere that tries to explain it well?
                                              >
                                              I learned the difference when learning Japanese. In fact, they
                                              write out the long and short vowels differently when using roman
                                              characters. For example: Tookyo (Tokyo) the first o is long, the
                                              second is short. The vowel sound is exactly the same ("long O" in
                                              english - I'd write it as "oh", I'm not a linguist). The amount of
                                              time spend saying the vowel is different.
                                              -Ástriðr
                                            • Dan Bray
                                              Heill Haukur, ... So, allr would normally be used in the plural in this context? I suppose I was fooled because all , being a collective noun, is always in
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Sep 6, 2002
                                                Heill Haukur,

                                                Haukur Thorgeirsson wrote:

                                                > > > Not quite there yet :-) The form 'heil' is either feminine
                                                > > > singular nominative/accusative or neuter plural nominative/accusative
                                                > > > whereas 'allt' is neuter singular nominative/accusative.
                                                > > >
                                                > >
                                                > > D'oh! I was going for neuter plural (ie. a mixed gender audience), but was
                                                > > fooled by 'allr' being a collective noun, thus, I put it in the singular. In
                                                > > that case, would 'heilt allt' or 'heil öll' be more appropriate?
                                                >
                                                > :-) 'heil öll' is fine but 'heilt allt' (although grammatically
                                                > correct) is just funny.
                                                >

                                                So, 'allr' would normally be used in the plural in this context? I suppose I was
                                                fooled because 'all', being a collective noun, is always in the singular in English.
                                                How would you distinguish singular and plural uses of a word like 'allr'?

                                                >
                                                > > > Very fine ferry vine.
                                                >
                                                > > I'm curious then, as to what makes the Icelandic 'v' different to both English
                                                > > 'v' and 'w' (it's not bilabial, is it?).
                                                >
                                                > No, it's not bilabial - though the ON 'v' may have been.
                                                > Our 'v' is not a voiced 'f'. It's not even a fricative -
                                                > it's an approximant. I wonder if an English speaker would
                                                > hear it as 'v', 'w' or neither.
                                                >

                                                I'm even more curious now. If it's not bilabial or a labiodental fricative, how is
                                                it articulated?

                                                >
                                                > > If I've guessed right, English 'f' is at position 1, English 'v' is at
                                                > > position 2, and English 'w' is at position 4...
                                                >
                                                > That was my intention, yes.
                                                >

                                                OK, I can see how the confusion arises now.

                                                >
                                                > Kveðja,
                                                > Haukur
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Sumir hafa kvæði...
                                                > ...aðrir spakmæli.
                                                >
                                                > - Keth
                                                >
                                                > Homepage: http://www.hi.is/~haukurth/norse/
                                                >
                                                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                                > norse_course-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

                                                --
                                                Daniel Bray
                                                dbray@...
                                                School of Studies in Religion A20
                                                University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia

                                                "The smarter someone's suit, the dirtier their soul," - Imogen Edwards-Jones
                                              • Haukur Thorgeirsson
                                                Heill Dan! ... For example: Allr sá dagr = All that day Allir þeir dagar = All those days ... Hmm... It is articulated by touching (but not holding) the
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Sep 7, 2002
                                                  Heill Dan!


                                                  > So, 'allr' would normally be used in the plural in this context? I suppose I was
                                                  > fooled because 'all', being a collective noun, is always in the singular in English.
                                                  > How would you distinguish singular and plural uses of a word like 'allr'?

                                                  For example:

                                                  Allr sá dagr = All that day
                                                  Allir þeir dagar = All those days


                                                  > I'm even more curious now. If it's not bilabial or a labiodental fricative, how is
                                                  > it articulated?

                                                  Hmm... It is articulated by touching (but not holding) the upper teeth to the lower lip.
                                                  I think that makes it a labiodental approximant.

                                                  Kveðja,
                                                  Haukur

                                                  --
                                                  Svá æ folkmýgi.
                                                • Dan Bray
                                                  Heill Haukur, ... That much I understood. It is relatively easy to figure out as an adjective - it just has to agree with the noun. However, when it s being
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Sep 7, 2002
                                                    Heill Haukur,

                                                    Haukur Thorgeirsson wrote:

                                                    > Heill Dan!
                                                    >
                                                    > > So, 'allr' would normally be used in the plural in this context? I suppose I was
                                                    > > fooled because 'all', being a collective noun, is always in the singular in English.
                                                    > > How would you distinguish singular and plural uses of a word like 'allr'?
                                                    >
                                                    > For example:
                                                    >
                                                    > Allr sá dagr = All that day
                                                    > Allir þeir dagar = All those days
                                                    >

                                                    That much I understood. It is relatively easy to figure out as an adjective - it just has to
                                                    agree with the noun. However, when it's being used as a noun (in the sense of 'everybody',
                                                    for example), especially as a collective noun, is singular or plural more appropriate? I
                                                    note Zoega has both 'allt' and 'o:ll' (ie. both singular and plural) being used as a noun,
                                                    and the difference in their usage is not clear.

                                                    >
                                                    > > I'm even more curious now. If it's not bilabial or a labiodental fricative, how is
                                                    > > it articulated?
                                                    >
                                                    > Hmm... It is articulated by touching (but not holding) the upper teeth to the lower lip.
                                                    > I think that makes it a labiodental approximant.
                                                    >

                                                    I think I understand now. Thanks.

                                                    >
                                                    > Kveðja,
                                                    > Haukur
                                                    >
                                                    > --
                                                    > Svá æ folkmýgi.
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > Sumir hafa kvæði...
                                                    > ...aðrir spakmæli.
                                                    >
                                                    > - Keth
                                                    >
                                                    > Homepage: http://www.hi.is/~haukurth/norse/
                                                    >
                                                    > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                                    > norse_course-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

                                                    --
                                                    Daniel Bray
                                                    dbray@...
                                                    School of Studies in Religion A20
                                                    University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia

                                                    "The smarter someone's suit, the dirtier their soul," - Imogen Edwards-Jones
                                                  • Keith
                                                    ... I ve read (I think in E.V. Gordon) that it was a bilabial fricative . I was not then 100% sure of what that meant. I think I know now what it is
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Sep 10, 2002
                                                      Haukur wrote:

                                                      > No, it's not bilabial - though the ON 'v' may have been.

                                                      I've read (I think in E.V. Gordon) that it was a "bilabial
                                                      fricative". I was not then 100% sure of what that meant. I think I
                                                      know now what it is supposed to sound like...
                                                    • Haukur Thorgeirsson
                                                      ... I find this exteremely interesting. Can you point me to any good reference work on this? Are there any minimal sets in Dalska where you can distinguish
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , Sep 11, 2002
                                                        ArnljótR wreit:

                                                        > ON 'nátt' is still
                                                        > pronunced with long vowel and long consonant in modern
                                                        > Dalska: 'noott' ; ON 'gefa' is still pronunced with short vowel and
                                                        > short consonant: 'dsävo').

                                                        I find this exteremely interesting. Can you point me to any
                                                        good reference work on this?

                                                        Are there any minimal sets in Dalska where you can distinguish
                                                        four words solely by the length of the vowel and consonant?
                                                        (Such as ON "at - att - át - átt".)

                                                        Do you know if I can obtain sound samples of Dalska somewhere?

                                                        Kveðja,
                                                        Haukur
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