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Re: [norse_course] Re: pronunciation of "v" - Good King Grammar

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  • 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 1 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
    • 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 2 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 3 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
           

          Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.

          --
          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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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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