110

Several reasons: English pronunciation isn't easy Don't think that, just because you find it easy, most people in the world will; English pronunciation is actually quite complex by any measure. The language has something around 10 vowels (not counting diphthongs) and 44 phonemes; well above the average, and more than double Japanese's 5 vowels and 17 ...


38

For the vowels, pay close attention to the nəquddoth (vowel dots)! Between the shin and the lamedh is a shəwa mark; sometimes this indicates an extra-short vowel, sometimes no vowel at all. But historically, shəwa was always pronounced (shəwa na) if it came after the first consonant in the word. So at the time of the Septuagint, the name was pronounced ...


22

The term is loanword adaptation. It happens every time someone tries to use a word from a different language when speaking another. It's because every language has a different set of sounds that can be recognized as part of that language. A tongue click can be part of ordinary words in some languages in southern and eastern Africa just like any other ...


22

I'm going to take a slightly different approach than Jk's answer, which does a good job coming at this from a Greco-Roman perspective. Instead, I'm going to focus on the Punic situation because it's a bit of an interest of mine In this early stage of Greek (Classical Attic), we had three alveolar stops (I will come back to the bilabials in a bit, don't worry)...


21

Greek αι (/aj/) was regularly borrowed into Latin as ae (/aj/*). In Latin, ae eventually monophthongized into /ɛː/; in Vulgar Latin/Proto-Romance, vowel length was lost and this eventually merged with /ɛ/ or /e/. As a result, Modern French regularly renders Latin ae < AGrk αι with é /e/, as in éther < αἰθήρ as mentioned by Arnaud Fournet. (Old French ...


20

There is very little doubt they were pronounced: they are still pronounced in many languages other than English where they were loaned, and crucially in modern Greek; they were also spelled with those clusters when coeval Latin borrowed them. The fact you cannot pronounce them doesn't mean they cannot be pronounced... No offense, but everyone's ...


19

Here's an answer from developmental psychology: When a baby is born they can natively pronounce phonemes of every language, but as they develop, their brains are constantly calculating and keeping track of which phonemes are more often said. This causes the baby to lose their ability to natively pronounce or even differentiate other phonemes except the ones ...


17

Word final consonants in French are pronounced, but only under certain conditions that has to do with group- or phrase phonology; they are usually not pronounced at the end of a phrase or a word uttered in isolation. Descriptions of late 17th century French suggest a stage where most consonants were (still) pronounced, but some were elided mainly before ...


16

It's called "l-vocalization" (previous related question: Dark L vs L Vocalisation). A range of sounds can result from it, and because of this and also because of differences in transcriptional practices, the transcription in the International Phonetic Alphabet could vary among [w], [u], [ʊ] [o], [ɤ].


15

This question isn't just about spelling, because when these spellings were standardised, it is highly likely that all these words ending with "-ear" were pronounced in the same way. However, gradually between the 15th and 17th centuries as standardisation was setting in, the Great Vowel Shift occurred, changing the pronunciation of the vast majority of the ...


15

The closest term to what you need is hypercorrection which is sometimes called hyperurbanism: In linguistics or usage, hypercorrection is a non-standard usage that results from the over-application of a perceived rule of grammar or a usage prescription. A speaker or writer who produces a hypercorrection generally believes that the form is correct through ...


15

At some time in the history of the Greek languages, the letters Phi, Theta, and Chi represented aspirated consonants /ph/, /th/ and /kh/. The Romans felt that they were different enough from their native sounds /p/, /t/, /k/ (spelled ⟨c⟩) to deserve a special spelling ⟨ph⟩, ⟨th⟩, and ⟨ch⟩. This was the state of sounds at Cicero's time. Later, the Greek ...


14

While it is not clear to me what should be considered as "unique" to a language, since all the languages are different, so also unique in many ways, but they also share many basic features and principles. One can rather look for some typological rarities in English. A typological rarity is a feature that goes against some commonly recognised linguistic ...


14

I'll assume you're a native English speaker. Since English doesn't have these clusters, it's difficult for an English speaker to hear or produce them correctly. But it is not impossible, and there is no reason to think Ancient Greek speakers did not pronounce them. Word initial plosive-plosive clusters are definitely possible since they occur in modern ...


14

“Originally” is a problematic concept. The letter “ä” was not used in Old and Middle High German. The plural of gast is gesti in OHG and geste in MHG. In early New High German the letters ä, ö and ü (or rather: a, o, u with a small superscript “e”, but I cannot find these in Unicode) were used to indicate the umlauted forms of a, o and u, but the distinction ...


14

The problem is, nobody is quite sure how PIE was pronounced! When we talk about PIE phonemes like /*d/, we don't mean it was actually IPA [d]. We mean that "there seems to have been a phoneme, which is pronounced [d] in a lot of descendant languages". But there are also many languages which don't pronounce it [d]: Germanic, Anatolian (an extremely ...


13

As leoboiko mentioned, there are languages with voiceless liquids, like Icelandic. In the IPA, they are simply transcribed with a voicelessness ring diacritic: [r̥] and [l̥]. In Icelandic, these sounds can be analyzed as allophonic realizations of /r/ and /l/ in some contexts, or as the sequences /hr/ and /hl/ in other contexts. It's similar to how in ...


13

Do you mean can you know how to sign a word in American Sign Language by reading it in English? Well no, because the two languages are not really that similar. Sign languages are not transformations of the local spoken language, they are independent fully formed languages with their own vocabularies and grammars. ASL is actually part of the French Sign ...


12

Gh would be preferable to q in my opinion. In Iranian Persian, q̈âf has merged with ġayn, both representing a [ɣ]~[ɢ], sound. While this sound doesn’t exist in English, the closest sound is certainly [g], which is how a terminal gh would naturally be pronounced here. The use of q is more for etymological purposes (to distinguish q̈âf from ġayn). However an ...


11

The key is, there was never a digamma in hippos in the first place! (At least, not as far back as we have evidence for: there may have been one earlier than that.) Early Greek, like Latin, had a set of labiovelar consonants. In other words, what the Romans wrote as qu and linguists write as /kʷ/ wasn't treated as a combination of /k/ and /w/ (kappa-digamma):...


11

It's not "deliberate" – it's the automatic, nigh-inevitable result of fitting a set of sounds from one language's inventory into a different inventory. It's like changing a photo from RGB to CMYK or changing the encoding of text that includes special characters. Most values will transfer but some will just be approximated. Sometimes the change is obvious, ...


10

John McWhorter recently explained some. I'll add to that here. English has a number of features that, while not absolutely unique to English, just rare in the world, are unique to English as a collection: th- (interdental fricative) is rare among world languages. Icelandic, Arabic, and some Northwest Indian languages have it. Everybody has problems saying ...


10

From Whitney's Sanskrit Grammar (p. 20): "...as the original w has in most European languages been changed to v, so also in India, and that from a very early time: the Paninean scheme and two of the Prātiçākhyas (VPr. and TPr.) distinctly define the sound as made between the upper teeth and the lower lip -- which, of course, identifies it with the modern v-...


10

It appears you are (implicitly) asking about Sutton Sign Writing. If you don't know the system, obviously you can't learn a new sign. It's not clear how many signers know the system, but it appears that, in principle, the system is capable of symbolising any sign in any manual language, so that a monolingual ASL dictionary could be possible.


10

The phenomenon is known as "flapping", and the result, transcribed as [ɾ], is a "flap". It also applies to /d/, but people notice it most when applied to /t/ since the result is more different compared to /d/. You might call is a "fast d". If an American were to say [mɛtʰəl] very carefully, that could be called hyperarticulation, that is, aiming to stop a ...


9

As a general rule, English speakers don't learn the pronunciation of place names from speakers of that language; they use general rules for pronunciation. Hence [br̩lɪn] instead of [bɛrlin], [ɔzlow] instead of [uʃlu], [pɛrɪs] instead of [paʁi], and Qatar (Standard Arabic [ˈqɑtˤar]) is a real problem, so I've heard [ˈkɑɾṛ], [kəˈtɑr] and [kæɾr̩]. Colin Powell ...


9

The basic rule is that players from Shirtless Team are always shirtless, but players from Shirt Team don't always wear shirts. Sometimes, at the end of the day, it gets too hot and they take off their shirts. They are still players from Shirt Team, but right now they’re shirtless, and look just like players of the other team. Consequently, if you see a ...


9

It's important to remember that hieroglyphic Egyptian usually makes the consonants clear, but not the vowels. Tutankhamun's praenomen is thus transcribed nb-ḫpr-(w)-rꜥ (or nb-xpr-(w)-rꜥ, depending on the author; ḫ and x mean the same thing). But the form "Neb-Kheper-U-Ra" is purely a modern invention to make it more pronounceable, replacing consonants with ...


9

The articulatory definition of front and back vowels (i.e. the definition based on where the tongue is in the mouth) is based on the location of the constriction—that is, the place where the vocal tract is narrowest. This can involve different parts of the tongue depending on the vowel. However, this articulatory definition turns out not to be ideal, because ...


8

Although /ɔ/ and /o/ do contrast in certain positions in French, the distinction is neutralized before /z/, where phonetically it's always the high-mid vowel that appears: [oz] but never [ɔz]. So it's a moot point which of the two to choose as your underlying representation. The French Wiki article opted for /ɔ/ presumably because this is the vowel that's ...


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