A Conversation for How to Pronounce Italian

Why didn't I think of that

Post 1

You can call me TC

You've really hit on a good one here, Gnomon. The Germans have particular problems with Italian, as they have the "ch" pronunciation. It infuriates me when they get it wrong. (i.e., they pronounce "ciabatta" and "zucchini" wrong). It's not fair of me really, to expect everyone to know all the rules, but it still annoys me.

Watching the Last Night of the Proms yesterday (they sang Beethoven's 9th in German) the soloists had perfect pronunciation, but the choir sounded as though they were singing in English. Which, together with your new entry here, has prompted me to do one for German, too.

See you in Peer Review! And congratulations on the 1%. How often do you have to write an entry now to keep it up? I reckon you need to have one recommended every 20 days, i.e., one in every hundred at the rate of five a day. As no entries are added to the Guide at the weekend, that's every four weeks. When are you going to run out of subjects?


Why didn't I think of that

Post 2

Gnomon - time to move on

I was going to tackle the pronunciation of German, but I can't quite figure out the rules. As far as I can see, you have to know where the syllable boundaries are before you can decide how to pronounce the word. If you don't know German, it might not be obvious where one syllable ends and the next starts. I look forward to seeing it all explained in your guide!

Yes, I'll have to get an entry recommended every four weeks or so to keep up the 1% thing. But I can relax for the moment as I have three or four already recommended. Run out of things to write about? In this world? I don't think so.


Why didn't I think of that

Post 3

You can call me TC

Thanks for that hint about where English-speakers will have problems with German. If you have any more, I would be very grateful, as I think I must have lost the knack. Still, I can always console myself that it's till far harder for foreigners to pronounce English. Maybe we ought to do that one together!


Why didn't I think of that

Post 4

You can call me TC

AndI've just remembered, I've done most of the work in my German classes. Just need to combine them into an entry and Bob's my uncle!


Why didn't I think of that

Post 5

Gnomon - time to move on

An example of the syllable thing in German: walden (woods) and waldteufel (wood devil). In the first, the d is pronounced as d, while in the second it is pronounced as t (as far as I know).

The other problem for English speakers is how to pronounce the letter "e". Is it the same in all the following words?

ewig, der, den, gute

Of course, the age old problem of ie and ei is just a question of learning it.

Maybe I'll tackle a really hard one: Gaelic pronunciation. Fluent speakers tell me it's phonetic, but a simple letter like d can have four different pronunciations.


Why didn't I think of that

Post 6

You can call me TC

Yes - it would be nice not to make a fool of oneself pronouncing those magic-sounding words.

The "e" question you ask depends upon the dialect, among other things. A lot of it just comes naturally, though - you could hardly make the diphthong ii-ey, which would be one way to pronounce the "e" in "der" (Dee-ya) - well you could hardly put all that effort into the little "e" tagged on to the end of "gute". The only time I have ever been aware of the vowel "e" is when singing. As a choir we have often been bullied into pronouncing the vowels in an exaggerated way (quite right, too) and a word like "ewig" is often a key word in oratorios.

Actually, "woods" are Der Wald. (Der Schwarzwald, Der Westerwald, der bayrische Wald). The plural is "die Wälder." The theory is correct, though. I will think about this problem.


Why didn't I think of that

Post 7

Jotunn

The problem with German (and English for that matter) is that it's not phonetic. Italian, for instance, is phonetic, so it's pretty easy to learn the rules, although it still can be difficult to pronounce the words. I can see, why the e's should be a problem in German, but it isn't really for me because I'm Danish, and the languages are close enough, that much pronounciation is the same. The 'e' in 'der' would be closer to 'air', so it would be something like 'dair' or maybe even the English word 'dare', just with shorter vowels. You probably know how to pronounce the 'der' in 'der Führer'.

I think you should just pronounce the e's the way that seems most right. That's how I do it smiley - smiley But I'm not very good in speaking or understanding German.


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