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Which speech pattern of speakers of English as a foreign language makes your hair stand on end most, you, natives?

I have a funny German sample; how about it:

http://www.home.no/vavika/sinking.wmv
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Yes, this aspect of American pronunciation is well-known and actually originates from an old south-east English pronunciation which is less marked nowadays in England itself as it has been influenced by the Northern "a", which is similar to the continental European pronunciation. However, I'd make two points:
1) I think that even Americans don't consider "flash" and "flesh", or "ranch" and "wrench", to have exactly the same pronunciation. I have heard natives of Miami, on hearing the Italians say "Miemi", pull back and say, "No, Miami", with a much more "a"-like pronunciation than they would normally use.
2) Even in American pronunciation there is a case where the "a" doesn't even remotely resemble an "e": in words containing an "r", such as "barn" and "farm". Here's an amusing point: the English town of Derby has an irregular pronunciation: Darby. The Italians can't be expected to know this and so, pronouncing the "e" and the "r" separately, they say something like "Dairy" with a "b" added. In some names the Americans have adapted the spelling to correspond with the pronunciation. In particular there is a U.S. military base in Italy called Camp Darby. But the Italians know better, so it's Kemp Dairby/Dareby! In the same way they change "in charge" to "in chairge" (rhyming with "chair").

It's an obsession. In the name Harrison it's important for the Italians to learn two things: that the "h" is pronounced and the "s" is sibilant. This is ignored and the only pronunciation we hear is "Errizon". Also "Erry Potter".
In the Italian word automatico the "au" is a diphthong, rhyming with "house". They need to know that this is not so in English. This again is ignored and we get "owtometic".

As I said before, we English-speakers do equally bad things, and worse, in our pronunciation of foreign words. The tendency is to pick on a particular transformation and apply it everywhere, just to show that we know "things are not as they seem" at first sight, without taking the trouble to find out the real pronunciation.
J LewisAs I said before, we English-speakers do equally bad things, and worse, in our pronunciation of foreign words. The tendency is to pick on a particular transformation and apply it everywhere, just to show that we know "things are not as they seem" at first sight, without taking the trouble to find out the real pronunciation.
Hello J Lewis

This is really badly off topic but I couldn't resist the temptation to comment on your correct observation. I understand very well that native speakers of English mispronounce foreign words because foreign languages are not studied much in English-speaking countries. What I find almost amusing is the tendency to pronounce even foreign proper nouns, say, people's names, as if they were English. An Englishman has actually asked me how I would pronounce my name in English!

It took me a few seconds in the 1980s to realise an Englishman and I were talking about the same Swedish tennis player, Björn Borg. I have got used to most of these pronunciations, but some of them are quite peculiar. Before the formula driver Michael Schumacher, whose name is always mispronounced, there was another German Schumacher, a football goalkeeper, and a Eurosports commentator pronounced his name shoemaker!

Cheers
CB
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Hi CB. Yes, the things you comment on are terrible, but they are the result of pure ignorance. What I complain about more is that when people understand that some change may be necessary they decide for themselves what changes to make, instead of really studying the pronunciation!

This is really badly off topic but I couldn't resist the temptation to comment on your correct observation. I understand very well that native speakers of English mispronounce foreign words because foreign languages are not studied much in English-speaking countries.
Well, can you really blame us? In order to pronounce all of the foreign names we're faced with, we would have to know hundreds of different languages-which not many of us do. Also, we would have to know how certain names are Anglicized that were written in different scripts, such as Cyrillic or Greek. We'd also have to know the nationality of the name as well. Also some spellings are altered when written in English. We'd also have to adapt the name to fit English rules, anyway. For example, is a word ended with an [ E ] , in English, it would be pronounced as [ eI ] , because [ E ] is not acceptable at the end of a word. Also, some languages have diacritic marks that don't exist in English. This can change the pronunciation quite a bit. Let's suppose someone had the name Analaupe. In English, this would probably be read as [ æ[email protected] ] or [ æ[email protected] ]. Let's pretend that the name is Italian-then we would approximate it by pronouncing it as [ [email protected] ] . But maybe the name's Hawaiian, or Inuk, perhaps. Maybe it's Ethiopian or Greek. We don't know. What if it's French, and the "e" is supposed to have an accent mark on it? Also, there are some sounds that we just can't prononounce, and that we wouldn't use when speaking English. For example, many people pronounce "Bach" not as [ bax ] , but as [ bAk_} ] . We simply don't have the [ x ] sound in English. Beethoven pronounced in English (even by people who know how it ought to be pronounced) is not [ [email protected] ] but rather [ [email protected] ] --simply because it's spelt "Beethoven". People who have no idea how it's pronounced would say [ [email protected] ] . But notice that even the people who know how it's pronounced in the original language don't even pronounce it correctly.

I suppose we should start criticizing the Japanese for pronouncing the name "Smith" as Sumisu-san, or "Ryan" as Laian-san?

It took me a few seconds in the 1980s to realise an Englishman and I were talking about the same Swedish tennis player, Björn Borg
Well, the average Anglophone does not know Swedish for one thing... let alone even being able to identify that that name is Swedish. I would say, that most would pronounce it as [ [email protected]\n ] -- as that's how it looks in English. If they knew that in many languages, "j" is pronounced as [ j ] , rather than [ dZ ] , they might say [ bjOr\n ] . The closest approximation in English of the name would be [ bjr-n ] , but notice that both the vowel, and the "r" are still mispronounced. English lacks that vowel sound, as well as lacking that particular kind of "r".

Yes, the things you comment on are terrible, but they are the result of pure ignorance.
Yeah, they are. But let's be reasonable. Do you really expect English speakers to learn the orthography of every language on earth? Let alone to be able to guess which language a particular name is from? And to be able to guess how a particular name was altered to fit English orthography? Or to say unusual sounds that don't exist in English? Not to mention some people have altered the spelling and/or pronunciation of their name after immigrating.

Before the formula driver Michael Schumacher, whose name is always mispronounced, there was another German Schumacher, a football goalkeeper, and a Eurosports commentator pronounced his name shoemaker!
Some English-speaking people who have that particular German name, actually do pronounce it [ SumeIkr- ] . For them, [ [email protected] ] (or especially [ [email protected] ] ) would be an incorrect pronunciation of their name. Not all Anglophones know German... And remember, unlike in other languages, in English, one can pronounce ones name however one pleases, regardless of how it's spelt. Some Schumachers pronounce their name [ [email protected] ] ; others [ [email protected] ] ; others [ SumeIkr- ] ; other's [ bOb ] . Other Shumachers decide to become Schumakers, or Schoemakers or Shoemakers, or any number of spelling variants, and pronounce it totally differently.

What I find almost amusing is the tendency to pronounce even foreign proper nouns, say, people's names, as if they were English. An Englishman has actually asked me how I would pronounce my name in English!
Maybe he found your name very difficult to pronounce, and wanted to know if there was a shorter easier form of it in English... People with the name Aliahiakanamakumachumanakatachita, often have an "English name" of simply "Ali". Other people take on completely different names when visiting a foreign country. In lots of language classes, one picks for example, a traditional German name, or a French name, such as Xavier, and uses that name in class, and uses it when visiting the foreign country, instead of their actual name.
I can sum up my position by quoting one of my Italian students: "Either find out the correct pronunciation or read it as if it were an Italian word, to show that you don't know how to pronounce it. Don't invent pronunciations because you'll only miseducate people!"
Marvin is right, that you have to be realistic and people can't be expected to know how all foreign words are pronounced. The Spanish read Japanese names like Fuji with a Spanish "j". This is fine in Spain, but when they go abroad they should pose a few doubts. That's the important thing: don't be too sure of yourself!
BTW I think the British pronunciation of "Peugeot" must be totally unrecognisable to the French!
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Hello Marvin A.

It wasn't my intention to blame the British at all; I merely pointed out a cultural difference, for which there are a number of reasons. There is nothing new for me in what you write about prounouncing names in your post. The same difficulties that you mention exist for speakers of all the world's thousands of languages. There are similar problems, or hindrances or whatever you choose to call them, for speakers of all languages.

I just wanted to highlight a cultural difference: speakers of big languages act differently from speakers of small languages. No Finnish sports commentator knows all the languages but he will spend quite a lot of time trying to learn the correct pronunciation of foreign athletes' names. It is considered uncivilised and impolite not to even try to pronounce them correctly. I watch Italian and Spanish football on TV on a regular basis, and sometimes the commentator thanks the listeners for having told him how to pronounce a Spanish player's name, which he had mispronounced in a previous broadcast.

There is a difference in attitude, that's what I wanted to point out, but to delve deeper into the reasons I should really start a new thread.

No offence meant - even in my previous post. Emotion: smile Cheers,
CB
There probably is a cultural difference.

This is a bad thing about British culture but it can be seen as pretentious to correctly pronounce foreign words, especially proper nouns. Emotion: sad People will think you are showing off.
Yes, Nona, sad but true
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This is a bad thing about British culture but it can be seen as pretentious to correctly pronounce foreign words, especially proper nouns.
Broadcasters and announcers on the BBC are supposed to do their utmost to ensure they pronounce foreign proper names correctly. There are always people who will complain if and when they fail.

Englishuser
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