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  #21  
Old 24.01.2009, 14:10
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

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Bloody hell what part of the North do you come from never had any problems with TH especially as some of the older people in my area still used thee and though. My problem was missing out whole worlds "up road" and "round corner" I was soon cured of that when I moved to Kent.
Manchester area, Tameside but went to a 6th-form college on the outskirts of Stockport. That prompted the change (posh around there). It wasn't chip muffin anymore, but a chip "barm". Oooh sounds posh doesn't it?

A bit more north, "up roerd lad, round corner. Ask ye mam". The Bradshaws. Funny... I found a mobile phone the other day (which as a good citizen, I found it's owner). Anyway, I looked for "mum" in the phonebook. Anyway, it was written "mam". So I knew they weren't posh either. In the end she was from the east coast of Ireland!
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  #22  
Old 24.01.2009, 15:15
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

When I first met my husband, he made me laugh when he said "Wodka" (it is also written like this in German) and "Vimmen" (women).......not so sure what he was talking about at the time, though......

What about the British chap that recently got done for contempt of court during a trial with a German-speaking defendant.
He offered to translate, as he said he could speak German, and then approached the chap and said:

"Vot is your name?" (heavy German accent)
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  #23  
Old 24.01.2009, 15:32
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

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I met my Swiss girlfriend whilst cycle touring in Canada. She was cycle touring as well, and we spent the next four months travelling together. Given that I don't speak any variety of German, we of course spoke English to each other. Her English is reasonable, certainly good enough for us to communicate, though of course there were misunderstandings.

One thing that I found amusing about her accent was her pronunciation of words with the letter V. For example, she'd say wisitor center rather than visitor center, walley rather than valley, and willage rather than village. She's certainly capable of pronouncing village correctly, as she speaks French. I've heard other Swiss with the same problem, so I guess it must be related to how they're taught. My girlfriend just sent me some text out of a German-English dictionary, with pronunciation, which included:
-Du ju häw e hädäjk?
-Weri strong
Given those pronunciation examples, it's obvious why she's in the habit of pronouncing the V like a W.

I'm interested to know if this a Swiss characteristic, or is it common to all German speakers?

-Wayne

P.S. I'm not judging of course; my German is almost non-existent and will remain so until I start an intensive course.
It's common to all German speakers. You will see the tables will turn once you start to learn German. And the 'e' and the 'i'...and 'f', 'v'... a whole other story.
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Old 24.01.2009, 15:34
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

OMG, folks, if ever i shall meet youse all on any of the gatherings in BE or ZH , i shall keep my mouth firmly SHUT or you'd all fall over laughing about my funny pronounciations i really was proud about my fluent english knowledge, before i realised there were so many pitfalls for an average heidi like me
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  #25  
Old 24.01.2009, 16:39
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

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I was not able to copy the table so if you go to this page and click on the table you will be able to see the range of sounds in some of the major languages. The overlap (or lack of overlap) has a major impact on people being able to correctly pronounce/speak the new language.

You will notice the lack of overlap between German and English. We won't even talk about the typical Parisian trying to speak British English (now you know why looking at the zero frequency overlap).

Notice the difference as well between British English and American English.

This Swiss company has developed a system that "trains" the ear so you can more easily move into the new language.

http://www1.speedlingua.com/foundations/
With respect, I had a browse of this website, and it all struck me as being a little, um, pseudoscientific.

I understand the point that certain languages share certain sounds, which makes German, for example, easier for an English speaker to learn than, say, Arabic (or, to use a painful example from my own experience, siSwati). This is a natural consequence of the almost infinite ways in which we can control the flow of air through our vocal chords, mouths and noses to create such delights as voiced alveolar plosives (d in English), voiceless palatal fricatives (ch in High German) and voiced bilabial implosives (oh God, not Siswati again!), amongst others. Languages in related families tend, more often that not, to share more sounds than those from diverse families - although there are always weird exceptions to this (there's a weird, barely audible, nasal m in Swedish, as I recall... although I seem to remember being horribly hungover during that particular lecture, so I'm sure someone will put me right).

But frequencies? Sounds a bit dodgy to me, unless you're talking about tonal languages or the use of intonation, which these chaps do not appear to be.

By the way, there's an excellent book by Michael Swan that explains the main stumbling blocks for speakers of other languages who wish to learn English, including some pretty comprehensive sections on phonology.

Last edited by Dougal's Breakfast; 25.01.2009 at 01:20. Reason: because I'm an idiot
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  #26  
Old 24.01.2009, 17:03
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

Two of my teachers speak English with an accent which would make Monty Python sound like some Peeböls from se Göthe-Institut, Ja????

It was difficult to be cereal during the first lessons...


p.s.
Here are are some Norwegians making fun of both the Danish accent and the Danish Language itself.
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  #27  
Old 24.01.2009, 17:38
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

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With respect, I had a browse of this website, and it all struck me as being a little, um, pseudoscientific.

I understand the point that certain languages share certain sounds, which makes German, for example, easier for an English speaker to learn than, say, Arabic (or, to use a painful example from my own experience, siSwati). This is a natural consequence of the almost infinite ways in which we can control the flow of air through our vocal chords, mouths and noses to create such delights as voiced alveolar plosives (d in English), unvoiced palatal fricatives (ch in High German) and voiced bilabial implosives (oh God, not Siswati again!), amongst others. Languages in related families tend, more often that not, to share more sounds than those from diverse families - although there are always weird exceptions to this (there's a weird, barely audible, nasal m in Swedish, as I recall... although I seem to remember being horribly hungover during that particular lecture, so I'm sure someone will put me right).

But frequencies? Sounds a bit dodgy to me, unless you're talking about tonal languages or the use of intonation, which these chaps do not appear to be.

By the way, there's an excellent book by Michael Swan that explains the main stumbling blocks for speakers of other languages who wish to learn English, including some pretty comprehensive sections on phonology.
Swan is great! Was it him that developed the concept of "phonemic filter" ? As that is exactly what makes adults not hear the new language right. After certain age our brain develops a filter (based on their mother tongue) that subconsciously filters out all the unfamiliar phonemes, hence it is quite hard to hear the subtle phonetic diferences in the language we are trying to acquire. Isn't a human brain a fabulously effective thing?

Thanks for a great reminder of good ol' uni lectures on phonetics, I miss those.

I find switching w/v a mistake not so hard to get rid off. I made students say "very well" so many times, at the end they would finallyt remember that "v" is labio/dental and they must bite their lower lip while saying it and when saying "w" they have to position their mouth as when blowing air. It is fun.

It is hard to teach Czech, the phonemes are rough. There is specifically one that is hard, it is a phone that is produced when a person says "r" and "z" at once (and try not to spit much, there a slight aspiration only). English phonetically is imho easy, so melodic.. I am fighting a bit with French phonemes, but listening to a radio is great. Swiss French is by far more ear pleasing than the Parisian French. The pace is slower, more learners' friendly, fo sho.
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  #28  
Old 24.01.2009, 18:04
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

The word "question" seems to be a word the Swiss find rather difficult to pronounce and of course any word with "th" in it is simply a torture to pronounce correctly...
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  #29  
Old 24.01.2009, 21:08
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

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Hmm, thanks so much ...

I'm currently in Mexico, and it's so difficult for the Mexicans to pronounce Wayne that I almost decided to call myself Pablo (my middle name is Paul), just to save everyone from the hassle of trying to get their tongues around Wayne (there is no Spanish equivalent for Wayne).

Is there a close of approximation of Wayne in German?
I don't know, I think Vayne & Vendy are cute!

In Mexico, tell them your name is Vayne & see if it's any better.
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  #30  
Old 25.01.2009, 13:32
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

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  #31  
Old 25.01.2009, 13:55
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

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LOL. Very recognisable!
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  #32  
Old 24.11.2016, 01:15
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

I was listening to radio sunshine and chuckled as the announcer introduced the segment called "news on tits." Can you guess what he was trying to say?
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Old 24.11.2016, 01:44
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

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I was listening to radio sunshine and chuckled as the announcer introduced the segment called "news on tits." Can you guess what he was trying to say?
"News and Hits"?
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  #34  
Old 24.11.2016, 09:38
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

Yes but there is no reason for her to pronounce v as in valley or villiage as a w because v in german is not pronounced like a w .
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My girlfriend speaks English with an Irish accent! Many Swiss I know speak English like native speakers.

Rather annoying, I'll never be like that with German.
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  #35  
Old 24.11.2016, 09:40
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

On a slight tangent - one word the Swiss fail on is "savoury" - translating salzig to salty. English uses salty to specifically describe a salty taste.
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  #36  
Old 24.11.2016, 09:49
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

In my Swiss choir, we are 4 English (fortunately no Americans as that would have confused things even more) and are currently singing the Handel Te Deum. Came along a long discussion on the pronounciation of "Cherubim".
We all four made it quite clear that the initial "Ch" was not pronounced "K", as some of the remaining 60 members of the choir wanted to do.
Things got trickier around the "u" with variations amongst the 4 of us between "oo" and "euh". Sorry, I'm no good at phonetics, but I hope you get the gist of it.
So even 4 native British-English speakers, presumably each of us with different backgrounds in singing and Latin, couldn't reach agreement. What do you expect the poor Swiss to do?
(Things aren't helped by the second piece we're singing, another Te Deum, by Richter, a German baroque composer, in Latin, which also has Cherubims and Seraphims. As German pronounciation of Latin is really wierd, the four of us kept out of the discussion)
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Old 24.11.2016, 09:52
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

Savoury is also würzig"
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On a slight tangent - one word the Swiss fail on is "savoury" - translating salzig to salty. English uses salty to specifically describe a salty taste.
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  #38  
Old 24.11.2016, 10:24
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

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In my Swiss choir, we are 4 English (fortunately no Americans as that would have confused things even more) and are currently singing the Handel Te Deum. Came along a long discussion on the pronounciation of "Cherubim".
We all four made it quite clear that the initial "Ch" was not pronounced "K", as some of the remaining 60 members of the choir wanted to do.
Things got trickier around the "u" with variations amongst the 4 of us between "oo" and "euh". Sorry, I'm no good at phonetics, but I hope you get the gist of it.
So even 4 native British-English speakers, presumably each of us with different backgrounds in singing and Latin, couldn't reach agreement. What do you expect the poor Swiss to do?
(Things aren't helped by the second piece we're singing, another Te Deum, by Richter, a German baroque composer, in Latin, which also has Cherubims and Seraphims. As German pronounciation of Latin is really wierd, the four of us kept out of the discussion)
Show them the videos below


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  #39  
Old 24.11.2016, 11:11
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

I've learned there is a difference between "V" and "W" a few years ago when I invited my American friends over to try my specialty veal dish. Although they all agreed it tasted great they were still a bit disappointed as they expected to try whale

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I haven't known there is a difference between 'V' and 'W' in English.
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  #40  
Old 24.11.2016, 11:21
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Re: Swiss pronunciation of English

cherubim - At least they didn't want to pronounce it "tche - rub - em".

Think "-i" in "alumni". Do you think Romans talked like that? Hairier is the pronunciation of "Cicero".


American speakers learn an anglicized form of Latin, and defend it to death. Once I got into a heated argument with a lawyer friend over correct Latin pronunciation - me bringing evidence from other romantic languages, him saying this is how it's pronounced in the US. Can't fault his logic, can I.
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