Archive for Pronunciation

Yanny vs. Laurel, pt. 2

Just when you thought you'd never have to worry about this vexing acoustic phenomenon again, "Yanny vs. Laurel: an analysis by Benjamin Munson" (5/16/18) and the comments thereto having carried out such a probing, exhaustive investigation, a 3:44 video (5/15/18) surfaces that attempts to explain it in a way that has not yet been mentioned:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (23)

North Korean English

Remarkable video from the DPRK:

"Kim Jong Un meets U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo & releases 3 U.S. prisoners [English]"

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (8)

North Korean with a Swiss German accent?

The video embedded in this article features North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un speaking at the historic summit meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone yesterday:

"Hang on, what language is Kim Jong-un speaking?  Livestreaming reveals that the North Korean leader has a unique ‘Swiss-influenced’ accent, a result of his years studying at a German-language boarding school near Bern", Crystal Tai, SCMP (4/27/18).

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (10)

Irish "maidhc"

For years I've noticed a regular Language Log commenter whose moniker is "maidhc".  Since  LL commenters often have the weirdest, most sui generis nicknames, I usually don't pay too much attention to them (not even when it's "Bathrobe" or "siweiluozi" or whatever).  But this "maidhc" bugged me because I couldn't figure out how to pronounce it, though I guessed that it might.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (15)

Korean "gapjil"

Watching the embedded video in this article, "Korean Air Chairman Fires Two Daughters Over Rage Incidents" (Bloomberg News [April 22, 2018, 8:45 PM EDT]),

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (8)

Welsh "prifysgol"

There's a university in Wales with this name:

Evidently "prifysgol" means "university".

Etymology

From prif- (chief) +‎ ysgol (school).

Noun

prifysgol f (plural prifysgolion)

  1. university

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (21)

How to say "Xi Jinping" en français

Zeyao Wu sent in this video of French politicians pronouncing Xi Jinping's name:

Zeyao tells me that her Chinese friends who hear them have no idea what they're saying.

Comments (15)

Writing topolects with Chinese characters

While Chinese characters are inimical to the full writing of the topolects, they occasionally can be used to convey a sense of certain aspects of various local or regional forms of speech.

Here are some examples from the Northeast / Dongbei:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (8)

Latin Caesar –> Tibetan Gesar –> Xi Jinpingian Sager

From Shawn Zhang's Twitter account:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (17)

Anti-MSM sentiment in Sichuan

Photograph of a slide shown during a lecture at a university in Sichuan:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (22)

PyeongChang: how do you say that in English?

Should we say the name of the host city of the 2018 winter Olympics the way the Koreans pronounce it [pʰjʌŋtɕʰaŋ]?  Or should we say it more in accord with English phonetics?

The following article by Jane Han spells out the controversy clearly:

"NBC, read my lips – it's PyeongChang" (The Korea Times [2/18/18)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (99)

Using Chinese nonstandard characters to talk cute

Nikita Kuzmin told me about a trend among young Chinese to exchange certain characters with other phonetically close characters in their Internet writings, so that the words sound more "cute".

Here are some examples of such substitutions:

jiègè 介個 —  zhège 這個 ("this")
pényǒu 盆友 — péngyǒu 朋友 ("friend")
nánpiào 男票 — nán péngyǒu 男朋友 ("boyfriend")
xièxiè 蟹蟹 — xièxiè 謝謝 ("thanks")
kāisēn 開森 — kāixīn 開心 ("happy")
suìjué/jiào 碎觉 — shuìjiào 睡覺 ("sleep")

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (8)

Giant Panda Xiang Xiang or Japanese diplomat Sugiyama?

A couple of weeks ago, a strange language misunderstanding occurred during the Regular Press Conference of the PRC foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, on December 19, 2017.

During the press conference, a Japanese journalist raised a question in English. He asked:  "Giant panda Xiang Xiang who has traveled to Japan made its formal debut in a Tokyo zoo today. What is your comment  on this?  What influence will this have on China-Japan relations?"

Maybe it was because of his strong Japanese accent or the noise at the time, Hua Chunying was not able to follow him, especially at the beginning of the question.  She misunderstood to whom he was referring and thought it was "Shan Shan" (杉山 — pronouncing that name à la chinoise), a Japanese official. Therefore, she answered with standard diplomatic language. Not until a Chinese journalist pointed out her misinterpretation did Hua manage to move on and make it right.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (11)