Archive for Pronunciation

A new Sinograph

On being ugly and poor, with an added note on consumerism.

Every so often, for one reason or another, somebody creates a completely new Chinese character.  Here's the latest:

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Nepal, Naple(s), Naipul, nipple, whatever

We at Language Log are no strangers to Nepal:

"'Bāphre bāph!' — my favorite Nepali expression" (8/12/18)

"Learn Nepali" (9/21/16)

"Dung Times" (3/14/18)

"Royal language" (9/29/15)

"Oli ko goli" (10/13/15)

"Unknown Language #7" (2/27/13)

"Unknown Language #7: update" (5/12/13)

Being linguists and language specialists, we know how to pronounce this deceptively simple name, right?

"Nepal":  /nəˈpɔːl/ (About this sound listen); Nepali: नेपाल About this sound Nepāl [neˈpal]

But the general public is not so sure.

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"Bāphre bāph!" — my favorite Nepali expression

As a Peace Corps volunteer in eastern Nepal (Bhojpur) from 1965-67, I became highly fluent in spoken Nepali.  I even dreamed in Nepali.

My Peace Corps buddies and I learned Nepali in Columbia, Missouri by the total immersion method, which I describe and demonstrate in this post:  "Learn Nepali" (9/21/16).

See also my comments to "Alien encounters" (9/15/16), especially this one, #7-8, and the links embedded therein.

I became enamored of many Nepali words and phrases, but my favorite of all is "bāphre bāph!", which corresponds roughly to "Wow", "OMG", etc. in English.

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Oh, 18!

Robert Hay writes:

There's a Korean pitcher in the majors named Seung-Hwang Oh who was just traded to the Colorado Rockies. Both his previous uniform numbers, 26 and 22, were already taken, so he got number 18, leading to this realization by Sung Min Kim on Twitter:

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English vs. Singlish

The clearest demonstration I know of for the pronunciation differences between the two:

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Fub

The University of Pennsylvania is instituting a Two-Step Verification for PennKey WebLogins. Up till now, our PennKey for login consisted of a Username and Password. After much effort and practice, I finally mastered that. Now, however, for the sake of greater security, after using our PennKey to log in, we will in addition be asked to go through a second step that requires us to enter a randomly generated number that will be sent to us via cell phone.

That really freaked me out, since I don't have a cell phone.

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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:

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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]"

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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).

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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.

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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]),

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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

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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.

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