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'E' as in 'ay' or 'eh'? Make up your mind!

글쓴이: Novico Dektri, 2006년 9월 12일

글: 9

언어: English

Novico Dektri (프로필 보기) 2006년 9월 12일 오후 4:07:20

In several places, I have run into some instruction saying that the 'e' in Eo is to be pronounced like the 'a' in 'make' as supposed to the way I learned it here, to be pronounced like the 'e' in 'bet'.

If the first way is correct, than Esperanto can no longer be considered completely phonetic, as the 'ej' sound and the 'e' sound would be completely identical. The website below even goes so far as to say that the 'o' is prnounce dlike the 'o' in 'not' rather than in 'note'.

So, just so we can set the record straight, which one is it? ?

http://www.akademio-de-esperanto.org/fundamento/gr...

Gxis.

erinja (프로필 보기) 2006년 9월 12일 오후 5:11:14

Novico Dektri:In several places, I have run into some instruction saying that the 'e' in Eo is to be pronounced like the 'a' in 'make' as supposed to the way I learned it here, to be pronounced like the 'e' in 'bet'.

If the first way is correct, than Esperanto can no longer be considered completely phonetic, as the 'ej' sound and the 'e' sound would be completely identical. The website below even goes so far as to say that the 'o' is prnounce dlike the 'o' in 'not' rather than in 'note'.
The second way is considered correct. With all due respect, I would not take any pronunciation guides in the "fundamento" too seriously. First - that guide is based on British pronunciation, hence "not" versus "note". If you're not British, pronounce it in your head with a British accent and it will make more sense. The problem with "note" is that it's a dipthong-like sound. Noooowt. The o is somewhat drawn out in the pronunciation and it's almost like someone has inserted a tiny w. That's why English speakers have a reputation in Esperanto for poor pronunciation (we're not the only ones with this reputation, so let's not get all offended now, it has nothing to do with geopolitics). It sounds like they are speaking Esp'rauxntoux, as if they had added a ux to end of every -o word.

But I digress, back to "make". A lot of Europeans who don't speak English natively don't really "get" the dipthong in "make". It should be pronounced like "mejk" in Esperanto, as you correctly guessed. But among non-native speakers it commonly gets pronounced more like "mek", or some variation of that e, without a dipthong.

There are a variety of pronunciations of "e" that would be considered acceptable, and this 'non-native speaker' variation of 'make' would be one of them. It would be almost like the vowel-only part of the dipthong.

But even if we modern English-speakers disagree with the way the pronunciation was given in that document, the Fundamento can't be changed. Even if there is a mistake in it, it is the "netusxebla fundamento" - we can't touch (i.e. change) it. There are even typos in the Esperanto exercises from the Fundamento, but they can't be corrected because it's not permitted to change anything in it.

The moral of the story is, Zamenhof's English wasn't that wonderful and I wouldn't exactly trust him to tell me which words to base my Esperanto pronunciation on. Trust him for Esperanto but not for English, basically. As far as pronunciation, it would be better to rely on a more modern source, preferably from the country that you come from. An American looking at a British pronunciation guide, for example, might pronounce example words differently than the British audiences that the guide was intended for, and get the wrong idea. Better yet, listen to sound files from a reliable source.

RiotNrrd (프로필 보기) 2006년 9월 13일 오전 1:52:28

The problem with written examples of pronunciation is that even amongst native english speakers there is a wide variety of regional pronunciations. How a person on the west coast of the US pronounces "make" will be different from how someone in Alabama pronounces it, and certainly different than how someone in London pronounces it versus someone in Sydney or Auckland.

I raised this very question on the "Esperanto 102" Yahoo group last year. My question was (nearly literally) "What word, pronounced the way someone from Oregon would pronounce it, would provide a good example of how to pronounce the 'e' sound in esperanto?" Obviously, I am from Oregon, and speak with whatever regional variation is common here.

Don Harlow, the Executive Director of ELNA, was the one who answered me. His answer? The word "hate". Since Don is originally from Oregon - and literally from a location about 15 minutes away from my house - that gave me my answer.

Immediately a ruckus was raised. Someone from Australia insisted that that was nonsense. I pointed out that that probably WAS nonsense if you took the way it was pronounced as it is in Australia as an example, but since I specifically asked for an example from "Oregon English" (or whatever you want to call it) that "hate" probably was a fine example. And Don has been speaking esperanto long enough, and with my own regional accent, that I totally trust his answer.

I think the actual answer is that it should be pronounced the way it is pronounced in italian. It is not a really short "eh" (as I would pronounce "bet"), nor is it a long "ay" (as I would pronounce "bait"), but, rather, something somewhat inbetween. An "ayified eh", if you will. A friend of mine, who speaks fluent italian, says that in italian there is NO variation on the "e" sound - it is always pronounced the same way. So, I would suggest listening to some italian. That's how you should pronounce the "e" sound.

I hope that helps. It's hard to convey a spoken example through a print medium.

el_edu (프로필 보기) 2006년 9월 13일 오후 5:37:22

You can hear examples of rather good pronunciation in several podcasts and radio stations, like, in my opinion, Radio Verda (they are from Canada, by the way) or Radio Itala Internacia. The pronunciation is probably somewhat better in Radio Itala Internacia, but Radio Verda is a lot more funny okulumo.gif

Also you can find some detailed explanations about how to pronounce the vocals in the "detala gramatiko" of lernu!. From the "vokala variado" section:

"Ĉiu Esperanta vokalo estas elparolata "senmove", kio signifas, ke oni ne aŭdeble movas la langon de unu pozicio en la buŝo al alia pozicio dum la elparolo de unu vokalo. Ekz. E ne sonu kiel "ej", O ne kiel "oŭ"."

My own (probably horrible senkulpa.gif) translation:

Every Esperanto vocal is pronounced "without movement", what means, that you do not audibly move the tongue from one position in the mouth to another while you pronounce a vocal. E.g., E does not sound like "ey", nor O like "ow".

RiotNrrd (프로필 보기) 2006년 9월 14일 오전 1:56:51

el_edu:... The pronunciation is probably somewhat better in Radio Itala Internacia, but Radio Verda is a lot more funny...
I hadn't listened to Radio Itala before, so I fired up the latest mp3.

The pronunciation there is very precise. And it confirms what I already thought. A good example is the pronunciation of "de" as spoken in that program (which occurs a number of times). The speaker doesn't pronounce it "deh" (i.e., a very short "eh"), but neither does he pronounce it the way I'd say "day" (i.e., a long ay). Instead, it is as I mentioned before - a kind of inbetween "ayified eh". I believe that Zamenhof himself recommended the italian "e" as the proper eo "e" (although I cannot cite the source), so that's the example I'm going with.

T0dd (프로필 보기) 2006년 9월 14일 오전 2:52:09

RiotNrrd: Instead, it is as I mentioned before - a kind of inbetween "ayified eh".
That's not a bad way to describe it, but the main things that anglophones need to worry about, to avoid a thick anglophone accent, are

1. Don't let unstressed vowels turn into schwas.

2. Don't make diphthongs out of vowels (unless there really is a diphthong there), as erinja pointed out.

Regarding the first, anglophones have a *strong* tendency, if we relax our guard for even a moment, to turn unstressed vowels into schwas, especially at the end of words. Thus, "verda" tends to come out "verduh". This is bad enough, but when the identity of the vowel carries important information, such as the tense of the verb, it's intolerable. "Parolas" should not sound like (English) "parole us". It goes without saying that "kiel" and "kial" should *not* sound alike.

As for the tendency to make diphthongs, as erinja already said, it's a strong tendency that anglophones need to be vigilant about. There is some latitude in the pronunciation of Esperanto 'e' and 'o', as long as they are pronounced as pure vowels. With 'e', the acceptable differences are a function of how close to the palate your tongue is. A speaker of Spanish or Italian will tend to keep the tongue a bit higher than the eastern European will. Both are okay, as long as you don't stick a 'y' sound onto it.

With 'o', the sound varies according to how much you round your lips. Both are fine, as long as you don't stick a 'w' on it.

erinja (프로필 보기) 2006년 9월 14일 오후 3:59:09

el_edu:You can hear examples of rather good pronunciation in several podcasts and radio stations, like, in my opinion, Radio Verda (they are from Canada, by the way) or Radio Itala Internacia. The pronunciation is probably somewhat better in Radio Itala Internacia, but Radio Verda is a lot more funny okulumo.gif
Depends one which letters! Perhaps RAI has better vowels. But they pronounce their h's almost like ĥ, since in Italian, h is not pronounced. So the moral of the story is, listen to RAI for vowels but ignore the h-pronunciation ridulo.gif

Regarding Italian pronunciation of "e" - there are in fact more than one e-pronunciations. If a native speaker said there was only one pronunciation of e in Italian, that probably means that in his or her local accent, there is only one, but that isn't necessarily valid for the whole of Italy (which has a wide variety not only of local accents, but dialects and even languages)

el_edu (프로필 보기) 2006년 9월 14일 오후 6:09:30

erinja:Perhaps RAI has better vowels. But they pronounce their h's almost like ĥ, since in Italian, h is not pronounced. So the moral of the story is, listen to RAI for vowels but ignore the h-pronunciation ridulo.gif
Prave! Yes, you're right! I did notice their h's are too "strong", I didn't remember that. Also in Spain we don't have the /h/ phoneme (except in some southern local accents), so some people pronounce 'house' like '/ĥ/ouse' senkulpa.gif

RiotNrrd (프로필 보기) 2006년 9월 15일 오전 1:50:53

If a native speaker said there was only one pronunciation of e in Italian, that probably means that in his or her local accent, there is only one, but that isn't necessarily valid for the whole of Italy
Yes, I didn't mean that there was one and only one way to pronounce "e" across the whole of italy. My friend meant that in the italian she speaks (she lived in Rome for seven years, so I assume it's whatever dialect is commonly spoken there) the pronunciation is invariable. If you pronounce it a particular way in one word, that's how it's pronounced in all the words. This is in contrast to english, where there's probably a half dozen (or more) ways to pronounce it depending on what word is being said.

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