Wednesday, March 24, 2010

coffee shop pronunciations

It is not productive to remember pronunciations of thousands, if not millions, of words in a language. What differentiates natives from foreign speakers is: the former's ability to predict pronunciations of words not encountered before. This knowledge is part of one's native phonology; if you ask natives about that phonology, they can't help you, unless they are trained in phonology.

Cappucino:4 syllable word, predict the stress pattern: alternate; first and third syllables get the stress; ˌkæpʊˈtʃinoʊ (forget about italian pronunciations, it is like telling day laborors in some remote andhra on how to pronunce an english word).

latte: /ˈlɑ:ˌteɪ/

/ɑ/ is odd for la in latte. Not anglicized yet.

Pasta: /ˈpɑ:stə/

In BrE, these words are anglicized, leading to /ˈlæˌteɪ/ and /ˈpæstə/

espresso: /ɛˈsprɛsoʊ/, 3 syllable word, stress the mid.

cafe: /kæˈfeɪ/ cf (/ˈgæf/ gaffe; /ʤəˈræf/ for giraff;)
cafe (in Indian english): /keɪf/
cafeteria: /ˌkæfəˈtirijə/

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