Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    65
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default How should we pronounce this word in this poem?

    I learned the following Christina Rossetti's poem when I was young.
    That was my first and last poem I tried to memorize.
    Now I am very old and senile so I can't remember how I used to pronounce the word 'neither'.
    I am sure, well maybe, that the teacher from UK told us one is better than the other.
    Which is better, [nither] or [neether]?
    (Where can we get phonetic symbols?)

    ―THE WIND―

    Who has seen the wind?
    Neither I nor you;
    But when the leave hang trembling
    The wind is passing through.

    Who has seen the wind?
    Neither you nor I;
    But when the tree bow down their heads
    The wind is passing by.

    I would like to teach this poem to my students.
    I wish someone will help me.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,054
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: How should we pronounce this word in this poem?

    Some claim 'nither' is better, but I think it's just snobbery. I was taught to say it this way and would, but there's nothing wrong at all with 'neether' IMO.

    You can get phonetic symbols here- http://users.otenet.gr/%7Epetermac/call/pron/type.html

    I think you need to have a phonetic font isntalled, which you can get here:
    http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/fonts.htm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    65
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: How should we pronounce this word in this poem?

    Thank you very much, tdol.
    I appreciate your quick reply, but there is one thing I cannot understand.
    Why do you think that claiming 'nither' is better is just snobbry?

    Maybe my English teacher would have told me 'nither' is better.
    And you were also taught to say it this way.
    DId your teacher or someone else give you any reason?

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,054
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: How should we pronounce this word in this poem?

    In the private school where I was educated, we were taught that 'nither' was better. No reason was given. A pronuncation is held to be better by certain groups simply as a way of identifying themselves. For instance, snobs say 'tomato sauce', not 'tomato ketchup'. I see no reason for this. Historically, it may be because 'ketchup' was a loan word that arrived much later than 'sauce', but nowadays it makes no sense. I don't think snobbery has a logic behind it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    65
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: How should we pronounce this word in this poem?

    Thank you for giving me an interesting information.

    I can't undestand why no reason was given.

    Now I think the reason might be just because Christina Rossetti was born in Britain.
    'nither' is BE, right?

    Or any other reason?
    I think some ? or many ? people who speak BE seem to believe they are better than AE speaking people. Especially people from famous universities in England.
    ( Is this my prejudice? )
    That might be a reason why you were told to pronounce the word 'nither'.

    When I read aloud this poem now, 'nither' makes me feel better because in the same line there is a word 'I' which has same vowel.
    I wonder if English speaking people feel better as I do when they say 'I' soon after 'i'.

    There is one thing I have to say to you and some other teachers.
    I am always, no sometimes, worrying that my English might get on your nerves.
    I don't know so well about modest expressions.

    In Japanese there are many ways to refer to 'I' and 'you', for example.
    But in English we always have to use 'I' and 'you' both when you are angry with some bad children and when you are asking a question of someone who is older and more important than you.
    It is not easy to call you 'you'.
    Do you understand how I feel when I type 'you' to post a reply?

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,054
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: How should we pronounce this word in this poem?

    You do come across some who believe British English is superior to American, but far fewer than before. In the 1960s, angry letters were written to newspapers complaining about the 'invasion' of American words. Nowadays, you don't hear this sort of thing very much.

    About the use of 'you' in English. Many find it difficult to adjust to a language where we use the same pronoun for presidents and pets. I understand how you feel, but do try not to worry. You can always show politeness through the verbs in English, not that this is neceesary here.

Similar Threads

  1. What word do you think is the hardest to pronounce???
    By Ramid in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 129
    Last Post: 21-Feb-2010, 16:23
  2. How do you pronounce this word?
    By harrymick in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-Dec-2004, 11:04
  3. Word Checker 1 - The Dolch basic word list
    By Tdol in forum UsingEnglish.com Content
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 24-May-2004, 13:26
  4. Word Checker 1 - The Dolch basic word list
    By Tdol in forum UsingEnglish.com Content
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 19-Apr-2004, 15:30
  5. Questions about Inversions - Inverted Word Order
    By Anonymous in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 31-May-2003, 22:43

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •