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  1. #1
    jenerikku is offline Newbie
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    Default anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    Hi, I'm a PhD student in anthropology. I need to figure out how to transcribe a Serbian word phonetically. The word is BCIF - I presume this would be an initialism in English (because the series 'bc' must be spelled out in English), but in Serbian it's an acronym - it's pronounced as a word. Here's my recording of the Serbian pronunciation:
    https://soundcloud.com/user2266590/bcif

    Does anyone have an idea how to transcribe this phonetically, using the IPA? Many thanks in advance.
    Last edited by 5jj; 10-Jun-2013 at 19:40. Reason: My mistake - post not edited - 5jj

  2. #2
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    Default Re: anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenerikku View Post
    Hi, I'm a PhD student in anthropology. I need to figure out how to transcribe a Serbian word phonetically. The word is BCIF - I presume this would be an initialism in English (because the series 'bc' must be spelled out in English), but in Serbian it's an acronym - it's pronounced as a word. Here's my recording of the Serbian pronunciation:
    https://soundcloud.com/user2266590/bcif

    Does anyone have an idea how to transcribe this phonetically, using the IPA? Many thanks in advance.
    I hear /bǝt'si:f/

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I hear /bǝt'si:f/
    I heard /bǝt'si:f/ - practically the same as Raymott, though with only a slight schwa. Note that that is my approximation of a phonemic transcription, not a phonetic one.
    Last edited by 5jj; 10-Jun-2013 at 19:50. Reason: spacing

  4. #4
    jenerikku is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    Thank you both very much. If there is a schwa, I'd say it's very slight - actually, I always experienced the pronunciation like there was no vowel whatsoever, which I found quite striking (I'm not a Serbian native speaker). So I'll probably opt for 5jj's version as a compromise...

  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenerikku View Post
    Thank you both very much. If there is a schwa, I'd say it's very slight - actually, I always experienced the pronunciation like there was no vowel whatsoever, which I found quite striking (I'm not a Serbian native speaker). So I'll probably opt for 5jj's version as a compromise...
    Don't worry about my schwa. I usually put one in these circumstances. There's probably regional differences and language preferences for using schwas in place like this. I'd go with 5jj's or no schwa at all, if that is consistent with your practice for this language.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenerikku View Post
    If there is a schwa, I'd say it's very slight - actually, I always experienced the pronunciation like there was no vowel whatsoever, which I found quite striking (I'm not a Serbian native speaker). So I'll probably opt for 5jj's version as a compromise...
    Once upon a time I could have told you with certainty whether a narrow phonetic transcription of the word would have included a schwa, albeit a superscript one, after the /b/. Now I can't, but distant memories tell me that it wouldn't. I am guessing that Serbians would not consider there to be a vowel, however reduced, between the two consonants, just as Czechs and Slovaks don't hear a vowel in some of their consonant clusters when I feel that I hear a slight schwa.

    This is why I noted that my transcription was not a phonetic one. Neither my current knowledge nor my ears are sound enough these days for me to be able to give accurate narrow phonetic transcriptions.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    Slightly off-topic, but I wonder how many syllables Serbian consider that word to have. The transcriptions that Ray and I gave suggest two syllables, but (guessing again), Serbians might well think of it as a monosyllable.

  8. #8
    jenerikku is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    Actually, I only now realise that I should have considered that in Serbian, the 'bc' /bts/ consonant cluster never naturally occurs because b is always assimilated by voicing into p in clusters - so there could be only pc /pts/. So 'BCIF' definitely couldn't be a monosyllable, and probably not even a word. It's a 'b' spelled out (the pronunciation without an added vowel conforms to the Serbian practice of spelling consonants) + 'cif' being pronounced acronymically as a monosyllable /tsi:f/. I guess this means I can't just call it an acronym - which is something I was also mulling over because I wasn't sure if I should write it with or without definite article. (I was actually hoping to find an excuse for dropping it in my writing...)

    Out of curiosity (I'm a Slovak native speaker), can you give an example of those Czech and Slovak consonant clusters where you would hear the schwa and natives wouldn't?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenerikku View Post
    Out of curiosity (I'm a Slovak native speaker), can you give an example of those Czech and Slovak consonant clusters where you would hear the schwa and natives wouldn't?
    The one that springs to mind is the Czech for 'ice cream' - zmrzlina. I hear a schwa between the first two consonants, though I suspect that a more up-to-date phonetician than I would not. I also hear a vowel in the r I have underlined, though most of my Czech colleagues claim that it is a consonant.

  10. #10
    jenerikku is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: anyone skilled in phonetic transcription willing to help?

    I think I know what you mean with the first two consonants, but the first consonant is basically just a bit dragged out which might sound like a schwa to you... And about the r, I'd say that the typical trill of Slavic rolling r is just unmistakeable

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