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    #1

    A Question For You Native Speakers:)

    Hi, guys:

    I see that there are a lot of words in English of foreign origin. French, Italian, Spanish, German...And I wonder do you native speakers pronounce them in your British/American/Australian way or try to pronouce in their original French/Italian/Spanish/German way??

    Is it that many well-educated people try to pronounce foreign words in the original foreign accents??


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    #2

    Re: A Question For You Native Speakers:)

    Quote Originally Posted by VividJailbird View Post
    Hi, guys:

    I see that there are a lot of words in English of foreign origin. French, Italian, Spanish, German
    Same is the case with lots of other languages.

    Quote Originally Posted by VividJailbird View Post
    Same is the case with lots of other languages.
    In my country, educated people are able to find the right word in their own language, Hungarian, and do not try to impress others by words of foreign origin.

    Vivid, it is an international forum (a word to the wise...).


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    #3

    Re: A Question For You Native Speakers:)

    Hi, this is a great question, actually. You have picked up on something very real, but unspoken.

    Native speakers of English, at least in the US, never try to pronounce foreign words (crepe comes to mind) in the proper accent - French in this case. Why? Because culturally it's considered arrogant and show-offy to demonstrate an attempt at native pronunciation when all else is spoken in English. Does that make sense?

    For example, my sister speaks French fluently, but unless she's speaking FRENCH with FRENCH-speakers, she will pronounce "crepe" like CRAPE (the way we incorrectly say it in English) not CREP the way it would be by a native French speakers. It's an unwritten rule - like not showing off you know better, we have to be modest about somethings.

    It's a subtle thing we definitely cringle if we hear someone speak like that:).

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: A Question For You Native Speakers:)

    Quote Originally Posted by rbiton View Post
    Hi, this is a great question, actually. You have picked up on something very real, but unspoken.

    Native speakers of English, at least in the US, never try to pronounce foreign words (crepe comes to mind) in the proper accent - French in this case. Why? Because culturally it's considered arrogant and show-offy to demonstrate an attempt at native pronunciation when all else is spoken in English. Does that make sense?

    For example, my sister speaks French fluently, but unless she's speaking FRENCH with FRENCH-speakers, she will pronounce "crepe" like CRAPE (the way we incorrectly say it in English) not CREP the way it would be by a native French speakers. It's an unwritten rule - like not showing off you know better, we have to be modest about somethings.

    It's a subtle thing we definitely cringle if we hear someone speak like that:).
    Wow, do I disagree with that!

    But then, I disagree with just about with just about everything that says "native speakers... never" (or "native speakers... always").

    For example, joie de vivre is not joe-ee dee veevruh and I don't find someone trying to say it as close to the French pronunciation as possible as being a show off, no more than I find someone pronouncing the name Jesus as hey-zeuz instead of gee-zus as showing off.

    False modesty of pretending you don't know better is no virtue.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: A Question For You Native Speakers:)

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Wow, do I disagree with that!

    But then, I disagree with just about with just about everything that says "native speakers... never" (or "native speakers... always").

    For example, joie de vivre is not joe-ee dee veevruh and I don't find someone trying to say it as close to the French pronunciation as possible as being a show off, no more than I find someone pronouncing the name Jesus as hey-zeuz instead of gee-zus as showing off.

    False modesty of pretending you don't know better is no virtue.
    In BrE we have very few Spanish influences so someone sayinng "hey-zues" for Jesus would be considered very strange.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: A Question For You Native Speakers:)

    Quote Originally Posted by VividJailbird View Post
    Hi, guys:

    I see that there are a lot of words in English of foreign origin. French, Italian, Spanish, German...And I wonder do you native speakers pronounce them in your British/American/Australian way or try to pronouce in their original French/Italian/Spanish/German way??

    Is it that many well-educated people try to pronounce foreign words in the original foreign accents??
    It often depends on the word. If the word contains only syllables that already occur in English, such as 'pizza' (pi:tza), then we say that, and not (pIza). However, when we say 'cappuccino' or 'cannelloni', if we lengthened the double consonants as the Italians do, it would sound like an affectation.
    We also do not use a trilled 'r' in tortellini (or a double 'l')
    So, you'll find that this varies.


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    #7

    Re: A Question For You Native Speakers:)

    RE: false modesty. I don't think it's false modesty, it's just a sensitivity to perception. I do speak Spanish but as a Jew, i'll decline to comment on that part of the thread, but I will say that what I think we Americans are sensitive to, probably insecure about really, is that we DO say stuff incorrectly. So if some "fancy educated person" comes along and starts spouting French words with the proper floofiness, then Italian, then Spanish, it ends up being taken as implying a lesson from the more educated crowd about how we hokies outta be talkin.

    I'll play the other side now, and say that being from California where Spanish is extremely common, I will gently nudge someone who says tortiLLLLLLa and not tortiYA - cuz EVERYONE knows it's tortiYa even if they don't speak Spanish. It's the accepted pronunciation out there. So, again, it's really context, social and cultural context because you sure hear tortiLLLLA on the East Coast and there I wouldn't say anything, but in California every street, school, and city is Spanish derived, so people know LL is Y:). Complex and interesting discussion.
    Last edited by rbiton; 09-Nov-2009 at 12:33. Reason: additional clarification

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: A Question For You Native Speakers:)

    I don't think it's all governed by modesty, though that can be important. But I would agree we tend to use the phonetic register of the language we're speaking, to the exclusion of other languages we know, if we sense the listener is just going to give us a double take or a look of incomprehension.

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