Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 10:20:41 -0500
From: Mark Mandel
Subject: Re: Beijing /j/

>>>> Andrew Moody >>>>

There is also a tendency for English speakers to use sounds that are less nativizing when pronouncing place names,
especially foreign place names. This may be part of the reason for variation in names like "Colorado" were the "a"
(Color_a_do) may be pronounced as /ae/ (as in Am. Eng "bat") or /a/ (as in Am. Eng. "father"). If the fricative "j" (the
French sounding one) is less native than the affricative "j" (the "regular" English one), then the French-sounding
pronunciation may be a way to make Beijing sound more foreign and exotic.


I've seen discussion of this phenomenon before, but I can't remember a citation. The example I recall was in Viennese(?)
German, where the "-on" of "Telephon" was pronounced as nasalized C (C = turned c), as if it were French, rather than
the standard German [o:n]. The nasal pron is not a loan from French because the Fr pron is [Cn], reflected in the Fr
spelling "-phone".

-- Mark

Mark A. Mandel : Senior Linguist : mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]
Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 796-0267
320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA :
Personal home page: