Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 13:34:09 -0400
From: Larry Horn
Subject: Re: Beijing /j/

At 11:27 AM -0500 5/13/98, Matthew Gordon wrote:
>Adding to the list of hyperforeign pronunciations, I recall hearing a
>radio newsperson speaking of Gorbachev retreating to his "dacha" which
>was pronounced with the velar fricative [x] in place of the palatal
>affricate [tS]. Is there a general pattern of opting for Germanesque
>pronunciations of Russian words vs. Frenchified versions of items from
>other languages?

I don't know if that one is really representative of a pattern so much as a
(wrong) guess that -ch- in transcriptions from the Russian is a variant of
the -kh- used for the actual velar fricative [x] in Russian transcriptions.
If there's any influence from German here (or from Scottish, for that
matter; cf. loch) it might just be in the use of -ch- for [x]. Perhaps the
German-style [ay] pronunciation of -ei- in e.g. "Brunei" as signalled by
Don Lance is a similar phenomenon: it's not so much thinking that "Brunei"
is really a German name, or a name otherwise to be Germanicized, but
thinking that -ei- is in general a representation of [ay].