Monday, 9 March 2015

What are you doing with my I?

There is a very interesting song called Let’s Call the Whole Thing off (Let's). It is about a couple and the fact that they have different origins and then say things in a different way.

One of its lines is You say "potato" I say "patattah".

This song makes us remember how people who are originally from overseas speak English a bit differently from the people who have been born in Australia.

The other day we heard genuine, which should be pronounced (ˈjen-yə-wən) according to Webster's, genuine  being pronounced (jĕn′yo͞o-īn), that is, with the same sound as vine when it comes to the ine (Webster's, vine).

Saying genuine like this is not only interesting, it is actually pleasant, so that we started wondering about the reasons not to change the English language in a way to allow it to accept all those variations.

We obviously would only rarely misunderstand a sentence because the person pronounced a certain word in an alternative way, but changing it all and accepting these nuances would make communication in this world way easier.

English is the universal language, so that we should really put more effort into really universalizing it.

Another day, we said triumph, which should be pronounced (ˈtrī-əm(p)f) according to Webster's, triumph, this way: (ˈtri-əm(p)f). This is the same I  we see in prick (Webster's, prick).

We finally learned that even though tribulation is read (ˌtri-byə-ˈlā-shən), several words that start with tri are pronounced in the same way as triumph. For instance, we have triad (ˈtrī-ˌad also -əd, Webster's, triad), trifecta (trī-ˈfek-tə, ˈtrī-ˌ, Webster's, trifecta), tripod (ˈtrī-ˌpäd, Webster's, tripod), and a few others.

Oh, well, this is a bit harsh, Uncle Sam (Uncle Sam): If we pronounce the letter i in the way we do (ˈī, Webster's, i), then we should obviously say (jĕn′yo͞o-īn). It is so much sexier!

Uncle Sam was an old man according to the posters, but perhaps his nephew, his nephew, who knows, his nephew, would finally be able to democratize all this.

Let’s please be more inclusive also in terms of language even because it gets to a point where it becomes difficult to defend our official choices.

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