[LMB] Pronunciations

Mark A. Mandel thnidu at yahoo.com
Sun May 21 22:16:22 BST 2006

--- Helen Hancox <helen at hancox.org.uk> wrote:

> "Kalina Varbanova" <kikibug13 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > http://www.dendarii.com/bujold_faq.html#barr-names:
> > 
> > Aral - AIR-al
> > 
> > Stress on the first syllable. More vowels than barrel.
> > Kalina
> Hmm, yes, that's where I saw it before... but it can't quite sink into
> my unconscious brain as it's such an un-English (British) pronunciation.
> He'll have to carry on rhyming with Barrel for me, I fear.

Plowing through my mailbox (with a snowplow: 4,000 plus from this list!)
and deleting, going backward, so I'm probably about to say something
that's already been said. 

Umm. First. Sorry, Kalina, but there are not more vowels in "AIR-al" than
in "barrel". More vowel LETTERS, but not more vowels. Kind of the way
"дача"/"dacha" has four letters in Russian and five in English to
represent the same pronunciation.

Second. There are well-known dialectal* variations in pronouncing front
vowels before the "r" sound in English. One way of referring to these
differences is "merry-marry-Mary". In my native dialect these three words
are all pronounced differently, but in many others, two or all three sound
identical. Someone who pronounces "marry" and "Mary" the same is likely to
also use that same vowel+/r/ combination in "barrel" and "air", which
means that that person could use "AIR-al" for a pronunciation that they
rhyme with "barrel". I don't know if Lois speaks such a dialect*, but it
seems quite possible.

-- Dr. Whom, Consulting Linguist, Grammarian, Orthoepist, and
   Philological Busybody

* (If anyone is about to take offense at the word "dialect"... don't.
Just... don't. It's a technical term that I'm using technically. The first
definition from Merriam-Webster Online is close, though not fully
"1 a : a regional variety of language distinguished by features of
vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation from other regional varieties and
constituting together with them a single language <the Doric dialect of
ancient Greek>")

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