Over Chess, Everybody Speaks Russian.

A nice little story from the NY Times Metropolitan Diary section (for which people send in quirky NYC experiences) earlier this year:

Dear Diary:

New York City is such an ethnic mix that speaking a foreign language is never a guarantee of privacy.

One summer afternoon I sat down to play chess with a stranger at one of the stationary chess tables at the southwest corner of Washington Square Park. I immediately recognized his distinctively Russian accent — soft consonants, elongated vowels, rolled r’s. It was familiar to me because I grew up speaking Russian at home with my parents. He and I chatted, exchanged brief bios and settled down to play.

It was my move at a critical stage in the game. As I was intently studying the position, a family of four — father, mother, teenage son and daughter — sidled up to watch. “He’ll move the bishop,” the father whispered in Russian after a few moments. “No, I think he’ll move the pawn,” said the mother softly, also in Russian. The daughter agreed with the father; the son agreed with the mother. I noticed a faint smile on my opponent’s face, but he didn’t say a word.

I considered both of those options. And then I announced as casually as I could, in Russian, “No, I think I have to move the rook.” The embarrassed looks on the observers’ faces quickly gave way to smiles all around.

By the way, I am about to finally take advantage of the offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10, trusting the assurances of various people who know more than I do about these things that it shouldn’t cause any problems. If it does, I may be offline until I get it sorted out. Pray for me in this hour of my trial!

Comments

  1. I migrated to Windows 10 a few weeks ago. The hard disk of my laptop had crashed, and since I had to reinstall everything anyway, I thought “what the hell” and accepted the offer. The installation took a little time but there were no problems.

  2. Thanks for the reassurance! (It’s still “Preparing for installation…”)

  3. I remember reading a New Yorkeresque story in which the first-person female narrator sees two men sitting across from her on the subway. They are looking around furtively and talking to each other in Spanish. She gets the idea that they are up to something bad, but she doesn’t know what, as the only Spanish she knows is “Yo no hablo español.” But she’s clever, and knows which is the negative word. So she says firmly “Yo hablo español”. The two men immediately shut up. Unfortunately, I have no idea what happens after that.

    Because New Yorker pieces are signed at the end, it used to be a rule (though not an absolute one) that the gender of a first-person narrator had to be the same as the gender of the author, or at least the author’s pseudonym. When I first heard about this as a teenager, I thought it was an extremely strange rule, but then I had grown up on such narrators as Holly Jones in “The Menace from Earth” and Genly Ai in The Left Hand of Darkness and Nikeratos in The Mask of Apollo. Growing up in a geeky and feminist household can insulate you from certain kinds of insults to humanity that other people tend to think are just the way things are.

  4. David Marjanović says:

    I’m told that Windows 10 phones home about everything you do unless and until you burrow through the settings and change everything to “top secret” or thereabouts.

  5. If you are coming from anything earlier than Windows 8, the start menu will drive you crazy.

    You should consider replacing it with classic shell: http://www.classicshell.net/

  6. J.W. Brewer says:

    Yeah, you’d think the Russophones who were embarrassed to be understood would have figured that chess-playing circles were an especially bad bet. Although when I lived in Manhattan the then-location of the Lycee Francais was quite close by, and snotty teenage girls coming out of school would gossip in French (while smoking cigarettes on the street corner, lowering property values etc.) as if assuming they would not be understood by passersby despite the fact that French was not going to be a particularly low-probability language to be understood by passers-by on the Upper East Side.

    But even when one can by visual inspection establish that members of the ethnicity associated with such-and-such language are not close by, one is still not safe, as witness this anecdote (told by a guy I went to college with and retold by a third classmate on the internet some years ago in a version I have cut-and-pasted, which I may have referenced before on this blog, but if so not particularly recently): Years ago [FRIEND] was riding in a Metro car somewhere in Paris. For the sake of the story, I’ll say that it was at night and the car was practically empty. [FRIEND] had spent three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and while there he’d learned to speak Wolof. So years later he’s sitting in this Metro car and it’s just him, two West Africans and an elderly priest in his black vestments and white collar. Metro doors slide open and a stunningly beautiful woman steps into the car. One of the Africans looks to the other and says in Wolof, if I could sleep with that woman for one night, I would have my dick cut off. The other fellow laughs. The woman and priest sit quietly unaware. [FRIEND] stares ahead stonily trying to keep a straight face. A few stops later the priest stands to exit the car, but before doing so he turns to the first gentleman, smiles, and says in perfect Wolof, did you really mean that?

    What I love [NB this is still the narrative voice of the third classmate, not me]: that among the five participants, the full story exists only in the mind of the Wolof speaker who remains silent. And that always there are those ethereal men of cloth hovering about, threatening to keep us honest.

  7. I’m told that Windows 10 phones home about everything you do unless and until you burrow through the settings and change everything to “top secret” or thereabouts.

    I’ve heard similar scare stories just about every piece of software I’ve ever used, especially if it came from MS or Google.There may be a grain of truth in them, but I no longer care. Ain’t got much to hide.

    If you are coming from anything earlier than Windows 8, the start menu will drive you crazy.

    It will for sure. I wonder why they do it to us. Pure malice?

  8. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    They are looking around furtively and talking to each other in Spanish. She gets the idea that they are up to something bad, but she doesn’t know what, as the only Spanish she knows is “Yo no hablo español.” But she’s clever, and knows which is the negative word. So she says firmly “Yo hablo español”. The two men immediately shut up.

    That is similar to a story I read many years ago in a book of memoirs of someone who had been the British Ambassador to Hungary. He couldn’t speak Hungarian, but he knew how to say “I don’t speak Hungarian”, he knew which word corresponded to the “not”, and he could recognize Hungarian when he heard it. Some years afterwards (not in Hungary) he was in a train in which a small group of people were talking loudly in Hungarian, and from their gestures it seemed obvious that they discussing the other passengers in the compartment. When he arrived at his station he got up, said “I speak Hungarian”, and left the train. From the looks on their faces it was clear that they had indeed been saying things they didn’t want to be understood.

  9. There was a situation a few years ago at a Costco where Spanish-speaking men were making remarks about a woman employee in Spanish in the break room. But some Spanish-speaking women came up to her and said “Do you know what those guys are saying about you?” She put in a complaint and Costco responded with a policy that everyone had to speak English in the break room.

    Some people complained that Costco was being insensitive to minority languages. But in this case I think there may have been some justification for their policy.

  10. Bah. The policy should have been, Don’t insult your fellow employees in any language.

  11. What JC said. There is never any excuse for forbidding people from speaking their own language.

  12. Bah. The policy should have been, Don’t insult your fellow employees in any language.

    Exactly.

    I have eavesdropped many times and never heard anyone saying anything particularly interesting, in any language. Well, one time in an Anthropologie store, two young men exasperatedly complained in French that the store only had women’s clothes, which was a little funny.

  13. J.W. Brewer says:

    Or “only make potentially problematic or offensive remarks in a language understood by the person who is the subject of the remarks”? Which is easy to formulate and hard to enforce. This is just a particular case of a recurrent and difficult problem in managing a pluralistic/multicultural workforce, viz. behaviors that may increase a sense of camaraderie and collegiality between employees A and B (which is desirable) may also be forms of in-group signaling that make employees C and D feel excluded/marginalized (which is undesirable). What to do with the “break room” situation, where on the one hand employees are off the clock and ought to be able to be more informal/spontaneous/autonomous in how they behave then when they’re dealing with customers etc. but on the other they’re still on company property and it’s thus potentially the employer’s problem if they aggravate each other is another recurrent/difficult problem.

  14. Trond Engen says:

    This story seems to have a lot of iterations. While at university a couple of acquaintances of mine had a summer job somewhere in Germany. One weekend they went to Paris, and, being complete strangers to the language around them, they spoke, uh, freely about their fellow Metro passengers. There was especially this beautiful girl right next to them… When they came to Les Halles, I think, she stood up and left the train. As she went through the door, she turned towards them, smiled, and said “Tackar så mycket”.

  15. Or “only make potentially problematic or offensive remarks in a language understood by the person who is the subject of the remarks”?

    No, I think the woman’s complaint was justified. If I were to be defamed in Hebrew or Arabic, it wouldn’t matter that I didn’t understand those languages, as long as someone who heard the slander did understand.

    This story seems to have a lot of iterations.

    In the story I read, however, the Spanish-speakers are not merely embarrassed, they are put in fear, because they were (or so the narrator assumes) engaging in a criminal conspiracy, not merely making remarks about their fellow passengers. I wish I could remember the rest of the story!

    There is also an Asimov mystery (SPOILERS!) on a similar theme; a Russian overhears two young Americans talking, but his grasp of English isn’t quite good enough to understand them fully. He hears the word murder, however, and like the other narrator assumes a criminal conspiracy, and even picks up on other clues: they talk of someone being tied up in the dark, the ringing of a bell as a signal, etc. But when he tells the story to other Americans, they debunk his explanation (apart from the intrinsic improbability of it all, nobody uses the word murder in all earnest when discussing their own actions), and finally the puzzle is solved: what he heard was not murder but Mordor.

  16. David Marjanović says:

    Can’t remember if Windows 10 is supposed to have a keylogger like Facebook.

    I wonder why they do it to us. Pure malice?

    The Capitalist imperative to change a running system.

  17. Trond Engen says:

    Yes, they’re variations on a theme. That’s what I should have written.

  18. J. W. Brewer says:

    Remarks can be insulting or offensive (and a headache for employers when made by one employee to or about another) without being defamatory. Of course when those to whom the remarks are initially made are not themselves insulted or offended, but the insult/offense only arises when they are repeated (or translated . . . ) to someone who was not present and/or was present but did not understand them (including but not limited to the subject of the remarks, which the maker might have refrained from making directly to his/her face in a language likely to be understood) the employer has another headache.

  19. That Russian(-speaking) family was very polite. Russian chess kibitzers are not known for keeping their opinions to themselves.

  20. Well, they were in чужбина, after all. In Gorky Park they presumably would have been noisier.

  21. Remarks can be insulting or offensive […] without being defamatory.

    Sure, but my reasoning is the same.

  22. Many years ago, more than 29, I was standing with my mother on the grand marble staircase in the (then) Musée du Jeu de Paume, looking at Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, when a mother/daughter pair entered from stage left, assumed positions in front of the canvas, hands on respective hips, and the one in a clear and penetrating, singingly Jutlandish voice declared to the other: “Det er da godt nok noget svineri, det der!” (Approx: Well, that’s a piece of filth for sure, that thing!)

    We left quickly and quietly, trying to look German, our prejudices about the cultural stance of the western provinces confirmed. True story.

  23. Different chess-playing locales can have very different cultures about kibitzing. Some places, it’s totally ignored, but I’ve also seen somebody thrown out of a cafe over some pretty innocuous remarks.

  24. My father, who spoke Yiddish in the home as a child, was an actor for the early part of his adult life. He used to tell a story about how he was once hired for the role of the gentile villain in a Yiddish theater. There was a two-week period when he could be fired at will, after which the role was his. During the two-week period, the director continuously made sarcastic remarks about him in Yiddish, not realizing that he was Jewish and a Yiddish native speaker. Once the two weeks were up, he responded to the director’s jibes in Yiddish. The director’s jaw dropped . . .

  25. Great story!

  26. David Marjanović says:

    trying to look German

    Any Germans present probably understood Schweinerei

    (“Filth literal or metaphorical smeared all over the place”.)

  27. Well, I also know the German word, and armed with it I had no trouble understanding the written Danish: “That is a good enough nugget of Schweinerei, that there!” But understanding it when it is spoken, that would have been another story.

  28. Trond Engen says:

    Close enough, I guess. Da (lit. “then”) is used as an evidential particle meaning something like “self-evidently true in my opinion”. Godt nog (lit. “Good ebough”) is used adverbially in Danish meaning “to be sure”. Noget means “some; something”. “It sure is some serious filth, that piece”,

  29. Any Germans present probably understood Schweinerei

    Good point — especially in the Jutland regional accents which I think started out closer to Platt than those of the islands.

    Actually we probably tried to look Dutch — in 86 I don’t think it was as much of an issue in France, but in 76 in England we found it very useful to carry something with a Danish flag on it to avoid the wary questions if we were German. (Based more on blonditude and pinkness of skin than on language, I think).

  30. Not so much closer to Platt, though there may have been some influence, but just exempt from the Great Danish Everything Shift, as Occitan is to French.

  31. Trond Engen says:

    I see Jutlandic as basically Western Scandinavian that took part in the GDES.

    The Great Danish Everything Shift is a good term, but it’s rather “The Great Danish Shift of Everything Except for the Vowels, Which Instead Shifted in Norwegian and Swedish”. Until fairly recently, anyway. Now that everything after the onset of the first syllale is an approximant, the Danish vowel system is in full reorganization.

  32. marie-lucie says:

    JC: exempt from the Great Danish Everything Shift, as Occitan is to French.

    ??? (Occitan (all 4 or 5 varieties of it) is not just French with a lot of shifts.

  33. No, I meant that Occitan belongs to the mainline of Western Romance. It is French that has all the shifts: every vowel except /i/ has changed since Proto-Western-Romance.

  34. It is French that has all the shifts: every vowel except /i/ has changed since Proto-Western-Romance.

    Come on, only in open syllables 😉

  35. David Marjanović says:

    Until fairly recently, anyway. Now that everything after the onset of the first syllale is an approximant, the Danish vowel system is in full reorganization.

    Yep. Enghave (near Copenhagen) is already [ˈɪŋg̊hɛʊ̯].

  36. marie-lucie says:

    Oops! Of course I meant “French WITHOUT all the shifts”. French is atypical in Western Romance, Occitan is not.

  37. marie-lucie says:

    French has also lost a lot of consonants which other languages have weakened but not lost.

  38. Some years ago, a Hungarian I know who had been working in the U.S. for 2-3 years went to a Hungarian restaurant in the D.C. area with his American girlfriend. The waitresses assumed from the way they were dressed they were both Americans, and insulted them both in Hungarian throughout the meal, loudly talking about her looks, her age, his age (four years younger), what he saw in her, and so on. He just smiled nicely and spoke politely to them in strongly Hungarian-accented English. They didn’t notice his accent, which they presumably shared. Anyway, at the end of the meal he left them a one-cent tip, so they couldn’t pretend he’d forgotten to tip them, and said “Have a very nice day” in Hungarian as he and his girlfriend left.

  39. Another great story!

  40. I used to carry cards that said “If the service had been better, the tip would have been bigger.” I only ever needed to use it once.

  41. But I’ll bet you didn’t have any in Hungarian.

  42. No, though the one I used probably should have been in French.

  43. “Enghave (near Copenhagen) is already [ˈɪŋg̊hɛʊ̯]”

    I lived in Enghave for a short while, but I never heard anyone pronounce it with a [g̊].

    I assume your point is that the Danish front vowels have moved upwards, which I undeniably true, but has “e” in Enghave really reached [ɪ]? Assuming this is the same /ɛ/-phoneme as in “eng” (meadow), the highest I’ve seen it described is closed-mid ([e]).

    As for the Western provinces, maybe they’re just better at calling naked emperors naked ;p

  44. marie-lucie says:

    JC: cards that said “If the service had been better, the tip would have been bigger.” …. the one I used probably should have been in French

    In France (at least nowadays) the tip is automatically added to the price (“service compris”) and shown as a separate line on the bill.

  45. The restaurant was French and so was the waiter, but the city was New York, and so the restaurant was service non compris.

  46. marie-lucie says:

    Then that makes sense.

    I wonder why French waiters have that bad reputation. Not too long ago someone on Facebook launched a litany of complaints, many of which seemed to start from the apparent belief that interaction with waitstaff is a social occasion. One person complained that French waiters did not say “Have a good day!” as the customers left the restaurant. In France that might happen in a small restaurant in a rural area where newcomers are few, not in a big city where customers are constantly changing.

  47. As I Dane I don’t usually hear it, but yes, vowels are pushed upwards, that’s why we have room for so many different A sounds. I have about the same vowel in Eng- as in English -ing.

    About the g̊: While the core feature of stød is creaky voice, it can end in total glottal closure — and when that happens on an ŋ, the subsequent release will typically not be nasalized and may sound a bit like the release of a velar stop. But there’s a clear difference between engen [ˈeŋ̰.n̩] and enken [ˈeŋ̰g̊.n̩] — not only does the latter have an actual velar closure, the time before its release is markedly longer. (And yes, I have a lower vowel in these than in Enghave).

    But it’s quite plausible that a g̊ has crept into some popular pronunciations of Enghave, there’s no contrast to maintain and -have starts with its own glottal stop to help the impression.

  48. I wrote a nonsense. -have starts with [h] and nothing else, but that makes the glottal release voiceless and still adds to the stop impression.

  49. m-l: This was just basic waiter malfeasance, or rather nonfeasance. Somehow whenever we needed something there were no waiters to be seen, nor were they seeing us, judging from what happened when we gestured increasingly frantically — namely, nothing at all. We were entirely in their hands: if I needed more water in my glass, I simply had to wait until someone got around to it. Nor was the restaurant madly busy: as I remember, there were only a few other customers there.

  50. David Marjanović says:

    I lived in Enghave for a short while, but I never heard anyone pronounce it with a [g̊].

    I never went there, I only heard it announced on a train and was very surprised that the pronunciation of ng was so conservative compared to the innovative vowels (including v). [g̊h] is a very common cluster in my dialect, kept distinct from [g̊] and [k] – Kern, gern and gehören form a minimal triplet (“kernel/core”, adverb for liking to do something, and “belong” with syncope and unrounding.

    That said, there’s absolutely no guarantee I would notice stød or not misparse it.

    Not too long ago someone on Facebook launched a litany of complaints, many of which seemed to start from the apparent belief that interaction with waitstaff is a social occasion.

    There’s a major transatlantic culture shock involved here. I’m being dragged off to not-midnight-but-10-pm mass, so I’ll write about this later. 🙂

  51. marie-lucie says:

    JC: Too bad. “Malfeasance” indeed.

  52. David Marjanović says:

    Two culture shocks that meet, actually:

    1) Europe equates politeness with distance. America equates politeness with friendliness instead. Just the other day an editor of the journal I recently submitted to, in other words a complete stranger, wrote to me on a first-name basis – I don’t bat an eye anymore, but I still notice. American waiters, then, tend to make an effort to be friendly that would not necessarily be even seen as appropriate over here.

    2) A hundred years ago Europe consisted mostly of monarchies, while the US already had a long democratic tradition. This division still has aftereffects. One is that restaurants are fundamentally aristocratic over here. Waiters are servants; they’re expected to stay out of sight as much as possible, not to hang around while their betters dine. – Also, one does not simply eat out every so often; restaurants are exclusively for special occasions (and for tourists). Another consequence is that there’s no such thing as a cheap restaurant; nobody gets the idea of calling McDonald’s a restaurant, and the very concept of a diner is unthinkable.

    Probably both sides have been moving in the same direction for 50 or 60 years now. But they haven’t met.

    Oh, and, a third thing:

    In the US, not only is the minimum wage painfully low in every state, but it’s often legal to pay waitstaff less than that – often just two dollars per hour – under the breathtaking assumption that they’ll make up the rest in tips. Well, that’s a strong motivation to be as polite = friendly as remotely possible. It also means that tips are much higher in the US than in Europe.

  53. @David,

    I was about to suggest that Enghave’s [ŋ̰]+glottal release+h could be reinterpreted as / ̰ŋk/ for some speakers who will then effectively be saying Inkave. But that’s less likely in public transport announcers, and wouldn’t have fooled you anyway.

    What is the phonetic difference between [g̊h] and [k], then? Lenis/fortis of some sort?

  54. Well, things are not all the same everywhere in Europe, according to reports (though they may not be strictly comparable because scholars don’t always agree on the meanings of terms). But it seems that Denmark and Norway are so positive-polite that to use positive-polite markers (llke the V pronoun) is actually rude: it’s making a point of what should be obvious. Italy, or at least parts of it, is definitely positive-politeness. Hungary and the Czech lands are switching from traditional German/Austrian-style negative politeness to something quite different. And modern Spaniards admire negative politeness (once they were famous for it) but don’t actually practise it any more: they have a higher dose of “our ancestors were idiots” than any other European culture I know of, not excepting Germany.

    But otherwise you are right on all points. One of the efforts of current liberal (in the U.S. sense) politics is to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and extend it to those currently exempt. Technically at least, if a waiter doesn’t make minimum wage in salary plus tips, the employer must make up the difference, but wage theft of this sort is said to be rampant.

  55. @Lars:

    “I have about the same vowel in Eng- as in English -ing.”
    “And yes, I have a lower vowel in these than in Enghave”

    I’m completely baffled. I speak Danish natively too, but since you’re obviously more of a phonetician than me, I’m thinking hard to understand what’s going on.

    Are you saying that you have a different initial phoneme in “Enghave” than in “enken”? Or that it’s the same phoneme, but the environment causes the difference in realization? They’re both initial, have stress without stød, so in the latter case I’d be interested in knowing what causes the difference.

    If indeed it’s a different phoneme, are you saying you pronounce the initial phoneme in “Enghave” as the initial one in, say “Ingeborg” (usually described as /e/)? I.e. that you pronounce it as “Inghave”? Are there other words where /ɛ/ turns into /e/ like this?

    I think I usually pronounce /e/ (as in “Ingeborg”) as English -ing, that is [ɪ], but slightly more fronted in stressed syllables. But as previously mentioned, I don’t think I have /e/ in Enghave. I think I have /ɛ/.

  56. @dainichi,

    I just pretend, I have no schooling. I read a lot, though.

    And I messed up on stød in enken up above, I see. But I don’t agree that Enghave doesn’t have stød — there’s certainly a glottal gesture at the syllable break. It may be caused by the /h/, but for me the phonation of the first syllable is much more like in engen /’ɛŋ?ən/ than in engene /’ɛŋənə/. (I use /?/ for stød per established practice, though it’s more creaky voice on the preceding segment(s)).

    And yes, for me, the usual realization of the first vowel in Enghave (that vague locality between those tracks and those other tracks in Copenhagen, with the commuter station) is much closer to Ingeborg than to engen, so maybe it does have an /e/. But it doesn’t sound wrong with /ɛ/ ([e]) and if you asked me to read the name of another Enghave off a map, it would get that vowel.

    I grew up in a more conservative environment than the working class of Vesterbro/Enghave, however, and for all I know /’ɛŋ?/ > /’eŋ?/ can be a rule there, the local pronunciation of the place name spreading to other ‘lects. Raising before eng is not particularly rare, I think.

  57. David Marjanović says:

    What is the phonetic difference between [g̊h] and [k], then? Lenis/fortis of some sort?

    Yes, plus the following [h].

    …where by [h] I actually mean the preaspirated version of this thing

    things are not all the same everywhere in Europe

    Certainly; but as a contrast to the US, the picture I painted in broad strokes seems to hold fairly well.

    And modern Spaniards admire negative politeness (once they were famous for it) but don’t actually practise it any more: they have a higher dose of “our ancestors were idiots” than any other European culture I know of, not excepting Germany.

    Oh yes. The Socialist Kingdom of Spain, as a satire website called it about ten years agob, has undergone a truly astonishing cultural revolution. The Irish are trying to match it now by deconverting en masse…

    Raising before eng is not particularly rare, I think.

    No, not in a global context either. Off the top of my head, there’s one on the way to Proto-Germanic that explains why “ring” in Finnish is rengas, and the Latin shift from preclassical en to classical in began in front of words that started with c/g.

  58. David Marjanović says:

    Addendum to my comment in moderation: I do think that what’s happening as a very broad trend in Europe isn’t that the way politeness is expressed is shifting, but that there’s literally less of it than there used to me. I stress that I don’t mind. 🙂

  59. George Gibbard says:

    by [h] I actually mean the preaspirated version of this thing…

    Can you say more? Do you mean this about your pronunciation of /h/ in general or only in this environment?

    This surprises me because the Gimi glottal approximant [ʔ̬] has the vocal folds more adducted than for modal voice (it is creaky voice as a consonant, like [ɦ] is breathy voice as a consonant), while canonical [h] as well as [ɦ] have the vocal folds more abducted than for modal voice:
    h : ɦ : not a consonant (hiatus between vowels) : ʔ̬ : ʔ :: ḁ : a̤ : a : a̰ : not a vowel but ʔ again.
    So I wouldn’t have expected that [ʔ̬] would be preaspirated. For comparison, it’s possible to say [ʔha], but I’ve never seen a description of a language having /ʔʰ/ as a single consonant… but then again in at least two languages /ʔ/ is realized as [ʔʰ] word-finally (I wonder if the respective linguists should have said prepausally), see towards the end of this page:
    http://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/11191/glottal-stops-that-arent-tenuis

  60. I happened to pass Enghave on the train yesterday, and the announcer did have the Ingeborg vowel. But no stop.

  61. marie-lucie says:

    Raising before eng is not particularly rare, I think.

    As English demonstrates.

  62. David Marjanović says:

    Do you mean this about your pronunciation of /h/ in general or only in this environment?

    Mine in general (don’t know how widespread it is). Actual [h], the glottal “pseudofricative” or whatever (which occurs in English), I hear as “just panting” (when I pay enough attention); I use it only for whispering, where my normal version would be impossible because it contains a voice onset.

    (I would use “just panting” in languages that have word-final [h], like Arabic or Navajo; I happen not to speak any.)

  63. La Horde Listener says:

    My old workplace’s rules didn’t forbid speaking in foreign languages and/or talking across anyone. The founding fathers simply kept the motto “keep it clean”, meaning everything: appearance, conversation, hygiene, work station.

  64. http://da.forvo.com/word/enghave/

    The pronunciation of “enghave” featured on this site definitely sounds to me like it starts with an /ɛ/ (i.e. [e]), and no stød on “eng”. This fits with the general rule that stød is lost on a monosyllabic word when it is the first component of a compound (https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/St%C3%B8d_(sproglyd)#Substantiver_og_adjektiver).

  65. As I said, /ɛ/ is expected, and not wrong for the specific locality / train stop in Copenhagen, but /e/ occurs in the wild. And in my pronunciation, it doesn’t have a full stød, but it has more creaky voice / glottal gesture on the first syllable than the forvo speaker has — I can consciously avoid the creaky voice and make it sound more like his version. I don’t know where I picked that up or how many people say it like that, but I don’t think it’s just me.

Speak Your Mind

*