For alex8

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Stronzo, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Why is it alex, do you think, so many Americans pronounce surnames ending in "stein" as is it were spelled "steen"? Isn't the German rule of thumb that the second vowel is the one which is pronounced?

    Isn't the word invariably pronounced "styne" (as in the "i" is saying it's own name as it were) or as in the German word for "stone" or that from which you'd drink a beer??

    Isn't the name Leonard Bernstein pronounced "behrn styne" (almost like "bairn shtine")??

    What's with this "steen" pronunciation??

    I have a freind named Alan Goldstein who insists that the last syllable of his named is pronounced "steen" in German. Who's right?
     
  2. D_alex8

    D_alex8 Member

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    I think that you may well also need someone with a working knowledge of Yiddish alongside alex8, though. :rolleyes:

    In High German, you are quite right, the pronounciation of the "ei" vowel pair is invariably as a monophthong [EDIT: of course it's a diphthong, I'm a fool!] similar to the English first-person pronoun "I".

    But if we drift into regional accents, plenty (from Berlin to Stuttgart, and back again) would pronounce it closer to the English vowel pair "ay", as in "pay / ray / say".

    Whether that pronounciation varies again in Yiddish... I really don't know; from early talkies and 78-recordings by German-Jewish dialect comedians from 1929 to 1933, it's clear to me that the vowels were one clear area of potential difference in pronounciation (koifn for 'kaufen', Laibn for 'Leben', etc.) ... but I lack the specific knowledge to give a clear-cut answer in this particular case, and there only seems to be a small amount of material online about this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yiddish_phonology

    Of course, I could also imagine willful re-pronounciation having become commonplace at some point during the Twentieth Century to make a deliberate disassociation from German.
     
  3. Lex

    Lex
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    Like a former colleague whose family dropped the umlaut in their sirname so that they could hide their german roots more easily.
     
  4. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    English "long 'I'" sound is a dipthong.
     
  5. D_alex8

    D_alex8 Member

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    Yes, what I'm referring to in German is likewise a diphthong [aɪ]. :rolleyes:

    Never trust a man who types faster than he thinks. :redface:
     
  6. dudepiston

    dudepiston New Member

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    Whenever I've used the word 'dipthong' with my students, they always get the giggles :)



     
  7. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Thanks. That last part especially alex makes real sense to me.

    Even La Streisand when instructing pronunciation of her surname seems off to me. She says the middle "s" should sound like our "s". Shouldn't it be more like "Strei znd"?? ("r" pronounced gutturally?)
     
  8. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    This just in alex:

    Have a quick read through this which I've just found through Google.

    Perhaps the answer lies therein.

    Your Yiddish point seems on target according to this account.
     
  9. D_alex8

    D_alex8 Member

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    German speakers are indeed wont to pronounce her name as (to use an English-language approximation "Shtrei-zant" [ʃtʀaɪzant], with the 'r' rolled, the central 's' voiced, and the final 'd' unvoiced), but in my mind, at least, this is merely the imposition of German pronounciation onto a Jewish-American name.

    My own family name has changed its spelling and pronounciation at least twice in the past century, in traveling from Hungary to Germany to England and back to Germany again, so my rule of thumb is to go with the way that the person whose name it is believes it should be pronounced! :shrug: Even the American I know whose surname is "Decoteau", allegedly correctly pronounced, according to him, "identically to 'Dakota'." :eek: :rolleyes:
     
  10. D_alex8

    D_alex8 Member

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    That would indeed seem to support that case. It would have seemed strange to me for so many people to be pronouncing their surnames at odds with German phonetics, if there were not some other good reason for them to be doing so.
     
  11. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    HA!

    Good point.

    I met a fellow at the work site the other day who introduced himself by saying what appeared to be "John Bushman".

    When I said "any relation to "Francix X.?" he said, "Who??"

    I asked him to spell his surname:

    Beauchemin :rolleyes:
     
  12. mindseye

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    <hypercorrecting curmudgeon>
    I just don't get why Americans pronounce Caesar like 'seee-zer'! (Not to mention that they put a 'J' sound on Iulius!) And they pronounce sweet and suite the same! And they never get the right consonant at the beginning of gerrymander!

    Don't people know that pronunciations must never ever change!
    <
    /hypercorrecting curmudgeon>

    Albert's last name was Einst-eye-n, but Brian's last name was Epst-ee-n. Leonard Bernst-eye-n, but Carl Bernst-ee-n. Easiest way to find the correct pronunciation of someone's name is to ask them.
     
  13. Detroit Rick

    Detroit Rick Member

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    "And they never get the right consonant at the beginning of gerrymander"

    I am descendant Elbridge Gerry. I have several relatives with that name in fact. We pronounce it like the name "Gary." Gerrymandering is am American word by the way. Its often pronounced like the name "Jerry," I know. How do you say it?
     
  14. rawbone8

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  15. DC_DEEP

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    Unt you must nefer forget "Frahnk-oon-steen" and "Eye-gore" from the classic movie, Young Frankenstein. Only Frau Blücher managed to pronounce her name properly. The horses loved it.
     
  16. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    Agree with Mindseye, even as a student of linguistics, Stronzo you're being too anal. For proper names, seems like we should pronounce them however people want them to be pronounced. People have different accents all over the world as Alex was pointing out, one isn't any more correct than any other. What constitutes "correct" English or "high" German is typically arrived at via arbitrary decisions made by prescriptive linguists. You can go back in history in attempts to find what is/was the most common pronunciation/spelling/usage of any given word at any given point in history, but any time you find something claiming to be somehow the standard it's always going to be someone's arbitrary decision. If you delve back further, you'll find different usages and probably different standards.

    I still like to make fun of sports announcers who don't know what a Celt is or who say "Noder Dame", but I just like to make fun of sports announcers in general, and I'm not going to tell people how they should pronounce their own names.
     
  17. DC_DEEP

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    Thank you, "nee-nay eenk coke."

    Hahah, and while we are at it, shall we discuss the fact that your town misspells its own name? Centreville? What nonsense is that? And Norfolk, VA where the locals pronounce it something like "NAW-fuck"...

    Let's meet halfway, in Chantilly, and fix the world's problems, eh?

    Oh, and back on topic... the annoying part of the -ein name pronunciation, for me, is not the variance, but the fact that some people get so bristly if you have to choose either the "ee" or "eye" sound, and choose the wrong one. Well, I guess that goes for anyone who has a name with non-standard spelling or pronunciation. I knew a girl once whose name was spelled "Dani". She always got wicked pissed if anyone called her "Danny." It was, of course, "Day-nuh." Stupid me, huh?
     
  18. mindseye

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    That's what I was getting at. The word was orignally pronounced 'Gherry-mander', with a hard 'g', but hardly anyone pronounces it that way any more. (link)
     
  19. rawbone8

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    from an Irish FAQ
    How do I pronounce "celt" and "celtic"?
    The "c" at the start of "celtic" can be pronounced soft, like an "s", or hard, like a "k". The most common convention is to always pronounce it with a hard "c" ("keltic") except when using it as a proper noun (e.g. Celtic Football Club, Boston Celtics, The Anglo-Celt newspaper).

    In Irish, "c" is always pronounced hard, like the letter "k" which is never used in Irish words. The Greeks were the first to write about the Celts, using the word "Keltoi",
    which suggests that the hard sound is also historically based
     
  20. B_NineInchCock_160IQ

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    There are more Centrevilles in the country than Centervilles. and I pronounce it Centreville.
     
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