Matter and Madder.

Ailian   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 01:14 GMT
And for Damian:
> To all my American friends in here......will you PLEASE broadcast on national
> radio and TV to everyone there the correct way to pronounce the name of
> my home city....EDINBURGH?

Honey, they can't even pronounce the name of "New Orleans" correctly! ;) (They say it something like "New Or-leeeeeeenz", whereas we say it as "New Awlenz" or "New Awli-enz".)

One of these days they'll learn. ;)

Ailian, whose former flute tutor was from Edinburgh and would complain about the same thing
Random Chappie   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 01:27 GMT
I pronounce Edinburgh as ED-in-bruh with a rolled r followed by a schwa. Is this correct, Damian? I would certainly hope so, since I am English (that is, from England) and Edinburgh is my favourite city name.

Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart forever,
Scotland the brave.
Julian   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 02:38 GMT
"So why is it that I constantly hear English speakers complaining and whining about being uncapable of producing this particular Castillian phoneme?"

"Now I'm hearing that they are replacing that "t" sound with a phoneme similar to the Spanish soft "r". I'm confused."

The confusion probably lies in the fact that most English speakers are unaware that the Spanish "r" is not the same as the English "r", but is closer to the American pronuncation of "t" or "tt" when between two vowel sounds. The two phonemes aren't exactly the same -- yes, the Spanish "r" is a bit tougher for a native English-speaker to master -- but are close proximities of each other. Of course, this all depends on the dialect of English or Spanish that one speaks.

Here's what the Spanish instruction guides say on this madder, er, matter:

"The single r can sound a lot like the English "d." Except at the beginning of words (where it is trilled), a single r is formed (more or less) by hitting the tongue against the front of the palate. It is sometimes said that the Spanish "r" sounds like the "tt" in "little," so you're hearing correctly. The exact pronunciation varies somewhat with the speaker, the region the person is from, and the placement of the letter in the word."

"You can try substituting the English letter 'd' for a single r. For example: Pero (Spanish) = Pedo (English). If you say it quickly it begins to take on the character of the Spanish r. I learned this from a friend from Colombia whose name was Miriam. She hated the swallowed 'r' that Americans make when they say her name, so she suggested that they call her Medium. Said quickly, that was much closer to the Spanish pronunciation of Miriam."
Mi5 Mick   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 02:51 GMT
Here in Australia there's a cricketer by the name of Simon Katich. You guessed it: all the commentators and reporters pronounce it "Kadich" invariably. The softening of the "t" to a "d" is common to all English speaking cultures as far as I'm concerned. In a formal setting, I would at least expect them to pronounce it correctly, but they don't! Cricketer also becomes "crickedah". I would say this happens more often than not in casual conversation.

Similarly, you could rewrite the following:
water - wadah
matter - madah
batter - badah
(where the first "a" syllable maintains its short length)

madder - maadah
badder - baadah
(Where the first "a" is lengthened. This also helps to distinguish these words from matter and batter)
Dan   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 03:02 GMT
i was talikg to this american english teacher, and he told me that the average american citizen will pronounce madder and matter wih the same light d sound, he also told me that they don't stress the d in ladder and latter

There is no difference between the "d" in "day" and the "dd" in "madder".

Well, according to my teacher there's is, the d is madder is really light, like the spanish r in pero.

There is no difference between the "d" in "day" and the "dd" in "madder".

This is the encarta pronunciation of madder,
do you think that this d sounds like the one in day?
mjd   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 03:42 GMT
David Winters said (referring to New Jersey): "Also know as "The Armpit of the Universe".

haha...Yeah, we New Jerseyans have heard that one ad nauseam. It's trite, obtuse, and other words, a typical David Winters post.
Damian   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 07:19 GMT
mjd: Don't fret over DW. I think he has problems.

Good morning to you. It's another horrible, grey, miserable, depressing, dark, dank, damp, dreary, dismal, doleful day here in the UK. What has happened to Summer 2004? Anyway, I'm going to be at work later so what the heck!

I love alliteration, don't you?
Damian   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 07:31 GMT
Ailian: thanks a lot for your post. New Orleans...I pronounce it your way. I wonder how the French say it? In the same way as they do for their own city of Orleans I guess.

Random: Edinburgh....your way spot on! Thanks for the musical touch too!

"Far of in sunlit places
Sad are the Scottish faces
Yearning to feel the Kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain".

This "summer" a wee bit too much of the "sweet Scottish rain"! Still, look on the bright keeps the countryside lovely and green.
Damian   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 07:33 GMT
typo: for "of" read "off". I type too fast!
Jordi   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 08:41 GMT
Since I grew up and learnt my English in Australia, for many years, I'm really baffled at your "casual" pronunciation of water, batter, matter and, even, cricketer, all of which I've always pronounced as battah, mattah and cricketah. I perfectly remember that was the way, back home, the people around me pronounced that some twenty years ago. I've been out of the country for quite a time now but I do have a few Australian friends in Europe and they all pronounce the way I do and that's the way most Australian broadcasters I've heard pronounce that sound. Maybe the world of cricket and sports does have a "broader" Australian accent. I'm highly interested in knowing if there is a generalised generation gap in the way Australians pronounce this sound or would you say it depends on background?
By the way, I've always pronounced Edinburgh as ED-in-bruh, without a rolled "r" I'm afraid, since I never roll my "r" in English although I do so in my also native Catalan.
Ailian   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 08:53 GMT
You guessed correctly! The French say it "la Nouvelle Orléans" in French, with Orléans receiving the same pronunciation as the city for which it was named, and usually say "New Orléans" (in the French accent, of course) in English. The Louisiana francophones say "(la) Nouvelle Orléans" as well, though it's a slightly different pronunciation -- the /e/ is a bit higher, close to /i/, and the r is sometimes tapped (as in Spanish), sometimes uvular (as in French).
nic   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 09:39 GMT

If we pronunce it in the english way, we will say "New Orleans" and not "New Orléans".
nic   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 09:41 GMT
rectification : "pronounce"
Mi5 Mick   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 14:58 GMT
Well, by casual conversation I do mean colloquial - this includes most aspects of spoken English whether its heard at "Question Time" in Parliament or among the bikies down at the pub, so how's that for "broadness" of accent? Of course Alexander Downer (minister for foreign affairs) pronounces everything most correctly. You'll always hear him pronounce "water", "potato", and "Katich" anally - the same goes for carefully verbalised English which isn't necessarily anal.

Maybe you ought to watch more English language TV; the written and verbal aspects are quite different. I assume most of your contact with the English speaking world is made through the written word so it could be that your aural judgement and observations are clouded.

Many Brits also soften the "t"; take Jamie Oliver who does it to the extreme where this consonant is often inaudible... what more can I say regarding your quandary? Listen to some Australian talkback radio via the web. Remember the Paul Hogan Show? "A best of" just came out on DVD. The show was made well before your 20 year gap and in it there's plenty of "t" softening to observe.
Jordi   Thursday, July 15, 2004, 16:17 GMT
I really and honestly appreciate all that information. Living in Spain and travelling to England every year, for very short periods and business, it's true I don't mix very much with the local crowd at the pub. I know I speak quite formal English because of professional reasons and of the kind of people I deal with. I will take time to listen to Australian talkback radio although I imagine the ABC broadcasts I occasionally listen to are hardly a good sample of present informal Australian speech. I'm still regarded a native Australian speaker (amongst other native speakers) although I imagine I would need to adapt again if ever I decided to visit friends back in Sydney. I've made a few Australian friends away from home, because they've recognised the accent immediately, although, unfortunately, there are too few of them in this part of the world. I imagine one tends to speak more formal English when abroad and speaking English with native speakers from different places must have somewhat changed my accent. I happen to speak English several hours a day with many different people in the trade. I've never known any other way of pronouncing "potato" than Mr. Downer does. I trust it's due to my carefully verbalised English and not to any other reason. By the way, I've always been proud of my Australian upbringing and feel really happy when I'm taken for one. I moved to Australia as little more than a toddler and my famiily didn't move back to Europe until I was a teenager.