Does English sound like other Germanic languages?

Pat   Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:00 pm GMT
Wide pitch range?
In my opinion North American English sounds quite monotonous compared to even British English.

As to the pronunciation in the regions you mentioned, it is because those regions were strongly influenced by immigrants from non-Anglo-Saxon Germanic countries.

Melk?
When I went to Belgium, I thought that that was quite a reasonable spelling of Milk, as that's how I pronounce it. (I'm from the Pacific Northwest).

Germanic-Romance language?

Yes we have some Latin and Norman influence, but not that much.
Pat   Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:06 pm GMT
Wide pitch range?
In my opinion North American English sounds quite monotonous compared to even British English.

As to the pronunciation in the regions you mentioned, it is because those regions were strongly influenced by immigrants from non-Anglo-Saxon Germanic countries.

Melk?
When I went to Belgium, I thought that that was quite a reasonable spelling of Milk, as that's how I pronounce it. (I'm from the Pacific Northwest).

Germanic-Romance language?

Yes we have some Latin and Norman influence, but not that much.
Julien   Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:05 pm GMT
Does English sound like other Germanic languages?


yes, but not so much. We can tell they're differents.


I just want to add: French is a ROMANCE language. Not "germanic" or "gaulish" or I don't know what else. You blather.
TaylorS   Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:45 pm GMT
<<<Take a person who doesn't know English. Have them listen to German, English, and French. Then ask them to say which language English sounds like the most. I bet, they would say that English sounds more like French then German.

I've actually done that with some of my Korean & Taiwanese friends. They were quick to say, that German and English sound very different from one another. They both agreed, that English and French were closer in the intestiny English was spoken, the rythem, the words, everything. And these girls, do not speak a word of German or English, and they could tell them apart. They could tell that the voice on tape A was English and the voice on tape B was German. Just based on the way the two languages sound. Not once, did they confuse them.

My point is, if English is close to a Germanic language, then, why is it that many people who don't speak German or English don't confuse the two? I mean, these girls could easily tell the two apart. They knew the languages were two different language. And, I did not tell them they were. I simply played the tapes, A =English, B=German and C=French, and they knew that A and B were not the same language, and said that A and C sounded more alike, then A and B...

So whatever. I am still a firm believer that English has a tone of it's own, and sounds like no other language. >>>

I'm a native speaker of course so I don't have a totally objective viewpoint, but IMO English sounds similar to Dutch, Frisian, and Danish. It sounds different from German because German had the High Germanic Consonant Shift. The Germanic languages, including English, sound quite distinct from the Romance Languages, including French, because of differences in prosodic patterns and syllable structure. The Romance languages have simpler syllable structures and are spoken with a syllable-timed rhythm. The Germanic languages have complex syllable structures with a stress-timed rhythm.
blanche   Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:50 pm GMT
"Well, that's precisely what it is! "

This is completely false! English is a Germanic language with many words of Latin origine in its vocabolary, that's all!
TaylorS   Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:56 pm GMT
<<<Well, English USED to sound a lot like other Germanic languages like Frisian, Dutch etc.. but I guess it split off the moment the Great Vowel Shift took place back in the 14-16th centuries. I think the loss of the guttural "gh" in Modern English is probably the main thing which sets it apart from other Germanic languages by ear.

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

But strangely, there are a few BE dialects which are strangely "Frisianic" or "Dutchesque" sounding, and there are occasions where I've heard Dutch spoken from a distance by (possibly) tourists, and mistook it for being a peculiar accent of English..

I would have to vote Liverpudlian, with its slightly guttural k's & g's, to sound most like other Low-Germanic or Northern-Germanic languages.. (from a distance!). In fact most accents from the West Midlands, Yorkshire and North England sound closer to Germanic languages' pronunciation than Southern English or North American English accents. lol >>>

To me Frisian sounds like a long-lost English dialect. It's seems like I "should" understand it but the vocabulary is all wrong, LOL!!!
TaylorS   Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:04 pm GMT
<<<Wide pitch range?
In my opinion North American English sounds quite monotonous compared to even British English. >>>

Come here to the Upper-Midwestern US and you would change your mind. Scandinavian influence has given my local dialect it's well-known "singy-songy" intonation which in us younger speakers seams to be solidifying into a pitch accent.
e   Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:18 am GMT
Why would anybody ever want to go the upper-midwestern US though?
blurb   Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:14 am GMT
"My point is, if English is close to a Germanic language, then, why is it that many people who don't speak German or English don't confuse the two? I mean, these girls could easily tell the two apart. They knew the languages were two different language. And, I did not tell them they were. I simply played the tapes, A =English, B=German and C=French, and they knew that A and B were not the same language, and said that A and C sounded more alike, then A and B..."

Hello. It's possible that they thought this because that particular selection was Latinate-heavy. Not to sound arrogant, (native English speaker, so I don't really know) but it seems kind of like an inescapable conclusion that the sound of the language would vary from time to time, sometimes sounding more Latinate and other times more Germanic. There may be times when it sounds a lot like German or something around that and other times where it sounds a lot like French or something around that. Then, sometimes, as you say, it could really have its own sound.

Another thing - some people have said that English sounds different because the sounds are different. Yeah, maybe. Respectfully. However, there's also something to be said just for the letters in the words. If someone mispronounces something, it's probably still gonna sound like the same language to someone who's not a native speaker.

Okay, one more point. Old English was about the same as the other Germanic languages from way back when. It's amazing to look at Old English and see just how similar the words are to modern English words.
Maybe they don't really look the same, but from what little I've read they're kind of pronounced the same. Then, if you chop off the suffixes and prefixes, they really look just like modern English. What I'm saying here is, if Old English was just like the early Germanic languages, and the Germanic languages all evolved sounding similar, it seems like English would sound similar, too.
eg   Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:28 pm GMT
Old English had some sounds that didn't exist in most of the other Germanic languages like the "ash" vowel (the 'a' in the Modern English word 'pass' or 'ash'), and some of its more unusual diphthongs. Also if you compare modern English to the present day Germanic languages, it has some very conservative sounds in it such as the voiced and unvoiced <th> sounds that AFAIK only exist in modern Icelandic and most varieties of Danish, and some dialects of Norwegian. Also modern English has some diphthongs like /eI/ and /oU/ or /@U/ that are uncommon in both the Gmc and Romance languages.
Leasnam   Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:47 pm GMT
<<Hello. It's possible that they thought this because that particular selection was Latinate-heavy. ...the sound of the language would vary from time to time, sometimes sounding more Latinate and other times more Germanic.>>

Even when English is heavily latinate, it is still germanic-sounding. We do not pronounce latinate words in a latinate way but in a germanic/English way.

For instance, look at the way we pronounce these Latinate words:
nature
pattern
foreign
savvy
cry
motor
sound (noise)
table
information
paper (<papyrus<Gk)
reference

Saying these words in English doesn't evoke any Romantic Italian or Spanish sound
blurb   Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:50 am GMT
Hello again.

Here I have attempted to create some words that I think must sound like English. This is because they're made up of words, prefixes and suffixes that are used in English, but you never hear them put together quite like this, although they could be. I've even tried to put them together in a way that makes sense.

So, here it is.

Pretake, disbreak, and amake an autostate of antisorts. Unspeak the dewritten presound of expaper. Bookified people antisell piecelings of undeery stories to automice. Automice forewalk through orangeness, unloud and unsignfull. Subplants are ecofactions for undeer and uncats to alead yellowization from disbroken leatherish predeer. They retalked anear to bemake or adraw unisound.

This very well could be how it sounds.
blurb   Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:02 am GMT
"Even when English is heavily latinate, it is still germanic-sounding. We do not pronounce latinate words in a latinate way but in a germanic/English way.

For instance, look at the way we pronounce these Latinate words:
nature
pattern
foreign
savvy
cry
motor
sound (noise)
table
information
paper (<papyrus<Gk)
reference

Saying these words in English doesn't evoke any Romantic Italian or Spanish sound"


That's a good point, but it would probably still sound something like Latinate.
Robin Michael   Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:37 am GMT
Native Speaker - Spelling?

"They both agreed, that English and French were closer in the intestiny English was spoken, the rythem, the words, everything."

On Friday I had a pint of Deuchars. I am never quite sure how to pronounce the name of this beer. Actually I didn't, because it has gone up from 99p to 1.29

www.caledonian-brewery.co.uk/ipa_home.html

I often have difficult in recognising English when overhearing Scottish people speaking together, particularly on the West Coast, around Glasgow.

Scots-Online - Pittin the Mither Tongue on the Wab!

www.scots-online.org/

Scots is the Germanic language, related to English, spoken in Lowland Scotland and Ulster, not the Celtic language Gaelic!

Your Scottish Slang Word O' The Day: Teuchter


http://literalbarrage.org/blog/archives/2005/01/24/your-scottish-slang-word-o-the-day-teuchter/


The North East of Scotland where I live is sometimes referred to as the Dutch Fringe.
Leasnam   Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:05 pm GMT
<<That's a good point, but it would probably still sound something like Latinate. >>

Most people who do not know the etymologies of such words would consider them native.

English does not sound like Italian or Spanish, or Latin when it's spoken nowadays (--realizing true Latin may have sounded much different).

Sorry if this bursts a bubble :(