Thomas Paikeday t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA
Fri Aug 11 03:14:27 UTC 2000

Mark Mandel's comment gives me an opportunity to define "system"  and explain
how our keyless pronunciation system can handle a non-English word like

This may not be very relevant, but "system" is "a form of organization" as in
"a system of philosophy; buddy, capitalist, caste, classification, monetary
systems; the decimal, immune, merit systems; a computer system for handling a
payroll; the pronunciation system of a dictionary." (The User's™ Webster)

Since the User's™ pronunciation system is meant for English speakers (I thought
I killed or at least scotched "the native speaker" circa 1985 in The Native
Speaker Is Dead!), pronunciation respellings are given in anglicized form. This
system doesn't fail if its basic principles are adhered to.

First we ascertain the common Slavic pronunciation of "Skoplje" from an
authoritative source. Yugoslavs may say the word in two syllables, but the
English speaker cannot handle the palatalized "l" sound with ease. An
acceptable English pronunciation has to be in three syllables, "-lje" becoming
"-lee.ay." The first syllable, "Skop-," is heard as either short "o" (as in
"cop") or diphthong "o" (as in "cope").

The keyless respelling is then written as (SCOP.lee.ay) or (SCOPE.lee.ay). I
would consider a respelling such as (SKOHP.lyeh) as seen in some encyclopedias
rather un-English and too abstract for the common English speaker.

I hope you find this keyless pronunciation clear enough for Americans, natives
and non-natives.

Tom Paikeday
                 THOMAS M. PAIKEDAY, lexicographer since 1964
         Latest work: "The User's™ Webster," Lexicography, Inc., 2000
               ISBN 0-920865-03-8 / utpbooks at utpress.utoronto.ca
Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM wrote:

> Thomas Paikeday <t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA> writes:
> >>>>>
> Everyone prefers a keyless pronunciation system. So how do
> you define "system"?
> <<<<<
> You have hit the nail on the head. English spelling is so chaotic and
> context-dependent that any phonological "system" based on it must fail, . . .

> (The example I remember of the last one, perhaps from _Black Lamb and Grey
> Falcon_ [or was it vice versa?], was "Skoplje". Can anyone give this a
> clear keyless pron for Americans?!)
> A senior co-worker once objected to the symbols I was establishing for the
> phonemes of American English: "Surely you can make them clearer so they'll
> be obvious to any native speaker."
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