More Frenchified?

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Fri Sep 21 14:31:04 UTC 2001


These are very fruitful grounds for research, but, unfortunately, we
usually cite only isolated examples across a wide range of phenomena.
For a notable exception to that complaint see Charles Boberg's
excellent treatment of "foreign a" in English (British and US) in the
Journal of Language and Social Psychology (Vol. 18, No. 1, March
1999). Even that excellent article leaves some interesting unanswered
questions - /paekIstaen, /pakIstan/, and /pakIstaen/ but (so far as I
can hear) no /paekIstan/. Odd that pronunciation of "loan words" in
English usually gets only a prescriptivist glance when, for example,
the study of loan-word phonology in, say, Japanese is a major
linguistic subindustry. Of course, lexicographers are on the lookout
for the emerging (or emerged) "speech community" standards for such
items, but that does not satisfy the linguistic curiosity about the
phonological processes at work.


>At 9:57 AM -0400 9/21/01, Dennis R. Preston wrote:
>>Give an ear to classical music stations and you will hear
>>Frenchification in languages other than French, in this case
>>final-stress placement. Since it is my father-tongue, I suppose I am
>>oversensitive to this in Hungarian (which always places stress on the
>>first syllable) when such oddities as barTOK and koDALY (the latter
>>even with, amazingly, more or less correct realization of the final
>>-daly syllable) surface.
>And presumably not entirely explainable by the announcer having spent
>his/her formative years listening to classical music broadcasts in
>France or Quebec.  Well, French is the language of culture, after
>all.  Then of course there's the hyperforeignist [zh] for [j] (Taj
>Mahal, the Raj, Beijing) we've discussed on the list, again (we
>assume) influenced by the same redundancy rule,
>[+ exotic]==>[+ French].

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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