Coup de grace
juengling_fritz at SALKEIZ.K12.OR.US
Tue May 25 21:14:23 UTC 2004
I wasn't really suggesting that 'porsch' was the same phenomenon as *coup de grâce* --your question just remeinded me of it. I think you are suggesting that 'porsch' is a spelling pronunciation. I agree with that. But why should a spelling pronunciation take over? English speakers must have seen the cars before they heard any German speaker sayh the name of the car.?
Still seems odd that a name, and a well-known one at that, should be mispronounced.
Don't the Brits also say 'Don joo-un' instead of 'don (h)wan' and 'don kwikset' instead of 'don kee-ho-tay/tee'? Ouch! (I can't even give in to 'kwiksotic' even tho I am not a Spanish speaker). I'd be interested to see some nativisation or pronunciation studies.
> How about the name of the German car Porsche being pronounced 'Porsh'?
> BTW, I have never heard *coup de grâce* pronounced as anything other than
> [ku duh gra].
sjb72 at columbia.edu
The [porsh] pronunciation of 'Porsche' isn't the same phenomenon as the [ku duh
gra] pronunciation of 'coup de grâce', in my opinion (sorry if this was what
you meant too, Steve). I think that:
- [ku duh gra] is a hypercorrection arising from the feeling that no
identifiably French word should have a consonant pronounced at the end of it
(and thanks to others for the other examples, like *verdigris*)/`.
- [porsh] is due to a nativisation strategy. In British English, [porsh] is
standard native pronunciation of 'Porsche', with [porshuh] restricted to
specialists, I think (I am British, but not an engineer). It's not the same as
[ku duh gra] because, pronounced according to the rules of English, I think
it's arguable that 'Porsche' does indeed yield [porsh]: English doesn't
usually pronounce final <-e> as the nucleus of a distinct syllable (its effect
is on the quality of the preceding vowel instead).
Perhaps there's also an interesting point in the difference between British and
American English with regard to a) whether nativisation strategies are used and
b) if they are, what strategies are used. From some work I've recently done on
the nativisation of stress-patterns in loanwords from French (which had as its
starting-point in the literature Zwicky (1978) 'Across the Channel and across
the Atlantic', in *Linguistic Inquiry* - thanks Arnold!), I'd tentatively
argue that Americans often tend not to nativise as much as Brits anyway. I
draw this conclusion from the fact that <café> becomes AmEng [kae'fej]
(preserving at least the French stress) but BrEng ['kafej] or even ['kaefi]
(Northern dialects). If it's true that Americans do nativise less than Brits,
that might explain why the 'native' American pronunciation of <Porsche> is in
fact [porshuh], so the same as the German original. I don't speak German, so I
don't know whether there are any residual factors that would allow you to
distinguish between the German and the American pronunciations of <Porsche>,
given that the number of syllables is the same.
University of Pennsylvania
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