How is pho really pronounced?

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri Oct 19 00:28:20 UTC 2012

On Oct 18, 2012, at 4:19 PM, Michael Newman <michael.newman at QC.CUNY.EDU> wrote:

> The closest approximation in English to the Vietnamese I think is [=C9=9C]=
> . Think of the bird vowel without the rhoticity

i don't k now how to decode this formatting, but i assume this is turned epsilon (like wedge / turned v, but central rather than back).

wedge / turned v is then the closest English phoneme, so it's no surprise that Wiktionary gives that transcription.

but the English wedge phoneme occurs in accented word-final position only in expressive words like "duh".  so English speakers are moved to use something else that's more native.  /a/ or open o would be not too distant -- but the Vietnamese writing system uses the letter |o| (with diacritics) for this vowel, so people are inclined to go for /o/.


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