[Ads-l] thoughts on this idea? variant pronunciations in a dictionary receive individual etymologies

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 8 05:31:25 EST 2017

Thanks Tim and good luck with your pronunciation project on blend words.

Phonetics Needs Improvement

Your project highlights the fact that US English is in desperate need of a simplified but accurate pronunciation guide.  This I have provided in 1986 called truespel phonetics.   It's free on the internet with tutorials, a two-way converter, and phonic/phonetic analyses of US English.  Otherwise the VOA provides the "official?" Us English pronunciation guide (being an official US government publication) .  See <http://justpaste.it/voaspel> https://justpaste.it/voaspel    M-w.com is OK but it's off on the voiced "awe" sound and it's notation unlike truespel uses special symbols

Answers to questions

1.  Yes - show blend word segment pronunciation and ety

2. The IPA was a good idea in 1888, but English must be the model for phoneme spellings now.  Truespel phonetics is so easy it can be learned in an hour and is "writable" using standard punctuation, capitalization and no special symbols.  http://truespel.com

Phonetic Eval

"BUDDHAGAN" is not in m-w.com.  You write -

          BUDDHAGAN. noun. \'bu-dE-gEn\ [BUDDHA + paGAN] or \bu-`da-gEn\ [BUDDHa
          + pAGAN] A person who identifies with aspects of Buddhism and paganism.
Using truespel (~) I assume -
  \'bu-dE-gEn\ = ~Buedigin      (where first syl is stressed, ~ue is as in "true", and ~i is as in "pin".)

 \bu-`da-gEn\ = ~Bueddaegin  (where ~ddae is stressed "DAY")

Other Comments

1.  Is the "b" in BUDDHAGAN supposed to be capitalized.  By using all caps I can't tell.

2.  Why make up a notation when standard truespel or even VOAspel is available for reverence.

3.  Truespel spells out all "schwas" so you know how to say them.  They can be  various short vowel sounds.  It's superior to IPA in this regard.

Good luck.  Let me know if I can help.   PS the VOA has a truespel dictionary at authorhouse.com

Tom Zurinskas,
Originally SWConn 20 yrs,  college Tenn 3,  work NJ  33,  now FL 14.
truespel phonetics free converter and  tutorials - http://truespel.com

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Tim Stewart <timoteostewart1977 at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Friday, January 6, 2017 2:59 AM
Subject: thoughts on this idea? variant pronunciations in a dictionary receive individual etymologies

I'm writing a dictionary of blend words, and each entry has an etymology
that shows which parts of the source words became part of the blend. So the
etymology of *brunch* looks like [BReakfast + lUNCH].

I'm toying with an idea I don't think I've seen in a dictionary, and I'm
curious what the ADS-L folks think about it. Suppose we have the word
*buddhagan* which is a blend of the words *Buddhist* and *pagan*. The word
*buddhagan* is pronounced by people either of two ways:
(1) stress on first syllable and schwa after the /d/ sound; or
(2) stress on second syllable and long /a/ vowel after the /d/ sound.

Each pronunciation suggests a different way of analyzing the way the source
words have been blended. With the first pronunciation, we would analyze the
blend as the entire word *buddha* plus the syllable "gan" from "pagan".
With the second pronunciation, we would analyze the blend as "buddh" plus
the "agan". As you can see, the color of the /a/ vowel in the pronunciation
indicates which source word contributed the "a". See text example below as
well as a link to a screenshot from a PDF to illustrate how these two
pronunciations and etymologies might be presented in a dictionary:

(please pretend that capital E in the pronunciations means a schwa. and
please pardon the terrible phonetic transcription---the ADS-L listerver
butchers Unicode, doesn't it? otherwise I would have been glad to use

     BUDDHAGAN. noun. \'bu-dE-gEn\ [BUDDHA + paGAN] or \bu-`da-gEn\ [BUDDHa
+ pAGAN] A person who identifies with aspects of Buddhism and paganism.

Link to high-res screenshot of this same example:


My questions...

(1) Does it seem like a useful feature to provide each pronunciation with
its own etymology if the analysis of the blend is different for each
pronunciation? Any specific critiques or suggestions about this?

(2) On a tangential note: How vital is it that a newly published dictionary
intended for a scholarly and professional audience (let's say: comparative
religions scholars; historians; journalists) use IPA for the
pronunciations? At present I'm using the phonetic transcription scheme used
in the Merriam-Webster family of dictionaries since I figure it's familiar
to many readers, but I would like to gather some additional opinions and
reactions on this.

Thanks in advance,


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
American Dialect Society<http://www.americandialect.org/>
The American Dialect Society, founded in 1889, is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other ...


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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