nucular and Latino

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Thu Nov 15 11:01:29 UTC 2001

--On Wednesday, November 14, 2001 9:57 pm +0000 Ittaob at AOL.COM wrote:
> I' ve already agreed we're better than the Brits. The point is, other than
> for Spanish, Americans don't try to copy the native pronuinciation.
> Americans may think that "cannoli" rhymes with "holy", or that "ricotta"
> rhymes with "a lotta", but they don't. And only food cognoscenti can
> properly pronounce "gnocchi.".

Most Americans don't try to copy Spanish pronunciation in my experience.
The examples we've cited have been some newscasters, but I heard lots of
mangled Spanish words from Texans and my upstate NY family wouldn't know a
Spanish pronunciation if it hit them on the heads.  On the other hand, I
know plenty of people who try to pronounce French words Frenchly, or who
are happy to give you long lectures about stress assignment in Russian
authors' names.  I think it is just a matter of familiarity, and a general
sense that the correct way to pronounce things is as they are pronounced by
natives.  If you know how Spanish is 'supposed' to be pronounced, you do it
that way.

Of course, this only happens when we perceive a language difference.  It
would be 'impolite' to pronounce 'grits' with a Southern pronunciation if
you're not Southern, or to pronounce 'African American' in an AAVE 'accent'
if you're not Black.


Dr M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
Acting Director, MA in Applied Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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