nucular and Latino

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu Nov 15 12:30:09 UTC 2001


I think you've got to distinguish between effort and product. They
try but fail to live up to your standards of accuracy. Without a
"deeper" knowledge of Italian, "cannoli" does sound like "holy" (no
gemination, except accidental, in English), and I hear many
rih-COAT-@ speakers (again, producing what they think is the Italian
vowel, although ignoring, of course, the gemination and the quality
of the first and last vowels. "Gnocchi" is tough I admit, and I hear
only "foodies" get it close to "right."

I think my poiint was that the native model is what is used here in
the process of borrowing. These are no longer Italian words; they now
"belong" to American English, and the question for me is whether or
not a "gross" target from the source language is copied or not. US
cearly wins over British, as I think you agreed, but I would claim
that an accurate pronunciation of the foreign words would deny the
fact that they have been borrowed into the language. Since English
lacks gemination, for example, we could hardly expect that to
survive. More importantly, since (except for a few dialects) US
English lacks undiphthongized mid-vowels, that would certainly have
no chance of servival.

Cut us some allophonic slack here.



>In a message dated 11/14/01 6:59:46 PM, preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU writes:
><< Well, I dunno. We do a pretty good job with Italian food items (for
>example), again, especially compared to traditional British
>proniciations, which actually used to have a pronuncaition  of
>"pizza" with rhymed with "pit." I've never heard anything is the US
>other than "Pete." Looks like the "Pete" pronunciation actually went
>  >>
>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
>Steve Boatti

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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