Phonetic alphabets

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Dec 6 17:54:21 UTC 2004

At 9:33 AM -0800 12/6/04, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
>On Dec 6, 2004, at 7:57 AM, FRITZ JUENGLING asked me:
>>This is really cool, but how do you pronounce your name?  Over the
>>years , I have in my mind always given the first two letters their
>>German pronunciations=[tsv].  Don't know why, but I'm sure that's
>i usually tell people it depends on what language they're speaking.
>[zw] if english, [tsv] (or [tsf]) if german.  the [zw], however, is a
>non-native, "difficult" cluster, so i tend to get pronunciations (and
>spellings) eliminating the difficulty: [z at w], [sw], [s at w], [z], or [w].
>  the first and third of these are possible *polish* names (variously
>spelled Zawicky, Zewicky, Zowicky, Sawicky, Sowicky, etc.), so they are
>very tempting; the polish diaspora is a hell of a lot bigger than the
>swiss diaspora.  and then the end of the name looks/sounds sort of
>slavic to lots of people, so it gets transformed into [IC], [ICi],
>[ICki], [Isk], [Iski], whatever.

With the last option appearing more frequently around cocktail hour?
(Allowing for the plausible derivation from 'god's whisky'.)

I was going to suggest you could tell them "as in _zwieback_", which
is the only English word I know of with an initial <zw> (excluding
proper names, of course).  But I see from AHD4 that this wouldn't
help--they give [swi:]-, [swai]-, [zwi:]-, and [zwai]- as possible
renderings for this delicacy, which I associate with newly weaned
babies.  (There's also a choice for the final vowel, front [ae] vs.
script [a].)  For me the only question with "zwieback" is the first
vowel, since I domesticate the latter.  I suppose I usually give it
as [zwaibaek], despite the spelling--simply because that's the way I
remember hearing it.  Anyway, I'm sure about the [zw].  Wonder if the
folks who have difficulty with Arnold's name use an epenthetic vowel
(or worse) with "zwieback" as well; maybe they just opt for the "s"


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