52 phonemes of English?

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Nov 23 22:03:46 UTC 2011

I think most people also pronounce "tsunami" with an initial "s" as well. How do most people pronounce "tse-tse"? As /si-tsi/?

A similar sound is /sr/ as in Sri Lanka--probably more widespread than initial /ts/--though many people use an /shr/ sound.

FWIW, I have been mildly teased for pronouncing Bach and Chanukah with the /kh/ sound, so I try to pick and choose my pronunciation.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

On Nov 23, 2011, at 1:50 PM, James A. Landau <JJJRLandau at netscape.com> wrote:

> Quick, maybe too quick, responses to Laurence Horn.
> In Russian "tsar" is indeed pronounced /tsar/, but most English-speakers pronunce both spellings "tsar" and "czar" as /zar/ with no leading /t/ and the sound before the "ar" being the voiced /z/.  Both versions of course, along with German "Kaiser" come from Latin "Caesar".  BTW I have a pet theory that in Latin the letter "c" before a front vowel did NOT change from /k/ ("hard c") to /s/ ("soft c") but instead went from /k/ to some other sound which most Romance languages converted to /s/.
>> 50. Arguably not a part of English, but still encountered, the initial
> /ts/ of "tzadik" (Hebrew, a righteous person) and "tsetse" (African, an
> unrighteous insect)
> LH: Or "tsar".  Of course this raises the question of one phoneme vs. two,
> but I suppose for consistency the same choice should be made here as for
> #40.  IPAists would classify both as two sounds phonetically, but that
> doesn't answer the phonemic issue.
> LH: True for Spain.  Isn't /h/ more likely in Mexico? Well, anyway, I think
> "chutzpah", "(big) macher", and "loch" are more likely suspects. And
> "Bach". And "Chanukah" for some speakers.  And "Khrushchev".
> me: in my limited contacts with New Word native Spanish speakers, I have most often heard "j" (and "g" before "e" or "i") pronounced as /kh/ but a noticeably midler /kh/ than in Hebrew or German.  That's why I like to call it "a half-hearted /kh/".  Any experts on hispanoamerican phonetics out there?
> Most native speakers of English refer to Johann Sebastian /bak/. not /bakh/.

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