Voice of America pronunciation guide!

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Wed Jun 18 13:29:30 UTC 2003

Forwarded from Linguist-List:

[The original posting] would like to point out a nifty source by which
anyone can find an authoritative spelling and pronunciation of foreign
place and personal names, as well as foreign common nouns. Sometimes
people know the name of a language or country or person in the news but
they want "some authoritative spelling or pronunciation" so that they can
tell their employer or teacher the source.

Think "Voice of America" and make a URL: http://www.voa.gov.  On the
home page, go to the lower left and click on "pronunciation guide."

1. MAIN provides a search box for typing in any word to get its
pronunciation, i.e. "abkhazia."

2.  SHORT LIST gives a long list of commonly requested names and words
with their pronunciation.

3.  METHODOLOGY tells where VOA got the pronunciations and cites all
its sources--great for finding basic books on language usage.

4 LANGUAGES tells how to pronounce words in various languages; a rough
guide, but just fine for those who are speaking English and don't want
to mangle the occasional foreign word.

5.  EMBASSIES gives a list of countries and the locations of their
embassies in Washington.

6.  DICTIONARY is a page of links to sites that provide foreign
dictionaries and other materials on foreign languages.

7.  CONTACTS is a wonderful invention by which those who disagree with
VOA's recommended pronunciation of a word may say so.  A telephone
number is also provided that reaches (so they say) someone who has all
the relevant printed sources within arm's reach, and if you do not
find the word you need in their list they will look it up for
you. (Our tax dollars at work!)

8.  HELP is not for the helpless.  It sets forth the pronunciation
scheme used in this whole guide so that the phonetically-written
pronunciations will actually make sense, in case, for instance, one
wonders whether "ay" means the vowel in "HAY" or the vowel in "HIGH."'
(Some people would really wonder about that.)

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