March 19, 2007

Language — How Does it Sound?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:02 pm

On March 16th, I posted “The Translator,” which was a video clip of a comedian pretending to speak several languages other than English. For comedic effect, she zeroed in on the phonemes that English speakers often associate with certain foreign languages. It was a riot.

I have often wondered which phonemes non-English speakers associate with English. I had this discussion years ago (albeit in halting German) when I asked my beer-drinking buddy how English “sounded” to him. Unlike the comedian in the “Translator” post, he was unable to reproduce the signature sounds of English, but he described English as sounding “Hard, much like the noises made by a cat.” I found that observation to be fascinating.

If there are any non-native English speaking readers out there (and I know of a handful), I ask you, “How does spoken English sound to you?”

Better yet, can anyone direct me to a site where someone with the skill of the comedian in “The Translator” where I can hear “Fake-English” (i.e. English as it sounds to a non-English speaker?)

Thank you and Gute Nacht.

Update: Originally in this post I had made several references to the “Woids” post, when I really meant the post entitled “The Translator”. Thanks to Erica for pointing out my dumbshittery.

Another Update: Do not miss the comments to this post. They are terrific, and many contain entertaining and informative links. No kidding.

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