Trivia Teaser

Which one of these people drowned?

Sigmund Freud, neurologist
Tsar Nicholas II
Brian Jones, Rolling Stones
Kurt Cobain, musician

Say, what?

18
Mar
2010
 

By Miranda

A lot of the time we do not say what we think we are saying. And I'm not referring to using a word the meaning of which we're not sure. It's the sound of things.
We've had some debate here recently over the pronunciation of the word 'Australia' - even after putting aside the usual (in some Australian accents) habit of leaving out the 'L' sound entirely, thus giving 'Austraia' and further confusing those trying to distinguish the Antipodean nation from the Oktoberfest one.
We found some disagreement as to syllables - we 'knew' that there were four in the nation's name and were shocked to find that our children were being taught IN SCHOOL that there were only three... until we stopped reading the word and started listening to what we really said.  Despite the visual prompt of the two vowels, 'I' and 'A', side by side, inviting a separate sound for each (which, confusingly, is exactly what they get in the name of that European much-more-successful-in-the-Winter-Olympics land), what we say is OSS-TRAY-LYA – feel free to amend the phonetic representation depending on your place of origin or idiom, the bit that doesn't change is the three, count them, three syllables we actually say.
Some convincing was required. There was recourse to singing the National Anthem and I Still Call Australia Home, though attempting 'I am, you are, we are Aus-tra-li-an' was no help as, in that case, it appears, the 'I've got this nice melody and no normal syllabification is going to get in the way of my using it' method, much loved in opera and plainsong, had been applied.
I blame the 'L' and, more, the 'LY' (where 'Y' is being a consonant) followed by any vowel. There's something fundamentally difficult in wrapping your tongue round it - and I have the same difficulty with the Japanese one-syllable sound represented as  RYA or RYU.
Maybe these who drop the 'L' completely are, after all, not 'ignorant' but efficient...

13 Responses to

Say, what?

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kragzy said:
March 19, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Onya mranda, breeyant, airpsly breeyant. Jevny maw eggs ampuls? Gissa mo annile finka summaw.

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March 19, 2010 at 3:57 PM

I actually understood you, kragzy. With difficulty, and I had to quietly say the words to myself first, but I understood. Whooppeee. I am one of those who have a tendency to pronounce all words properly, you see. In "good" English.

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rhve said:
March 19, 2010 at 9:57 PM

Yes kragzy, please finka summaw. Liesl, I remember being teased at school for speaking too well - not always appreciated in a small country town. My daughter had trouble with spelling so I taught her to speak well to give her some hope of sounding the words out.

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March 21, 2010 at 8:27 PM

I agree, rhve, spelling is much easier when pronouncing words correctly.

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Dumphrey said:
March 21, 2010 at 8:35 PM

For those mere mortals who suffered a less than adequate education and have difficulty in comprehending our Antipodean cousins, there used to be an excellent publication, which, I believe, was entitled "How to speak Strine".

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kragzy said:
March 22, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Hi Dumphrey. The book was called "Let Stalk Strine" by Afferbeck Lauder, published 1965. The author's real name was Ure Smith. Lest anyone think that my earlier post was a piece of breeyant finking all of my own - it wasn't. I lifted it from Let Stalk Strine - all thanks to Mr Smith.

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kragzy said:
March 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Whacha doon freester? I wazony sane lar snite, we orta godadda footy. Waddya finka Clarky, idney great. Azfa Fevola, eeza rep bairg. Enniway, nuffadis, seeya layda.

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rhve said:
March 22, 2010 at 2:23 PM

There was a wonderful poem in that book - How do I know if I'm really real? I spent hours as a child deciphering it but I find I can still remember bits of it now.

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artangel4 said:
March 23, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Yearp! Gob lessus wunnanawl assme nanna eustace ay! "Let's Stalk Strine" is a brilliant publication, very funny too. I was going to add further comment but am having difficulty with the articulation aspect, not to mention grammar, spelling and sentence construction!! Might chat wiath the neighbour for a second, seems to have a close relationship with our Mr. Lauder!!

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cheekygs said:
March 25, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Easter is upon us and still no egg hunt.. so sad but we did have St Patricks day which belongs to Ireland... I guess Lovatt's must be a Jewish site

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spoggy said:
April 09, 2010 at 10:18 PM

oss tray lee ah ! . shower,,, not shaaaar !,,power,, not paaahhh ,,, shh ed yule ,,, not sked ule !!! qui zine,,, not kiz ene !!!

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rhve said:
April 09, 2010 at 10:48 PM

Quite right Spoggy, and conTROVersy not contra versy. And why kiLOMetre? We don't say cenTIMetre or kiLOGram.

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June 04, 2010 at 4:15 AM

what a great blog!! Love the strine talk! I am an Aussie and we do speak like that, however we can spell and read the Queens English. It's just the accent. Oh wait....we don't have an accent, youse do! lol