Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Goodness it's [ˈɛɪjaˌfjatlaˌjœːkʏtl̥]

The LSA tweeted this article earlier today, and brought this issue to my attention. Anglicization, or non-IPA transcriptions using sounds and syllables from English have always fascinated me, and therein lie just about 100% of recent disputes over how to say the volcano's name.
Here
you'll find a linguist's take on pronouncing the volcano's name.
I'm not sure if this anglicization
EY-ya-fyat-lah-YOH-kuht
would work for anyone but a certain type of American English speaking reader.
For comparison take a look at the BBC's suggestion.
AY-uh-fyat-luh-YOE-kuutl (-uh)
The *best* time to debate this is while waiting for the foam to settle on one's Guinnesses-as this should be the maximum amount of time anyone should spend arguing about this sort of transcription without looking carefully at a language's spelling (if it's written), transliteration conventions (as this isn't how the name is spelled in icelandic, now is it? It has been translitered, somehow, standardly, nonstandardly, etc into English I assume?) and list of possible sounds (phoneme inventory) using a a more-or-less rigorous and precise symbol-set, the IPA. Once you have done that, then you can a) have a useful conversation using terms and symbols that folks mostly agree upon and b) drink your Guinness.

Where oh where can I find this sort of analysis? At the Language Log. I have no idea why I haven't been reading this blog-I think I first heard of it about 5 years ago. Bottoms up.

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