How do you read out a non-English personal name/placename, native English speakers? Non-English personal and place names frequently appear in English texts. They usually have apparently different spelling style from English, although spelt in English alphabet too. I am always wondering how native English speakers read these names out? Do you have any difficulty doing this? Maybe we can transform or change this question into another: how English speakers have been transliterating a personal/place name of other languages into its English spelling? Would you please give me some explanation about the main rules under which you get and read out a spelling for a name from a non-English languages? For example: Wojtsusik.
Feb 26, 2017 1:09 PM
Answers · 4
As best we can - which isn't always good. We ask first. If we hear someone else say it first, we'll try to imitate that person. We'll make guesses based on what we think it might sound like. We may sound it out using whatever letters we're given, keeping in mind rules we half remember from languages we don't really know. The vowels could do anything. So, I see "Wojtsusik," that looks vaguely eastern European to me - I would guess that "j" probably sounds like "i" or "y," so I would guess "Woy-it-soo-sick." Also, in English name spellings and name pronunciations are often very, very different (due many reasons including the weirdness of English spelling or weirdness during immigration). So, we're open to correction when someone says "You say it ______."
February 26, 2017
Since we have no real way of doing it we tend to come up with "howlers". Our true reference is the BBC who maintain a department of pronunciation which is used as the core solution for these things. Even then we have issues. Let's take "Prince", an English word but also a French word with a different pronunciation but the same meaning. How then do we talk about "Port au Prince" the capital of Haiti, a country famous for using the French language? Half of us call it "Prince" and the others call it "Pr en ce"
February 26, 2017
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