Sorry for posting in HTML, but I need a bit more formatting than usual.

For an essay that I am writing, I need to give some rough guidelines for the
pronunciation of the most widespread languages written in the Latin

Needless to say, English is one of the two languages which is giving me
troubles (the other one is French, of course).

As most people here is mother-tongue English and trained in linguistics,
would someone be so kind to have a look at my current draft and let have
some a few opinions, corrections, suggestions, etc.

The essay is intended for an Italian audience, hence some guidelines which
may sound obvious to readers speaking most other languages (such as the one
about the pronunciation of digraph "cc").

The draft follows. Thank you all in advance for any help.

_ Marco


English pronunciation guidelines

Note that the guidelines given below are just broad approximations. As
English uses an etymological spelling, no strict rules of pronunciation can
be given. The only real rule which works always is: look up the phonetic
transcription in your dictionary.

Phonetic transcription follows Kirshenbaum's IPA-ASCII. Notice the following

Symbol Means
[a] "a" in "has"
[D] "th" in "this"
[O] "o" in "lock"
[j] "y" in "yes"
[N] "ng" in "thing"
[S] "sh" in "shoe" ([tS] is "ch" in "church")
[T] "th" in "thin"
[Z] "s" in "vision" ([dZ] is "j" in "jelly")
[V] "u" in "cut"
[@] "a" in "about"
[:] long vowel



Sign "Broad" "Slender"
b [b]
c [k] [s]
cc [k] [ks]
ch [tS] / [k]
d [d]
dj [dZ]
f [f]
g [g] [g] / [dZ]
gh(*) [g]
gn [n] / [gn]
gu [gw] [gw] / [g]
h [h]
i(**) [j]
j [dZ]
k [k]
kn [n]
l [l]
m [m]
mb [m]
n [n]
ng [N] / [Ng]
p [p]
ph [f]
ps [s]
qu [kw] / [k]
r [r]
rh [r]
s [s] / [z]
ss [s]
sc [sk] [s]
sh [S]
t [t]
th [D] / [T]
tch [tS]
v [v]
u(**) [w]
w(*) [w]
wh [w]
wr [r]
x [ks]
y(*) [j]
z [z]
(*: see also sections Vowels and Diphthongs)
(**: "i" and "u" sometimes have a consonantal sound when preceding a vowel;
see also sections Vowels and Diphthongs)

In the above table, I call a consonant slender when it is followed by "e",
"i" or "y"; broad in all other cases. [BTW, the terms are borrowed from
Gaelic grammar; anyway, the Italian version will use "dura" and "dolce",
which are the usual terms used in Italian to refer to the two sounds of "c"
and "g"]



Sign Unstressed Stressed, short Stressed, long
a [@] [a] [ei] / [a:]
e [@] [e] / [] [i:]
i [@] [i] [ai]
o [@] [O] / [V] [@u]
u [@] [u] / [V] [ju:]
y(*) [@] [i] [ai]
(*: see also section Consonants)

The stress can fall on any syllable of a word, and there is no indication in
the spelling as of which syllable is stressed. As a rule of thumb, most
words are stressed on the first syllable.

Notice that "e" is almost always mute at the end of a vowel which contains
at least another consonants.

As a rule of thumb, a vowel is long when:

1. it is the only vowel in a word ending by a vowel (e.g.: "be" [bi:];
"I" [ai]; "no" [n@...])

2. it is followed by a single consonant itself followed by a vowel. For
the purpose of this rule, also mute "e"'s count as vowels.



Sign Sound
ai / ay [ei] / [e]
al [O:(l)]
au / aw [O]
ea [i:] / [e]
ee [i:]
ei / ey [ei] / [i:] / [i]
eigh [ai] / [ei]
eu / ew [ju:]
igh [ai]
ie / ye [ai]
oa [@u]
oe [u:]
oo [u] / [u:] / [V]
oi / oy [oi]
ou / ow [au] / [u] / [u:] / [@]
oul [u:]
ough [u:] / [@u] / [O:] / [au] / [Vf]
uy [ai]

Notice that I am using diphthong, quite improperly, to indicate any any
sequence of letters beginning by a vowel letter.


Vowels + "r"

Sign Short Long
ar [@] [@:]
er [@] [@:]
ir [@] [@:]
or [@] [O:]
ur [@] [ju@]

Notice that the above sounds only apply when the above groups of letters are
at the end of a word or followed by a consonant. If they are followed by a
vowel, the "r" is part of the second syllable, so it and the two vowels
around it retain their normal value as found in sections Vowels and



When some dental consonants would, by the above guidelines, be followed by a
[j] sound, they merge with it forming palatal consonants:

Sequence Becomes Example
[s] + [j] [S] "mission" *['misj@...] > ['miS@...]
[z] + [j] [Z] "vision" *['vizj@...] > ['viZ@...]
[t] + [j] [tS] (*) "nature" *['neitju@] > ['neitS@]
[d] + [j] [dZ] "would you" *['wudj@] > ['wudZ@]
(*: notice, however, that the common termination "-tion" is pronounced


[The End]

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