Sunday, June 5, 2005

Joe's Canadian

Tim forwarded on to me Joe typo'dly being Canadian:

Joe: sounds aboot right
Tim: yer Canadian now?
Joe: eh?

And I was good; I didn't start in on a rant/discussion at Tim about the details of Canadian pronunciations! But, as it turns out, I did recently track down some useful webpages about it, because my mom had asked me for some details. The two sites are here and here, but I shall attempt my own explanation.

You'll have to play along and say words and notice how your mouth moves to form the words, for this to make the most sense. It also helps if you have the same dialect as I do, because then you don't have to read the IPA transcriptions of how to pronounce these words.

Say "about" [əbæut]. Focus on the "ou" part. Try to feel how your tongue moves throughout the sound, starting from the position that it's in for the word "at" and ending at the position that it's in for the word "boot". (This vowel sound, which you should be able to see is actually made of blending two vowels, is called a diphthong.) You'll probably have to try saying "about" ridiculously slowly to be able to see what I mean; that's okay. :)

The Canadian pronunciation is technically called "Canadian raising," so-called because they say their diphthong starting at a vowel higher in the mouth than our starting point. Instead of starting your diphthong at the vowel sound in "at," instead start at the sound of the first "a" in "ahead." End the diphthong at the same position as you normally do, and you should have a rough estimation of the Canadian pronunciation.

Now, you may have noticed that the typical way of imitating the Canadian pronunciation of "about" is to say "a boat," and that that mimickry never says 100% like Canadians, just close enough for mockery's sake. That's because the imitation is "a boat" [əbut], without a diphthong for the vowel. The actual pronunciation is something more like "a buh-oot" [əbʌut].

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Joseph said...

*thows fit, smashes buildings*