Thursday, 17 February 2011

another howler

credit: Jojo Mendoza
Here's another howler from my pronunciation assessment sessions:
ˈkjuːrənt vəˈkɛnsiːs ʔaː
ʔˈʌpdeɪtət ʔɒn ə ˈwiːklɪ ˈbɛsɪs

Noice - innit? No, it's not nice - it's frustratinɡ, depressing, exasperating, discouraging, …
Those poor lads and lassies had 7 to 9 years of English at a German secondary school. They proudly wear their Abitur laurels granting them access to university studies. But some of them have a pronunciation which is beyond repair within the confines of a semester’s course. I don’t expect them to know how to pronounce words like ‘mien’, ‘agraffe’, ‘estafette’, ‘muleta’ or ‘theologaster’; but ‘basis’, ‘current’ or ‘vacancies’??? End of rant of a temporarily cantankerous old man.


  1. Then again, you've Americans who are quite fluent in German, with few mistakes in declension and even with the occasional fitting idiomatic expression - but they consistently pronounce each and every spelt z as a [z].

  2. And most of my students refuse to believe me when I tell them they don't pronounce a /g/ at the end of -ing forms of verbs, etc.... :(

  3. singer versus finger is a problem for some of my German students: to /g/ or not to /g/ ...

  4. Just tell 'em that a "finger" is not someone who "fings".