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Author Topic: A struggle of pronunciation  (Read 10584 times)

Æscwulf

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A struggle of pronunciation
« on: April 27, 2012, 02:04:06 PM »
I'm currently going through lesson one of the correspondence course and there's one word I'm struggling to say and that is the Englisc verb 'sec' ( seek in modern English ) is it pronounced as sec? As in shortening down seconds? Or is it pronounced simply as 'seek' ?

David

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2012, 04:47:53 PM »

Sec is the old English stem for seek but to help with pronunciation it is useful to add accents.
Then the stem is written as sēċ which tells us that the vowel is pronounced as the vowel in the word wait and the c is pronounced “ch”.
To make it sound like sec(ond) you would write sec.
To make it sound like seek you would write sīc.

The correspondence course uses the lines over the vowels (macrons) to signify long vowels but does not use the dots. So they would write sēc.

Good luck with the course.

David

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 12:18:43 PM »
When using modern English to help with pronouncing old English you need to be aware of the great vowel shift in about 1500. This changed the pronunciation of the long vowels.
ā changed from the vowel in car to the vowel in moat
ē changed from the vowel in hate to the vowel in heat
ī changed from the vowel in seen to the vowel in sign
ō changed from the vowel in moat to the vowel in hoot
ū changed from the vowel in hoot to the vowel in how
Then the spelling often changed to reflect this.

So hām – pronounced harm became home
     hē – pronounced hay became he
     wīf – pronounced weef became wife
     tōð – pronounced toath became tooth
     cū – pronounced coo became cow
The old English ō did change to slightly different sounds depending on when the change took place so we also have fōt becoming foot.

So assuming that seek came from old English we would probably have expected it to be sēc (pronounced sake) whereas in fact it is sēċ.


Horsa

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 07:42:05 PM »
ē changed from the vowel in hate to the vowel in heat

The diphthong in hate is closest sound in Modern English to what we believe is represented by ē. However, the actual sound was a long pure vowel that doesn't exist in modern English. Imagine Fonzie thumbs up saying "ehhhh" and that's pretty close to ē. Or check out this YouTube video of Alaric Hall describing the pronunciation of the different vowels

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FLwD0H256w

Æscwulf

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2012, 11:38:29 AM »
Thanks for the help everyone,

It's actually really hard but slowly getting use to the OE language I can now say a sentence as if I was born speaking OE

David

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 12:37:03 PM »

Thanks Horsa for the videos which are informative.
I did wonder about the pronunciation of ǣ.
I pronounce old English þǣr with the same vowel sound as the modern English there.
I also pronounce the short i as in hit and the long i as in heat which for me are two different sounds not just one lasting longer in time than the other. Maybe longer has a different meaning.

Horsa

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 04:57:18 PM »
I've been at the Old English for 18 years, and the pronunciation is an area that I'm particularly interested in. I read aloud a lot I want to get a natural sound. Basically I want to go Jurassic park on Old English, of course (to stretch the metaphor) some DNA will have to be supplied from modern organisms or synthesized (they recently found out that t-rex was covered in feathers). It's a thrill reading what people had to say back then in their own language, but I find it more of a thrill to hear.

Only relatively recently did I find out that the long and short vowels were the same quality. Up until then I pronounced u as in book and in hoot, and i the way you described it. Weirdly, I found ǣ to be the easiest vowel. I'm from London though and we have long and short ǣ in our speech variety. 'Mad' is pronounced with a long vowel, and 'fat' with the same vowel just short. 'Batman' in my accent has both lengths of the vowel.

I've been practicing the short high i and e for a while now. Bit of a mind-bender in the beginning, but slowly getting used to it.

Linden

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2012, 10:44:03 PM »
I'm going to this study day at Sutton Hoo next Saturday.
http://www.wuffings.co.uk/education/programmes/2012/12_05-12-SoundsOfSaxons.html

I'm really looking forward to some hints and tips on how to pronounce OE with the rhythm and stresses of OE poetry.  Also hope to find out something of what is known about variations in pronunciation for geographical areas and time periods.

Is anyone else going?
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

Æscwulf

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2012, 10:47:13 PM »
I'd love to because I live in Suffolk but I only just heard about it so I'll be unable to attend, maybe next time once I finished the correspondent course

Anyway everyone thanks for the help I think i got the pronunciation roughly right, been practicing the word for a few days to get it spot n without thinking about it

( to me it's like saying ducts but saying every letter without saying ducks)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 10:50:41 PM by Aescwulf »

Linden

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2012, 11:06:25 PM »
I'd love to because I live in Suffolk but I only just heard about it so I'll be unable to attend, maybe next time once I finished the correspondent course ..........................


That's a shame with you being so close.  It's certainly worth keeping an eye on the study days at sutton Hoo - I went to another interesting one on Old Norse poetry not long ago.  Sam Newton finds some very good speakers.
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

Æscwulf

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Re: A struggle of pronunciation
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 11:20:10 PM »
Well I live on the Essex Suffolk boarder. Maybe I'll start going to these things next year.