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Author Topic: Pronunciation  (Read 21598 times)

Jayson

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Pronunciation
« on: January 30, 2011, 07:09:56 PM »
---would someone tell me how the name of the Geats in Beowulf would have been pronounced?  Would the 'G' have been 'Gee' or 'Y'? And would it have the two vowels have been pronounced separately?


Wessex Woman

Iohannes

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2011, 10:31:48 AM »
I can't  :-[ decide between these two:

geat: /jæət/ and /gæət/  :(

peter horn

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2011, 08:38:35 PM »
---would someone tell me how the name of the Geats in Beowulf would have been pronounced?  Would the 'G' have been 'Gee' or 'Y'? And would it have the two vowels have been pronounced separately?

As I understand it, with a Y
ie:  roughly, yey-at

lawrence

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 04:23:33 PM »
This has raised in my mind the question of my own surname, "Yates" which I had always assumed to be something to do with gatekeeping.  Could there rather be a link with Geats?

All the best,

Lawrence

Iohannes

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 09:34:39 AM »
I don't know, Lawrence. IMO, the connection with 'gate' is more plausible.

peter horn

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2011, 03:55:26 PM »
prob one who lives by a prominent gate such as a gate of a walled town.
There was a Lawrence Yate of Nether Darwen, Cheshire in 1606

Horsa

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2011, 02:40:43 AM »
That's an interesting question. I've always pronounced the 'g' like a Mod. Eng. 'y' - /j/, for both géat (Beowulf's tribe) and geat (a gate). The general rule for West Saxon being that before a front vowel i e y it's pronounced /j/ and before a back vowel u o a it's pronounced /g/, and the convention for pronouncing the diphthong ea is /æə/ or /æɑ/. But where does æ slot into this?

I pronounce gǽst and gǽþ with a /g/ (influenced by the other forms in the paradigm, gá and gáþ)  but gǽc with a /j/ (possibly influenced by Swedish?) but gæderian with a /g/ (influenced by Mod. Eng.)

There is the middle English spelling of gate, 'yate',

none of the samples here,

http://www.ucalgary.ca/UofC/eduweb/engl401/lessons/pronunc1.htm

are with an æ or ǽ.

Sweet also says nothing either way about g before æ.

Graegwulf

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2011, 10:59:49 AM »
I assume it depends on when we're talking about.  The palatisation of "g" to a "y" sound is a derived feature; older Germanic languages had "g" (and I gather there is evidence that in England, Northern Anglian dialects never completed the change).  Beowulf originates in pre-English settlement times, so the contempory people probably said "Gates".  The author of the poem we know was writing centuries later, so he almost certainly said "Yates".

peter horn

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2011, 11:09:12 AM »
yes there is this tendency to require a 'received Old English'
I would pronounce geat with y, as I would gesithas.

Deorca

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2011, 01:36:09 PM »
I agree with Peter, soft 'g', like 'yeah-at'. And definitely not "geets" as in the film Beowulf and Grendel.

Interesting to note that the area in Sweden that roughly covers the old Geatish kingdom are know as east- and west-Götaland where the 'g' is also soft, like RP "yurta-land" (i.e. with no rhotic 'r')

Jim

Horsa

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2011, 03:45:20 PM »
How about g before 'æ' or 'ǽ'?

I've always palatised the 'g' before ea, but seldom and incosistently before 'æ' or 'ǽ'. Is there a pronuciation convention for this?

It'd be strange if I had to pronounce gǽst and gǽþ with /j/ but then going back to Swedish they do it with gick, gingo.

Graegwulf, agreed. I presume that we get the modern pronunciation of 'gate' from dialect of old English that either didn't palatise before front vowels or had a different vowel, likewise 'keen' which if derived from West saxon would be 'cheen' (?) - cēne (?). But most of what I'm reading is West Saxon, and I'd like an informed pronunciation for when Richard Branson starts offering those time travel holidays to 10th C Winchester


Deorca

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2011, 01:22:15 PM »
Quote
It'd be strange if I had to pronounce gǽst and gǽþ with /j/ but then going back to Swedish they do it with gick, gingo.
Ah well, here's where the story ends, in this instance at least. Yes, Swedes say 'yick' for gick (not too many say 'gingo' these days ;) ) but palatalisation varies greatly amongst the Nordic languages, even among the dialects of the same language. For instance, Swedish göra is soft ('yer-a') whereas Danish gøre is hard ('ger-eh'). And this also applies to the unvoiced consonant, and I'm convinced it did dialectically in OE too. Having said that, I still refuse to accept that Geat was ever pronounced geet  ;D

Horsa

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Re: Pronunciation
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2011, 10:41:02 PM »
I too, am confident certain about my pronunciation of gēat, which shall remain /jǽat/.

But I'm inconsistent with g before æ.

In my quest to plug this hole in my pronunciation, I consulted First Steps (which should have been among my first actions). Interestingly it was /g/ before y unless that y came from earlier ie. So, gyfan > giefan has /j/, but gyden and gylden have /g/. I've always pronounced them with /j/. Wrong!

Hurra! I found the answer I was looking for and valuable information that I was not looking for.

But this sets my cranial integuements abuzz with questions. Why was g palatised before simple æ but not a diphthong that started with æ? Does the later vowel push that g back to the soft palate, or did the 'ea' start with an /e/ at some point, wreak its havoc upon the g before retiring to the middle of the mouth. Or is it just one of those things?