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Author Topic: Gs and ys  (Read 5677 times)

David

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Gs and ys
« on: January 10, 2012, 03:23:11 PM »

 I watched “The Private Lives of Medieval Kings” yesterday and Dr. Ramirez appeared to say hāliga and Ӕlfgifu with the g s pronounced as g s whereas I would have pronounced them as y s.
Can you enlighten me on this ?

leofwin

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Re: Gs and ys
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2012, 07:39:29 PM »
I'd pronounce them as 'y' in both cases - but gor yes is as yood as mine

Horsa

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Re: Gs and ys
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 09:51:02 PM »
The notes in Sweet's primer suggest that they would both be pronounced with a 'y' sound. That's how I pronounce them. Actually, pronounce them as a velar 'w'. The tongue comes up to the soft palate to make the hard 'g' sound and stops just short. It sounds like a 'y' sound. That's a personal choice. I wondered how a g could become a y and imagined this as a transitional form.

It's possible that this Dr. Ramirez is making a personal choice on how she thinks OE was pronounced, but it's more likely that she's not as well up on pronunciation as on other aspects of the language. I knew of a professor of Old English who had the most atrocious pronunciation of Old English. I remember him pronouncing heafod heyAHfod - the stress was on the second syllable. But otherwise he was an excellent teacher and an excellent scholar.

peter horn

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Re: Gs and ys
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 12:03:50 PM »
The notes in Sweet's primer suggest that they would both be pronounced with a 'y' sound. That's how I pronounce them. Actually, pronounce them as a velar 'w'. The tongue comes up to the soft palate to make the hard 'g' sound and stops just short. It sounds like a 'y' sound. That's a personal choice. I wondered how a g could become a y and imagined this as a transitional form.

It's possible that this Dr. Ramirez is making a personal choice on how she thinks OE was pronounced, but it's more likely that she's not as well up on pronunciation as on other aspects of the language. I knew of a professor of Old English who had the most atrocious pronunciation of Old English. I remember him pronouncing heafod heyAHfod - the stress was on the second syllable. But otherwise he was an excellent teacher and an excellent scholar.

reminds me of my mother, who pronounced merry-go-round as merry-GO-round, and many other odd ways of pronouncing certin words. Im sure the AS would have made many similar mistakes. Its a pity we cant send a modern expert back in time to correct their mistakes.
Ic ∂ær ær wæs
Ic ∂æt ær dyde

leofwin

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Re: Gs and ys
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 08:07:17 PM »
remember Nina's an Art historian, not an Anglo-Saxonist.

Jayson

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Re: Gs and ys
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2012, 07:26:44 PM »
---you're absolutely right that she's not an Anglo-Saxonist, Leofwin!   I remember two of her previous programmes which were absolutely wrong.   In the first, which was about A-S treasurers, she finished by say that there were 'still a few' A-S words in modern English.   In the second, which was about Tolkien's Lord of he Rings trilogy, she said all the way through the programme, that they were based on Old Norse.

Shows how much education both she and the BBC bosses received...!   I wrote to her via her agent about this but as I received no reply, I have no idea whether she got my e.mail or what she thought of it.
Wessex Woman

Jayson

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Re: Gs and ys
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 07:33:15 PM »
David:  about Gs and Ys  --  I understand (but I could be wrong of course) that Aelfgifu would be pronounced with a 'y' sounding 'g' and haliga with a hard 'g', the ruling being that 'g' before 'i ' or 'e' in the middle of a word or at the end of a word after 'i' or 'e' is a 'y' sound but before or after a,o,u or a consonent the sound is hard.

Does that make sense and am I right, anyone???
Wessex Woman

Horsa

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Re: Gs and ys
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 03:11:35 PM »
Sweet says that g was pronounced /g/ initially before back vowels and /j/ before and after front vowels. He says that it was pronounced /ɣ/ medially between back vowels and before a back vowel after a consonant. None of this accounts for the g in haliga It's before a back vowel so could be pronounced /ɣ/ but after a front vowel so could be pronounced /j/.

Peter S. Baker says that it was pronounced /ɣ/ in sīgan, and that's similar enough to haliga to suggest a /ɣ/ pronunciation.

I like this website as it contains a more detailed description of Old English pronunciation conventions and also contains a brief explanation of how these conventions were decided upon and a good rationale as to why we should learn to pronounce OE properly even though we're unlikely to meet a pre-conquest English person.

It would be nice if we could send a few linguists back in time with some MP3 recording devices.