Pronunciation, Nepali Pronunciation:
I don’t know how linguists or phonologists would take this but when I hear an English teacher pronounce ‘because’ as /bɪkɑ:ʊs/ (be-kows) or /bɪkɔ:z/ (be-kooz) consistently, it gives me a little headache. My friend in ELT class says he’s read Larry M. Hyman’s Phonology: Theory and Analysis word by word and page by page. Yes, he can tell us the definition of Neutralization all right but when he says /pʌləs/ (palas) for ‘plus’ or /ɪmpʌtɪ / (im-pati) for ‘empty’, it just doesn’t sound that convincing. I’m not trying to be a pedant or any prescriptive tyrant here, but you know.
May be people professing Nenglish have the answer to this. I would love to see them add /bɪkɑ:ʊs/ and /ɪmpʌtɪ / into Nenglish lexicon or corpus, because these pronunciations are ever so widely heard among Nepali students and teachers. That’s a good criteria – broad use, isn’t it? I suggest adding ‘eight’ as /ʌi:θ/ (ah-ee-th) too. Not trying to patronize anyone at all, you know.
May be I’ll start saying /bɪkɑ:ɪz/ just to add a new Nenglish variant. If it’s okay for Indian people to standardize ‘knowledge’ as /nɑːlɪdʒ/ (naa-liz), may be it’s okay for me to start saying /bɪkɑ:ɪz/. Well, that’s just sounds like a pretty stupid idea, you know.
Of course, many claim and believe that there’s no Standard English anymore and hence, there’s no standard pronunciation. But, however, nevertheless. Even if /bɪkɑ:ʊs/ and /pʌləs/ – these pronunciations pass the test of clarity, intelligibility and acceptance in our Nepali context, they will still make me itchy, you know.
OK. Enough of me acting like a whiny old hag. Those are my pet peeves and I think I should keep them to myself. Everyone has one, right? However, the questions strolling in my mind are:
What defines a ‘correct’ pronunciation?
Does pronunciation matter?
Do you pronounce –
dilemma: /dɪˈlemə/ or /daɪlema/ (dai-lay-ma)
determine: /dɪˈtɜː(r)mɪn/ or /dɪtɜː(r)maɪn/ (de-ter-maa-in)
develop: /dɪˈveləp/ or /devləp/ (dev-lop)
people: /ˈpiːpəl/ or /piːpʊl/ (pee-pul)
decade: /ˈdekeɪd/ or /dɪked/(dee-kayd)
(the first being standard pronunciation, the second one being Nepali English pronunciation)?
Interestingly, the teacher who says /bɪkɑ:ʊs/ for ‘because’ pronounces ‘Nepal’ this way – /nephɑːl/ (nay-faal), with an aspirated /p/ in the middle. Will this be a common tea-shop pronunciation in the near future?
Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from Nephal.
I dare not imagine that right now.