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The most phonetic languages

 Language Learning Forum : Philological Room Post Reply
96 messages over 12 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 7 ... 11 12 Next >>
Arekkusu
Hexaglot
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 Message 49 of 96
24 August 2010 at 4:17pm | IP Logged 
galindo wrote:
A few people mentioned Japanese. Of course it's very phonetic, since each letter is a syllable. It's impossible to have irregular vowels or anything weird like that. It's definitely convenient, since you never have to wonder about how something is spelled. Of course, you still have to learn the kanji.

However, their writing system offers no indication of pitch, just like English offers no indication of stress.
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galindo
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 Message 50 of 96
25 August 2010 at 12:47am | IP Logged 
It would be weird if they indicated pitch, since the pitch can vary according to dialect, and some dialects have none at all. That's like saying it's weird that hanzi don't have an indication of tones. (Anyways, how would they indicate pitch? I can't imagine anything working, unless they used marked furigana on every single kanji.)
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Polyglotted
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 Message 51 of 96
25 August 2010 at 2:50am | IP Logged 
I'd say Japanese is pronounced pretty much as written minus the kanji.
But I'd say that Russian is pretty much pronounced as it's written, I've found the pronunciation pretty simple to grasp. Once you learn the basic rules (unstressed 'O' sounds like 'ah' and the 'shch' sound, for example), you find that it doesn't really vary from them, and there's also accents on all words in which the stress could be an issue. There is soft and hard signs too, which indicate whether the syllable ends soft or hard.
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getreallanguage
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 Message 52 of 96
09 October 2010 at 8:55pm | IP Logged 
I find Italian spelling to be very phonetic, in the sense that it's very regular as to how the spelling reflects the pronunciation. On the other hand, sound-letter correspondence (one letter, one sound) is not quite so transparent.
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Levi
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 Message 53 of 96
11 October 2010 at 9:21pm | IP Logged 
Polyglotted wrote:
I'd say Japanese is pronounced pretty much as written minus the kanji.
But I'd say that Russian is pretty much pronounced as it's written, I've found the pronunciation pretty simple to grasp. Once you learn the basic rules (unstressed 'O' sounds like 'ah' and the 'shch' sound, for example), you find that it doesn't really vary from them, and there's also accents on all words in which the stress could be an issue. There is soft and hard signs too, which indicate whether the syllable ends soft or hard.

Russian does have some irregularities. Stress isn't marked, and in unstressed syllables "а" and "о" are pronounced identically. Consonants are devoiced at the ends of words and in some other environments, making "раз" rhyme with "нас". There are some silent letters (сердце, пятдесять) and sometimes letters aren't pronounced with their usual sound (что, бог, его).
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BiaHuda
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 Message 54 of 96
14 October 2010 at 7:57pm | IP Logged 
It should be quite obvious, the most phonetic language is clearly Phoenician...

Edited by BiaHuda on 14 October 2010 at 7:58pm

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nebojats
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 Message 55 of 96
20 October 2010 at 8:58am | IP Logged 
I didn't have time to read through the entire thread, but Spanish is... awesome!

This may have been discussed, but even if I've never seen a word (never, never, NEVER!), I can pronounce it correctly based off of its written form. The letters tell you the sounds (phenomes?), the accents or letter combinations tells you where the stress should be. Vowels don't have to be short or long, so there's no room for confusion there. Reading to speaking should be no problem if you know the rules.

Can anyone prove me wrong? I'd be very interested to see some evidence of a word in Spanish that can't be pronounced correctly judging from its written form.

There is, of course, the problem of nearby phenomes affecting each other, but I don't think any writing system would manage to adress that shortcoming without becoming complex beyond comprehension. Example: N sounds like NG before a K sound (Franco), just like in English (uncle).

I'd always appreciated this aspect of Spanish, but now much more so (I'm currently teaching English in rural Thailand).

P.S. The book, The Language Instinct has a very good chapter on letters representing phenomes in their limitations. Highly recommended!
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nebojats
Triglot
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 Message 56 of 96
20 October 2010 at 5:03pm | IP Logged 
I've just looked through the thread and some people say Spanish isn't completely perfect (although what language is?).

I would very much like someone to present a random Spanish word which couldn't be pronounced correctly just from knowing the rules of pronunciation.


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