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Accents in Esperanto

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Solfrid Cristin
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 Message 1 of 19
09 December 2010 at 7:25pm | IP Logged 
How do you deal with accents in Esperanto? Do you each use your own national accent, so that the French, Germans and English each have different Rs, aspirated consonants are optional and you chose the L which would be natural in your own language, or are there common rules?

I assume there are some common rules, to avoid anarchy, but is there a universally accepted "RP" version of Esperanto?

When I studied Latin, I refused to use the Norwegian pronunciation rules, and insisted on using the Spanish ones wich sounded better in my ear. When I told an American friend of mine this, he exclaimed: There is only one way to pronounce Latin, and said
what in my ears sounded like "Ey too Brutey". I have no idea how Latin was pronounced, but I am sure it was not with a heavy American accent...

What's the deal in Esperanto?
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Solfrid Cristin
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 Message 3 of 19
09 December 2010 at 8:13pm | IP Logged 
He was dead serious.

He is very intelligent (he teaches both History and Law at an American university) but it did not occur to him, that the pronunciation of your own language would influence the way you "speak" Latin.
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michau
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 Message 5 of 19
09 December 2010 at 9:45pm | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
When I studied Latin, I refused to use the Norwegian pronunciation rules, and insisted on using the Spanish ones wich sounded better in my ear. When I told an American friend of mine this, he exclaimed: There is only one way to pronounce Latin, and said what in my ears sounded like "Ey too Brutey". I have no idea how Latin was pronounced, but I am sure it was not with a heavy American accent...


The Latin pronunciation has actually been reconstructed, so it is known, more or less, what is the correct way to speak it. But of course it is different from the ways it is usually pronounced nowadays.
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Lianne
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 Message 6 of 19
09 December 2010 at 10:59pm | IP Logged 
There is supposed to be a standard pronunciation of each letter in Esperanto. I don't know how hard the pronunciation would be for speakers of other languages, so I'm not sure how much of an effect that would have. As a native English speaker I have no trouble with the sounds, though some English speakers can't roll an r. If you spoke Esperanto and didn't roll the r, that would be speaking it with an accent. So I wouldn't say that it's optional, though given the language's international nature I imagine it's more accepted when people can't quite get the sounds right.

As for Latin, I've always assumed it should be pronounced a lot like Italian, since Italian developed straight out of Latin. But I haven't studied Latin so I'm no expert there.
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Sprachprofi
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 Message 7 of 19
09 December 2010 at 11:45pm | IP Logged 
The 'neutral' Esperanto accent is the one that naturally emerged when participants from
20+ countries met for the first congress in 1905. At the beginning of that meeting
everyone had to get used to everyone's accent (they all learned Esperanto from a book
without a benefit of tapes or teachers), but by the end of the meeting the people's
pronunciation had adjusted. To learn it now, I recommend listening to Esperanto radio
stations or the recordings that go with many courses.

There is more leeway than in other languages, probably due to the fact that there are
no native speakers (theoretically) whose ears you could offend. It's harder to even
notice an accent in a language that is not your native tongue. Also, Esperanto's
phonemes are quite distinct, so that there's little chance of confusion even if you had
a heavy accent - as long as you read the hard-wired pronunciation rules somewhere and
e. g. learned that "c" is to be pronounced as /ts/ ; if someone pronounced it as /k/ as
in English then that would obviously cause problems.

Here's a clip from a comedy night, two people reading the poem "la misvojo" with
various exaggerated accents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiOdOSTtaA0 .
Read along at http://www.scribd.com/doc/25544965/La-Misvojo . This is a lot
worse than it usually gets at Esperanto meet-ups.
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ellasevia
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 Message 8 of 19
10 December 2010 at 12:07am | IP Logged 
I've always been told that the pronunciation of sounds in Esperanto is quite like (and possibly based on?) Spanish and Italian. When pronouncing the words I use a Spanish-esque accent, but making sure to distinguish the 'v' and 'b' sounds, which is usually not done in Spanish. Recently I was listening to a recording of the Esperanto novel Gerda Malaperis and the actors were speaking with what sounded to me like a strong (Brazilian) Portuguese accent, but still perfectly understandable.


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