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Fun time: Superman

Ankit Paranjape
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Joined: Aug 28, 2005
Posts: 8
Hi guys,
I got below email from one of my friend, just want to share with you .


Arjunkumar Shastry
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Joined: Feb 28, 2005
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I thought Arabs pronounce Indian names correctly.



Namma Suvarna Karnataka
S Venkatesh
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Joined: Jun 27, 2005
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'Anotherman Superman'
Chetan Parekh
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Joined: Sep 16, 2004
Posts: 3636
In my previous company we had a German director. In German language they pronounce Y as J.

We had a colleague whose name is Mayur, but they called them Majoor.


My blood is tested +ve for Java.
Vinny Menon
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Joined: Jan 10, 2006
Posts: 62

Hey Ankit

btw,do you'll know the indian version of Andre Agassi??
it is AnandRao Aghashe
please dont be at me

cheers
vinny m


Regards,Vinny M.
proud Fan of European Champion CHELSEA FC
"If you don't see the bug where you're looking, perhaps you're looking in the wrong place" -James Gosling
Jaya Nagar
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Originally posted by Chetan Parekh:

We had a colleague whose name is Mayur, but they called them Majoor.

Just to know everybody that this ironic laughter and beer chug because Majoor means Subservient daily wage worker in India.
Chetan Parekh
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Posts: 3636
Originally posted by Jaya Nagar:

Just to know everybody that this ironic laughter and beer chug because Majoor means Subservient daily wage worker in India.


It's very hard working job.

Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

This is a pet interest of mine: how non-English words are rendered into English, and why particular renderings are chosen. In particular, I wonder why they're often rendered into English in such a way that a native English speaker will pronounce them wrong, as is apparently the case here. If I read "Anantharaman Subbaraman", my pronunciation would, indeed, sound like "Anotherman Superman", or perhaps more like "Anotheraman Superaman". But for this joke to work, the real pronunciation must be radically different from this.

So my question is "Why spell it this way in English, if this isn't how it is pronounced?" Can you propose a better spelling, or somehow explain how it would otherwise be pronounced?


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Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
This is a pet interest of mine: how non-English words are rendered into English, and why particular renderings are chosen. In particular, I wonder why they're often rendered into English in such a way that a native English speaker will pronounce them wrong, as is apparently the case here. If I read "Anantharaman Subbaraman", my pronunciation would, indeed, sound like "Anotherman Superman", or perhaps more like "Anotheraman Superaman". But for this joke to work, the real pronunciation must be radically different from this.

So my question is "Why spell it this way in English, if this isn't how it is pronounced?" Can you propose a better spelling, or somehow explain how it would otherwise be pronounced?


It is actually spelled very appropriatly. You are not reading it right. You are missing the sounds of several letters : AnaNtharAman Subbraman.

In fact, I am also very surprised at the ability (or lack of thereof) of westerners reading a word (no matter how uncommon) and putting proper sounds to the letters. Obviously, the right tone may not be there but I don't understand how can one pronounce b as p? Or in the above example, how can one miss the n sound in Ananth ... A- Nan-tha.

In fact, I have observed that most south asians, pronounce english words exactly as they are spelled. Of course, they don't sound right to the native speaker but they are very logical translations. For example, I used to say San Jose with a J sound for Jose. How can one know that Jose is actually Hose. Why don't they write Hose? And that it is Ho - se and not Hos. The simplest example is that Do and Go are pronounced differently and there is no way for a reader to know that.

The problem is that in Hindi (and several most other Indian languages, one exception that I know of is Tamil), words are written exactly as they are spoken. The phonetics are encoded in the script itself. So it is a loss less transformation of sounds to text. Anybody reading Hindi will speak exactly as the writer intended. So Indians intutively apply the same logic to English, which essentially is a loss making transformer. So an Indian reading an English name sounds funny but he is usually logically correct. My observation is that the same is not the case with westerners.
[ March 01, 2006: Message edited by: Ram Bhakt ]
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

It's true that English spelling is crazy, the main reason being that English is such a polyglot language -- it's been influenced by so many different things, in multiple waves over time -- especially multiple Romance languges and Germanic languages (Why is "J" is "Jose" pronounced "H"? Because it's a Spanish word.)

Although the things you've pointed out are very important, I suspect the most important thing here is syllable stress. We say "SOOperman", and I find that it's difficult to make SOOperman and SOOberman sound much different. On the other hand, I can say sooPERman and sooBERman so that they're fairly distinct. Where does the stress fall when you say it Subbaraman? Hindi sounds very lyrical to my ears, I think because cadence of accented syllables is different than in English. I think the Anantha/Another difference is similar: we say "aNUHther", and with the accent on the UH sound, that "n" may get lost.

In American regional accents, there are letters that routinely disappear, and somehow Americans manage to understand each other -- like the classic "Boston accent" in which you "pahk" your "cah" in the "yahd," the letter "r" disappearing altogether when it's inside a word. There's a technical term for this although it escapes me right now.
Bear Bibeault
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  66

I'm pretty good at masking my Bostonian accent, but just the other day "lobstah" and "patten" slipped out. (Not in the same sentence).


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Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:
It's true that English spelling is crazy, the main reason being that English is such a polyglot language -- it's been influenced by so many different things, in multiple waves over time -- especially multiple Romance languges and Germanic languages (Why is "J" is "Jose" pronounced "H"? Because it's a Spanish word.)

Hey, then your original question, "Why spell it this way in English, if this isn't how it is pronounced?" is probably more valid for Spanish than for Hindi. Because pronouncing H for J is totally illogical. At least for Do and Go, both the pronounciations are logically valid (although Doo would have been more appropriate).

Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:

Although the things you've pointed out are very important, I suspect the most important thing here is syllable stress. We say "SOOperman", and I find that it's difficult to make SOOperman and SOOberman sound much different. On the other hand, I can say sooPERman and sooBERman so that they're fairly distinct. Where does the stress fall when you say it Subbaraman? Hindi sounds very lyrical to my ears, I think because cadence of accented syllables is different than in English. I think the Anantha/Another difference is similar: we say "aNUHther", and with the accent on the UH sound, that "n" may get lost.


I think it is one thing to sound right and another to sound logical. What you are saying refers to sounding right and what I am talking about refers sounding logical.

Your pronunciation of Subbaraman as superman is illogical even if you discount the b and p issue because there is an 'a' between subbar and man. So it cannot be subbarman. Where is the a sound gone? You don't pronounce supervisor as superavisor.

Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:

In American regional accents, there are letters that routinely disappear, and somehow Americans manage to understand each other -- like the classic "Boston accent" in which you "pahk" your "cah" in the "yahd," the letter "r" disappearing altogether when it's inside a word. There's a technical term for this although it escapes me right now.


Americans manage to understand each other because of the inherited knowledge of how the words are spoken. That inforamtion is not conveyed by the spelling of the word but by hearing it from childhood. I bet a texan will not be understood in say some small town in England.
[ March 01, 2006: Message edited by: Ram Bhakt ]
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:

So my question is "Why spell it this way in English, if this isn't how it is pronounced?"


Long story short, it is spelled that way because English does not provide any standardized way to convey the phonetics so the writer writes a foreign language word in English according to what ever seems most logical.
Jim Yingst
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[Ram Bakt]: Hey, then your original question, "Why spell it this way in English, if this isn't how it is pronounced?" is probably more valid for Spanish than for Hindi. Because pronouncing H for J is totally illogical.

I disagree - Spanish spelling and pronunciation are very consistent. It's just that it's not the same as what is used in English. Since Indians basically got the Roman alphabet from the British, you think that's obviously the way J should be pronounced. In much of the world, that's not the case. Note that the letter J tends to be pronounced differently in many different European languages. In Spanish it's like H, in French it's like ZH, in most Northern and Eastern European languages (the ones that use a Roman alphabet) it's like Y. Face it, any pronounciation for J is going to look silly or inconsistent to someone - unless they remember that there are other countries in the world, too.

[Ram]: In fact, I am also very surprised at the ability (or lack of thereof) of westerners reading a word (no matter how uncommon) and putting proper sounds to the letters.

You should hear how you guys sound to Western ears. I kid, I kid... Mostly.


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Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[Ram Bakt]: Hey, then your original question, "Why spell it this way in English, if this isn't how it is pronounced?" is probably more valid for Spanish than for Hindi. Because pronouncing H for J is totally illogical.

I disagree - Spanish spelling and pronunciation are very consistent. It's just that it's not the same as what is used in English.
[Ram]: In fact, I am also very surprised at the ability (or lack of thereof) of westerners reading a word (no matter how uncommon) and putting proper sounds to the letters.


Actually, you are right. Other than J and LL ( double L in words like llama, promounced as yama), Spanish pronunciation is very logical. In fact, some of my Spanish speaking friends say that I speak better Spanish than many Americans. I have no accent (according do them). I think that the reason is that spanish sounds are very similar to Hindi sounds and they pronounce the letters in the same way quite consistently for all the words. For e.g. mucho and usted are both spoken as moocho and oosted. So I seldom have any difficulty in guessing how a spanish word might be pronounced.

For J and LL your explanation sounds reasonable.

Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[b]
You should hear how you guys sound to Western ears. I kid, I kid... Mostly.

Oh I am sure we sound funny. Believe me, it is very tough for us. The only practical way to learn the right pronunciation for English words is to hear it several times in your day to day conversation. After 7 yrs, I am getting the hang of it a little bit. My collegues can understand me but they sure ROTFL at some words Some of the words are so freaking crazy I always forget how they are pronounced...panacea, panache, and first time I heard my boss saying Coupon ( Q Pon ) I couldn't understand what he was saying because in India we say coopun.

Man, you don't know what we have to go through when we arrive here....driving (I sure every Indian here must have gone on the wrong side at least once), the language, writing address on an envelop ...one time the post office sent the letter back to myself because I wrote my address on the back on the envelop instead of top left corner....but it was fun
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

Originally posted by Ram Bhakt:
Some of the words are so freaking crazy I always forget how they are pronounced...panacea, panache, and first time I heard my boss saying Coupon ( Q Pon ) I couldn't understand what he was saying because in India we say coopun.


In the U.S. you can say q-pon or coopon, either one is understood. But note that "panacea" is unchanged from the Latin, "panache" seems to come from Latin by way of Italian, and "coupon" comes from the French "couper", "to cut". As I said, English is made up of crazy stuff from all over. As sensible as it seems to you that a language should have logical rules, it seems a little odd to the average English speaker, who is very happy to have twenty-seven different words for "intoxicated."

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Jim Yingst
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[EFH]: "panache" seems to come from Latin by way of Italian

Latin to Italian to French to English. In terms of spelling and pronunciation, it's the French part that's relevant here.

Back to Indian languages - I suspect that most of the logical regularity of the orthography comes from the fact that the mapping was performed recently, relatively speaking, and predominantly by a small group of people from one nation, Britain, with an interest in having a consistent orthography. See what happens after a thousand or more years of heavy interaction with many other countries using the same alphabet (but different rules) - particularly if India continues its rise in economic prominence.

It's probably also just luck that Indian languages didn't have too many phonemes that were vastly different from those in European languages. Compared to say Chinese, with many more variations of vowel sounds compared to Western languages. It's much harder for a Westerner to tell the pronounciation of a Chinese name from the way it's rendered in the Roman alphabet - the vowel sounds have too many subtleties unrecognized to most Westerners. I've had a fair number of co-workers from both India and China, and with a little bit of practice, I can now usually prounounce an Indian co-worker's name correctly (or acceptably close to correctly) on the first or second try, just from the spelling. In comparison, I've had Chinese friends repeat their names to me slowly ten times or more, and I still can't get it quite right. Usually they eventually say "that's close enough" because they're tired and they've gotten used to westerners butchering their names - but I can tell I'm still not saying it they way they do. But I try.
Rambo Prasad
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Ok on a lighter note...Can anyone say the difference between Superman and ordinary man..??


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shan Iyer
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Rambo Prasad :
Ok on a lighter note...Can anyone say the difference between Superman and ordinary man..??


Well, Rambo is half-naked and superman is appears naked even though he is not !!


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Manish Hatwalne
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Originally posted by Rambo Prasad:
Ok on a lighter note...Can anyone say the difference between Superman and ordinary man..??


An ordinary man wears his underwear inside his trouser, whereas superman wears it outside!!! LOL!!

- Manish
Vishwas Hegde
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An ordinary man wears his underwear inside his trouser, whereas superman wears it outside!!!


LOL
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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  34

Originally posted by Rambo Prasad:
Ok on a lighter note...Can anyone say the difference between Superman and ordinary man..??


Nietzsche is "a lighter note?"
Ram Bhakt
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Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
[b
Back to Indian languages - I suspect that most of the logical regularity of the orthography comes from the fact that the mapping was performed recently, relatively speaking, and predominantly by a small group of people from one nation, Britain, with an interest in having a consistent orthography. See what happens after a thousand or more years of heavy interaction with many other countries using the same alphabet (but different rules) - particularly if India continues its rise in economic prominence.

It's probably also just luck that Indian languages didn't have too many phonemes that were vastly different from those in European languages. Compared to say Chinese, with many more variations of vowel sounds compared to Western languages. It's much harder for a Westerner to tell the pronounciation of a Chinese name from the way it's rendered in the Roman alphabet - the vowel sounds have too many subtleties unrecognized to most Westerners.


That is correct. Hindi has only a few more sounds than English. On the other hand phonetics in Mandarin are very different. Besides phonetics, Mandarin has another dimention as well - the pitch. Two words in Mandarin may be spelled the same but the letters in the words may follow different pitch pattern, which makes their meaning entirely different. However, this exacerbates the problem that English has. Not only now you have to encode the phonetics, but you have to encode the pitch info as well. Mandarin does neither. That is one of the reasons it is extremely difficult (as I am realizing now) to learn Manadarin.

When you see Mandarin words in English, they are not meant to be spoken in English. They are meant to be spoken in Pinyin. This is a system that uses English alphabet to encode Manadarin words, which tries to preserve the phonetic as well as pitch info (to a certain extent). To achieve this, they have assigned tones, which are substantially different from usual English tones, to each English letter. For example, one of my Chinese friend's name is Xiaodong. Now, you might be tempted to pronounce it as Xi - aao - dong. But it is actually more like Shhhhao - dong. Basically, it is not English. It is pinyin and so you can't use the same logic of pronunciation that you use to pronounce some new English word that you don't know about. It is like San Hose thing.
 
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