Saturday, February 18, 2006

Spell vs Sound

Tok Ku- To pronounce certain foreign words based on its spelling may be difficult. For a new English student, it is much easier to pronounce the Pidgin English of Papua Niugini. At least, they pronounce what they spell. Wi ken si en rid it es it is riten. Izy to pronoun en not difikut en wi ar orait. The French spelling and pronunciation are usually doing not coincide. They spell and pronounced differently. So you have to have a good French teacher to be able to pronounce what is written in French. They say it is better to have a lady Mademoiselle – because you can follow her tongue movements with your own tongue in learning to pronounce during the French lesson. I once took a train to a destination spelt as Angier- asking for a train ticket to “ ang – jeers”. She did not know that place. Finally, she told me that it is not “ ang –jers” but “ Ong – Zey”. When asked for a ticket to Bordeaux, I was very offended when the ticket seller tells ma that I am “ Bodoooh”. I get my biyet (Billet) anyway. The famous main road in central Paris is Champs d Elysees and many pronounced it as “Chemp di El Leici” – sounding like someone in the Guinness Book of Records as the “Champions for Eating the Arabian (El) Laichees.( as opposed to the Singaporean Lychees.) The French teacher told me that it sound like " shon di eli zey" .

The French like to spell with extra alphabets but does not sound it . Louis is pronounced as Lui as in Sungai Lui. When one go to Petronas Philomonic Orchestra tolisten to Chopin , they are not going shopping . They are going to listen to some Show Fun music which rhyme with the Chinese “Sek Fan” – to eat rice. Those in Perak will be able to pronounce Paris properly which is pronounced like those living Bote Kanan as “ Pa-ghee” or by the fishermen in Seberang Takir can pronounce the name of the sting ray fish – Pari. The be-day (bidet) which is fixed to the bowl is used for easy washing of the intricate anatomy. I suppose why it is called bidet since once have to really aim ( bidik) the water to the right part or if not, it will splash all over you. However, toilet should not pronounced in French – toy ley , it should be pronounced as it is . Toy–Let . As in the case of a small toy is toilet, a small book is booklet and a small Singh is singlet. The toilet in KLCC is very expensive costing RM 2.00 per piss and if no one uses it , sooner they have to put a sign “ VIP Toilet To Let”.

Then there is the branded products. Many Like to wear branded well like “ Lan – Vin” but the original French is “ Lan – Varrng” . Double “ LL” is pronounced as Y like papiyon ( Papillon), biyet ( billet). Therefore, some Japanese products may be difficult to identify. For example, “llamaha” should not be mistaken for the four legged animals of the Andes but it is a motorcycle. Mount Fullillama is in Japan and should not be mistaken for Klang Lama. The Spanish has also different pronunciation for different letter. The incidence of the kidnapping Sabah was near the island of Holo (Jolo). Hose ( Jose) is a popular Spanish name .( the water hose invented by Senior Hose ). Havana is the capital of Cuba but Havanese are the inhabitants the island of Java in Indonesia. Mexico is pronounced as Mehico. I suppose, Taxi is pronounced as “tehi” ( similar to the Hindustani “nehi” which make it sound like tahi in the East Coast of Malaysia. ).

There are also problems in sounding Malay words of Arabic origin. Zain Azraai which is mispronunciation of Azraaei . We don’t pronounce the name of the former Minister as Datuk Sha-fi-aai Mohd Salleh – but Datuk Sha-fe-i. . When you do the tasbih , the word subbha nallah have to be properly pronounced. When pronounced in a hurry, it becomes sabaha nallah where sabaha means “swim” ,thus, sabahnallah may mean a different thing altogether. To say that your beautiful girl is your “ idaman kalbu” may not mean “ what your heart desire” (idaman qalbu) but “what the dog desire”. In the Russian currency, the cents is known as kopeks . So, if you are in Moscow, you have no money ( ruble) but only a few Russian cents – then, you have your last “kopek” . But you can split open your durian in Perak – kopek durian. But never ask the lady durian seller that you want her to kopek. You will be big in trouble. However, if she has very big assets , she may only smile since she knows that many cannot resist that !


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