Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

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Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-02, 3:25

"Ai" or "ay" just doesn't read as /aj/ to me, I'm using "i" for חיריק and "y" for consonantal י, and "ie" just feels out of place. I've considered "ei," but I'm not sure how well that reads as /aj/ to me either. Which would be best?

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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby Drink » 2018-12-02, 14:50

Unfortunately there is no unambiguous way to transliterate it using English phonetics. If you transliterate it as "ei", people might read it as /ej/ (especially those who are familiar with Yiddish and Hebrew transliterations. If you transliterate it as "ie", people might read it as /i:/. Your best bet is to stick to convention and transliterate it as "ay" and include a note explaining clarifying what it means.
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-02, 18:07

Thanks, but no thanks. I don't really like the look of "ay." How about I narrow it down:
Long-i-list.png

Which of these spellings do you think would be best if I'm using "a" for פתח = /a/, "e" for סגול = /ɛ/, "i" for חיריק = /i/, "o" for קמץ = /o/, and "u" for שורוק = /u/?
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby Drink » 2018-12-03, 3:30

How are you transliterating the long segol that is pronounced /ej/?

Note also that there are at least two English words where "ay" is pronounced /ai/: ay and aye.
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-03, 14:11

Drink wrote:How are you transliterating the long segol that is pronounced /ej/?

Well...
https://www.spellzone.com/unit07/page2.cfm

Drink wrote:Note also that there are at least two English words where "ay" is pronounced /ai/: ay and aye.

I guess so, but it just doesn't work for me.

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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby Drink » 2018-12-03, 16:13

squee100 wrote:
Drink wrote:How are you transliterating the long segol that is pronounced /ej/?

Well...
https://www.spellzone.com/unit07/page2.cfm


The options there are "a", "ai", "ei", and "ay". If you choose "a", it's gonna be ambiguous with the /a/ sound. If you choose any of the others, it's gonna be ambiguous with the /aj/ sound. My point is there is no winning here. If you make up your own transliteration system, no one is gonna know how to read it. So sorry, can't help you anymore.
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-05, 0:21

Okay. What are your thoughts on using the same letter(s) to transliterate two different phonemes if:
a. both phonemes are either consonants or vowels
b. one phoneme is a consonant and the other is a vowel

Both of those seem like they would be no-nos, but I'm not a linguist.

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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby Drink » 2018-12-05, 3:47

Whenever you're coming up with a transliteration scheme, you need to think about what your transliterations will be used for. What will your transliterations be used for?
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-05, 4:17

Drink wrote:Whenever you're coming up with a transliteration scheme, you need to think about what your transliterations will be used for. What will your transliterations be used for?

Teaching the language, but also just writing it in English letters in general. That's why I want to use "a e i o u" for /a ɛ i o u/, but for /ej aj/, something that would clearly (though not perfectly clearly, as you said) read as that sound to an English speaker.

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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby Drink » 2018-12-05, 13:25

When teaching a language, it's super important that transliteration not be ambiguous in any way.

If you're writing about a culture and need to borrow some words, then it's less important and you can get away with ambiguous transliterations. For example, in the sentence, "Jews pray for the rebuilding of the beis hamikdosh," the pronunciation of "beis hamikdosh" is not particularly relevant and so it doesn't matter that the transliteration is ambiguous.

I'll also remind you that Polish Ashkenazi Hebrew and Yiddish pronunciation has long and short vowels, which you will also need to indicate somehow in your transliteration. There are three long vowels: /i:/, /u:/, and /a:/. Two of these have corresponding short vowels /i/ and /a/, while there is no short /u/. Also note that Polish Yiddish has an additional diphthong phoneme that Ashkenazi Hebrew doesn't have: /ou/. So if your transliteration will cover Yiddish as well, make sure to take this into account; it's also difficult to select an unambiguous English transliteration for it.
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-05, 16:43

Drink wrote:When teaching a language, it's super important that transliteration not be ambiguous in any way.

If you're writing about a culture and need to borrow some words, then it's less important and you can get away with ambiguous transliterations. For example, in the sentence, "Jews pray for the rebuilding of the beis hamikdosh," the pronunciation of "beis hamikdosh" is not particularly relevant and so it doesn't matter that the transliteration is ambiguous.

I'll also remind you that Polish Ashkenazi Hebrew and Yiddish pronunciation has long and short vowels, which you will also need to indicate somehow in your transliteration. There are three long vowels: /i:/, /u:/, and /a:/. Two of these have corresponding short vowels /i/ and /a/, while there is no short /u/. Also note that Polish Yiddish has an additional diphthong phoneme that Ashkenazi Hebrew doesn't have: /ou/. So if your transliteration will cover Yiddish as well, make sure to take this into account; it's also difficult to select an unambiguous English transliteration for it.

Well, what I was planning on doing with teaching was having the words written in Hebrew characters with the transliterations right next to them, after explaining what sound each of the Hebrew symbols makes. Would some ambiguity be okay there?

Also, aren't /a ɪ/ and /aː iː/ allophonic in Hebrew (though I know not in Yiddish)? I figured that allophones could have the same transliteration.

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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby Drink » 2018-12-05, 19:19

squee100 wrote:Well, what I was planning on doing with teaching was having the words written in Hebrew characters with the transliterations right next to them, after explaining what sound each of the Hebrew symbols makes. Would some ambiguity be okay there?

No. The question here is why is the transliteration even necessary? If it's not necessary, then you don't need it at all. If it's necessary, then it can't be ambiguous.


squee100 wrote:Also, aren't /a ɪ/ and /aː iː/ allophonic in Hebrew (though I know not in Yiddish)? I figured that allophones could have the same transliteration.

No they are not allophonic. For example, מִלָּה "word" would have /i/ (/'milu: ~ 'milə/), while מִילָה "circumcision" would have /i:/ (/'mi:lu: ~ 'mi:lə/); and מַשָּׂא would have /a/ (/'masu: ~ 'masə/), while מַעֲשֶׂה would have /a:/ (/'ma:sɛ ~ 'ma:sə/).
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-05, 20:45

Drink wrote:
squee100 wrote:Also, aren't /a ɪ/ and /aː iː/ allophonic in Hebrew (though I know not in Yiddish)? I figured that allophones could have the same transliteration.

No they are not allophonic. For example, מִלָּה "word" would have /i/ (/'milu: ~ 'milə/), while מִילָה "circumcision" would have /i:/ (/'mi:lu: ~ 'mi:lə/); and מַשָּׂא would have /a/ (/'masu: ~ 'masə/), while מַעֲשֶׂה would have /a:/ (/'ma:sɛ ~ 'ma:sə/).

Are there any Sephardi or Yemenite pronunciations with a phonemic distinction between long and short vowels?

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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby Drink » 2018-12-06, 11:22

squee100 wrote:
Drink wrote:No they are not allophonic. For example, מִלָּה "word" would have /i/ (/'milu: ~ 'milə/), while מִילָה "circumcision" would have /i:/ (/'mi:lu: ~ 'mi:lə/); and מַשָּׂא would have /a/ (/'masu: ~ 'masə/), while מַעֲשֶׂה would have /a:/ (/'ma:sɛ ~ 'ma:sə/).

Are there any Sephardi or Yemenite pronunciations with a phonemic distinction between long and short vowels?

Note that what I said above only applies to Polish Ashkenazi pronunciation. Other forms of Ashkenazi have other types of length distinctions (except for Lithuanian, which has no length distinctions).

Yes, there are Sephardi pronunciations with phonemic length distinctions. Particularly the ones that pronounce qamatz gadol as /a:/ and patach as /a/. I'm not sure about other vowels or about Yemenite pronunciation.
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-06, 14:07

Drink wrote:
squee100 wrote:
Drink wrote:No they are not allophonic. For example, מִלָּה "word" would have /i/ (/'milu: ~ 'milə/), while מִילָה "circumcision" would have /i:/ (/'mi:lu: ~ 'mi:lə/); and מַשָּׂא would have /a/ (/'masu: ~ 'masə/), while מַעֲשֶׂה would have /a:/ (/'ma:sɛ ~ 'ma:sə/).

Are there any Sephardi or Yemenite pronunciations with a phonemic distinction between long and short vowels?

Note that what I said above only applies to Polish Ashkenazi pronunciation. Other forms of Ashkenazi have other types of length distinctions (except for Lithuanian, which has no length distinctions).

Yes, there are Sephardi pronunciations with phonemic length distinctions. Particularly the ones that pronounce qamatz gadol as /a:/ and patach as /a/. I'm not sure about other vowels or about Yemenite pronunciation.

Which are those? I'd think Turkish, Moroccan, Syrian. Can you also give me examples of words that this opposition would be used to distinguish?

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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby Drink » 2018-12-06, 14:50

squee100 wrote:
Drink wrote:Yes, there are Sephardi pronunciations with phonemic length distinctions. Particularly the ones that pronounce qamatz gadol as /a:/ and patach as /a/. I'm not sure about other vowels or about Yemenite pronunciation.

Which are those? I'd think Turkish, Moroccan, Syrian.

They did at first, but later some of them lost the length distinctions. I know for sure that Iraqi and Moroccan pronunciation still had this /a:/-/a/ distinction. I have a suspicion that Turkish would have lost it. Syrian may have still had it too. Among those who had this distinction, it also may have been lost after moving to the modern State of Israel.

squee100 wrote:Can you also give me examples of words that this opposition would be used to distinguish?

Sure, for example אָחִי "my brother" would be /ʔa:'ħi:/, while אֲחִי "brother of" would be /ʔa'ħi:/.
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-08, 17:57

Drink wrote:
squee100 wrote:
Drink wrote:Yes, there are Sephardi pronunciations with phonemic length distinctions. Particularly the ones that pronounce qamatz gadol as /a:/ and patach as /a/. I'm not sure about other vowels or about Yemenite pronunciation.

Which are those? I'd think Turkish, Moroccan, Syrian.

They did at first, but later some of them lost the length distinctions. I know for sure that Iraqi and Moroccan pronunciation still had this /a:/-/a/ distinction. I have a suspicion that Turkish would have lost it. Syrian may have still had it too. Among those who had this distinction, it also may have been lost after moving to the modern State of Israel.

squee100 wrote:Can you also give me examples of words that this opposition would be used to distinguish?

Sure, for example אָחִי "my brother" would be /ʔa:'ħi:/, while אֲחִי "brother of" would be /ʔa'ħi:/.

I found this, but I'm not sure what to make of it. What are the patterns of vowel length in the three pronunciations given? They also have "ē" in the transliteration of Lithuanian Ashkenazi.
Untitled.png

There's also this from the same text: "No community maintains, in the realizations of the vowels, the distinction between a 'long' and a 'short' vowel ('tenuʿah gedolah' and 'tenuʿah qeṭanah'), a distinction prevalent in later medieval grammatical theory. In most communities long realizations of the vowels occur in stressed syllables. The Yemenite community maintains the distinction between ultrashort and ordinary vowels, the mobile šewa and the ḥatefs being realized as ultrashort vowels."
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Re: Suggestion for transliteration of Polish צירי = /aj/?

Postby squee100 » 2018-12-09, 3:02

Getting back on topic, I think I'll go with "ie." One thing though, and I know this is weird, but although I know what the letter names בֵּית, בֵֿית, פֵֿא would look like under such a system, I want to see them. Comment if you think they'd be easily-readable enough as /bajs/, /vajs/, /faj/ (notwithstanding the fact that they'd also be also be easily readable as /biːs/, /viːs/, /fiː/).


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