Naava wrote:I would describe it as a /g/ that decided to become nasal.
Well, if it's the same /ŋ/ that we know from English/Danish/Swedish/German, then I don't agree. Because the nasal part starts before /g/, or what I would call, without knowing any phonetics, a half-stop or something.
Yes, that's what I meant - the place of articulation is that of /g/, but of course there's no stop there because we're talking about a nasal, not a stop. Sorry for phrasing it not-so-clearly!
Is it the same /ŋ/ as in English/Danish/Swedish/German? If it is, then I know how to pronounce it
My description of it would be to place the tonge in the same position as one would if they were trying to form a /n/, but then make it pass through a place similar to where /g/ is made, but a little bit more backward/upward.
It is, but the problem is that English often has /g/ following /ŋ/ eg. in the word 'finger'. What we're looking for is the sound in 'singer'.
I'm not exactly sure what you're doing if you place your tongue as in saying a N. Isn't that an alveolar? /ŋ/is supposed to be velar
Well, isn't it like there's a little bit of a /g/, but not quite, and not exactly a /g/ - depending on the language and the speaker?
Um, I don't think so. There are languages where you don't find /ŋ/ without /g/ or /k/ following it, but the sound itself shouldn't have any /g/-like qualities.
But I still don't make any difference between the /n/ in /ng/ and the /n/ in /ŋ/ (there is an element of the exact sound /n/ in /ŋ/, isn't there?)
Oh I've just noticed I've been writing /ŋ/ even when I've meant [ŋ]. It's been too long since I last talked about phonetics, sorry! Uh, four years, actually.
But I don't understand what your question is. Could you rephrase it?
Hmm, has it ever been a question to make a reform so that foreign words are written with p/k instead of b/g?
Yes, I found a few articles from the same source as what I linked earlier, and it seems people were talking about it in the 90's. Some argued we should pronounce the foreign words with a P and K and even write them so, too, while others said we should encourage people using B and G. I don't think the discussion led to anywhere, really. At least I've never been told to pay attention to how to pronounce the B's and G's, nor do we write kepardi
I think it might be quite difficult to convince people to change the spelling they are used to, especially when there's people who make a distinction between voiced and voiceless stops. People also like to spell words like they've seen them spelled in foreign languages (= English, mostly) because - again - they're used to what the word looks like. That's why we talk about collegehousut
with a C. Interestingly, the C disappears when you call them kollarit
. I can't remember what these shortened words were called. How frustrating!
Well, it kind of makes sense with college, as the word is written in a clearly non-Finnish way
It's pronounced [kol:ege] btw.
So the name of the language is always the same as the name of the country, no exceptions?
Yes and no. You don't speak British, you speak English, even if you live in Britain*. The official language of the country isn't 'Indian' in India, 'Egyptian' in Egypt nor 'Switzerlandian' in Switzerland. In these cases, the name of the country doesn't match with the name of the language. Then there's Slovakia and Slovenia: the language of Slovakia is slovakki
and that of Slovenia is sloveeni
. I don't know why it is so.
Otherwise I think this rule works just fine.
*Although a lot of people speak of Britain as 'Englanti'.
bulgaari - a person from Bulgaria (I've never heard this before)
So there’s no such word?
I know I'm awesome but I have my limits too - it's not like I knew every Finnish word that exists!
No, I have no reason to suspect that bulgaari
wouldn't exist. It's just not used that often that I would've heard it.
Also, don’t forget that English, Danish, German, Swedish, Italian and other languages I’ve studied have long vowels too…
Of these languages you listed here, it seems that Danish is the only one that truly has a distinction based on the length of the vowels alone. The rest of the languages do have vowels that are pronounced long, but they don't contrast them with short vowels in the same way Finnish does. Let me quote Wikipedia, which I think I can trust in this case:
German: "Although there is also a length contrast, vowels are often analyzed according to a tenseness contrast, with long /iː, yː, uː, eː, øː, oː/ being the tense vowels and short /ɪ, ʏ, ʊ, ɛ, œ, ɔ/ their lax counterparts."
Swedish: "The length covaries with the quality of the vowels, as shown in the table below (long vowels in the first column, short in the second), with short variants being more centered and lax"
English goes in this category, too.
Then there's Italian, where
"-- there is no phonemic distinction between long and short vowels but vowels in stressed open syllables, unless word-final, are long."
Moreover, none of these languages have long vowels in unstressed syllables. Swedish also has a rule of 1 long vowel/consonant per a word, so that the same word can't have both a long vowel and a long consonant.
In other words, you can find the long vowel only in the stressed syllable and the short vowels are lax while the long ones are tense. In Finnish, you can find a long vowel in any syllable, stressed or not, and you can have several long vowels in the same word. All vowels are tense, there are no lax vowels, so the length is the only difference between [i
] and [i:], for example. (cf. English, German and Swedish [ɪ] vs [i:]
As a result, I'm not surprised that the speakers of these languages often struggle with the long vowels in Finnish: There's no [ɪ], which would help to tell the difference between a long and a short vowel. However, I've noticed that this is easier to learn than the unstressed syllables: Finnish has long vowels in unstressed syllables, which doesn't happen in English, German, Swedish, Italian, and maybe not even in Danish. (I don't speak Danish and I swear the orthography is almost as scary as the English one, so I have no idea how the words should be pronounced.)
That is where you had heard a short A, too: in the unstressed syllable. The languages you've studied won't help you there. (With the exception of Danish, which I don't know if it has long vowels in unstressed syllables or not.)
It's also possible that the length of a long vowel is different in different languages. For example, Estonian distinguishes between 2 long vowels (long and overlong) while Finnish has only one long variant; that is, both a long and an overlong vowel are heard as 'long' in Finnish. Maybe Finnish can have "shorter" long vowels than English etc have.
And of course I didn't mean that if your mother tongue doesn't have long vowels, you would never be able to hear or pronounce them. I believe you when you say you can tell the difference. What I mean is that the languages we know - especially our mother tongues - have an influence on what phonemes we hear. It's always easiest to hear the phonemes of your native language because you've been practicing that ever since you were born.
Moreover, many languages like Italian tend to prolong the stressed syllable and shorten the unstressed ones. If Bulgaria has a stress on the first A in Bulgarian, it could be that you're used to hear it pronounced a bit longer and count it as a short vowel anyway. That could explain why you hear it short in the Finnish example, too. This is just speculation though because I have no idea where the stress is.
My Finnish friend also told me that my /h/ sounds so harsh and German that he hates it. So every time I speak Finnish since that day I try to make it as soft and light as I can – like I almost don’t pronounce it
I checked Bulgarian phonology from my dear friend Wikipedia and it seems you don't have /h/ but /x/. Maybe you're using that in Finnish, too?
Another explanation for your "harsh German /h/" that I can think of is that you use [h] while Finnish actually has a whole gang of allophones for /h/:
- [h] initially
- [xʷ] with /u/
- [ħ] with /a/
- [ç] with /i/
- [ɸ] with /y/
- some "intermediate quality" with other vowels; I can't find any source that could tell more what
- [ɦ] between vowels
Most sources I could find say that you can also use [h] if you like, but maybe your friend is used to hearing [ɦ] between vowels and that's what makes your [h] sound too harsh for him/her.