Saturday, November 06, 2010

Persephone


This is from the official English As It Is Broken website. 

The anglicized pronunciation of the Classical Greek name Persephone is /pɜːˈsefəni/.  Interestingly, the answer respells the second syllable as SAF rather than SEF, suggesting that for most Singaporean speakers the vowels /e/ and /æ/ are merged. 

It also shows that so-called phonetic respelling is an often maddeningly inexact way of indicating pronunciation, since different readers will assign different sounds to the same letters and to combinations thereof.  In fact, I suspect that most Singaporean readers would be baffled to learn that FUH is supposed to give /fə/ rather than /fu:/.

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