Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Pronouncing the Alphabet

One of the first things you learn in any language is the alphabet. After singing the kindergarten "Alphabet Song" a dozen times in a new language you think you know it. But just try using the alphabet to spell your name when talking to someone else with a different first language!  Their kindergarten song will have been slightly different!  Earlier I made a post referencing "When a Frenchman Calls an Indian Call Center", an hilarious video illustrating this fact.

You can try to clarify each letter with a word. Typical example: "E as in Elephant".  But, the letter E is pronounced "eeeeee" as in "Eek, a mouse!", while the word Elephant starts with the sound "eh". The letter E is not pronounced "eh".

But in Spanish the letter E is pronounced "eh" as in "elephant". That sounds a lot like the English "A".

To confuse matters, look at the English vowel "I". We pronounce it "eye". In the Spanish kindergarten song, this vowel is the one pronounced "eeeeee" as in "Eek, a mouse!".

In Spanish, the letter G is pronounced similar to "Hay" and the letter J is pronounced "Ho-Tah".

Going from language to language, some letters of the alphabet play a game similar to musical chairs.

So I've written a special alphabet pronunciation rhyme on my Alphabet and Names page.  Here are some samples:

A's the first vowel in "Age" but used as the second in "pAge".

E's the first vowel in "Eve". The last E's quite silent in "leavE".

I's the first letter in "I'm" but used as the second in "tIme".

O’s the first letter in "Old". It sits in the middle of "bOld".

U’s the first letter in "Use" and also is found in "refUse".

G’s the first letter in "Gene". It also is found in “liGht Green”.

J’s the first letter in "Jail". And K’s the first letter in "Kale".

Y’s the first letter in "Yikes!" You see it in: “Your Yellow bikes”.

Z’s the first letter in "Zeal". You find it in “that craZy deal”.

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