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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Non-native pronunciation of English|
|Question:||Many German adults learning English pronounce ''the'' something like ''ze'', whereas many Dutch pronounce it as ''de''. Neither German nor Dutch have a voiced /th/, but both languages have /d/ and /z/. So why does one language tend towards /z/ while the other tends to /d/?|
|Reply:||That is an interesting question, the answer is not obvious (to me). The only tentative answer I can think of is that, I believe, the Dutch word for "the" itself sounds like 'de', whereas none of the forms of the German word for "the" could be mistaken for foreign pronunciations of the English word. But I am not at all sure that that is the real answer to your question. Geoffrey Sampson|
|Reply From:||Geoffrey Richard Sampson click here to access email|