The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported primarily by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2016 Fund Drive.
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:||Generally speaking, when speakers encounters a sound found in their language, their phonology will "repair" to a sound that is a close approximation. However, there may be multiple options for a repair, so there is some variation possible. The determination of what it will be is not always clear. The final outcome it may depend on phonetics of the individual language. In some cases, a pronunciation of a foreign sound may be culturally learned.|
|Reply From:||Elizabeth J Pyatt click here to access email|