LINGUIST List 8.1205

Wed Aug 20 1997

Disc: British <a>

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>


  1. Peter K W Tan, Disc: British <a> (fwd)
  2. Peter T. Daniels, Pronunciation of Vietnamese

Message 1: Disc: British <a> (fwd)

Date: Fri, 15 Aug 1997 14:00:23 +0800
From: Peter K W Tan <>
Subject: Disc: British <a> (fwd)

It seems to me that the evidence for 'aggressive'
nativisation/anglicisation in southern British English as opposed to
American English is not clear.

So far, for example, there has not been any mention of words like
'charade' and 'morale' where in southern BrE the stress is on the last
syllable, and the vowel sound is a back 'a' or /A:/ as in
'mirage'. This contrasts to typical American pronunciations which,
while still preserving syllable-final stress, has anglicised the vowel
sound to 'eh' (or /eI/) and the front 'a' (or /&/) respectively. There
has also been long discussions about the American pronunciation of van
Gogh in alt.usage.english, with most American speakers insisting that
/v&n 'goU/ is the 'correct' American pronunciation.

Dr Peter KW Tan 
Department of English Language and Literature, 
National University of Singapore, 
10 Kent Ridge Crescent, SINGAPORE 289852
Email: OR OR 
Telephone: +65 874 6038 
Facsimile: +65 773 2981
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Message 2: Pronunciation of Vietnamese

Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 08:02:21 +0100
From: Peter T. Daniels <>
Subject: Pronunciation of Vietnamese

According to Nguyen Dinh Hoa writing in *The World's Writing Systems*
edited by me and William Bright (Oxford, 1996), the front a-vowel is
written with <a+breve>, the back a-vowel with plain <a>. (There is
also another low front vowel, IPA epsilon.) The name Viet Nam does not
have a breve on the a; hence English /a/ is closer to the original
than English /ae/. 

- Peter T. Daniels
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