Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

  • Mood:

Oi do be speakin all proper-like

Recently, while talking with a co-worker, he said that he had been in a situation where he had been identified as coming from (or living in) northern Germany, even though he thought he had been speaking standard German.

That made me think a bit more about how my ’lect differs from standard German.

The obvious difference is that my word-final (morpheme-final?) /g/ (i.e. [k]) often turns into /χ/ (i.e. [ç] or [χ], depending on the preceding vowel), e.g. [fluːχt͡sɔʏç] instead of [fluːkt͡sɔʏk] for Flugzeug.

However, another thing I’ve noticed is that I tend to use short vowels in some cases where standard German uses a long vowel.

For example, Zug is [t͡sʊχ] instead of [t͡suːk], and I have the same short vowel in some derivates, whether the syllable is stressed ([fɛɐˈt͡sʊχ] for Verzug) or not ([dʊɐçt͡sʊχ] for Durchzug).

There seems to be some sort of dependency on the “formality” of the word, though; for example, while er ist auf Entzug might end in [t͡sʊχ], I think Entzugserscheinungen would usually have [-t͡suːks-] in the middle—and Aufzug is more likely to be [ˈawft͡suˑk] than [ˈawft͡sʊχ], perhaps because my colloquial word for that is Fahrstuhl, so Aufzug is kind of a loan word from standard German, as it were.

I also have a short vowel in Rad [ʁat], meaning that Rad and Rat do not sound the same (the latter is [ʁaːt] for me, as in standard German). Another short vowel is [gəˈkʁɪçt] rather than [gəˈkʁiːkt] for gekriegt (which would be bekommen in “proper” German, anyway).

And I have a short vowel in Erde, Herde, Herd, Pferd, er ([ɛɐ] rather than [eːɐ]); that is, I use the same vowel as I do in Erbse, Herbst. I didn’t even know that my use of a short vowel in Erde and er was non-standard until a couple of years ago; and I didn’t know that Herde, Herd, Pferd also have a long vowel in standard German until I looked them up just now, hoping to find a word that “properly” rhymes with my pronunciation of Erde!

I asked Stella about her pronunciation of some of those sounds, and she shares some of the same short vowels as I do—but she doesn’t substitute /χ/ for /k/. (In fact, she hypercorrects, using [ɪk] for the suffix -ig as in König, heilig, which is [ɪç] in standard German.) She says that this is probably a deliberate spelling pronunciation she adopted at some point to help her learn how to spell (since she was dyslexic for most of her school years, and spelled words the way she heard them; this helped her not to spell such words with ch).

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