Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Dora in Irish

Amy had borrowed a Dora the Explorer DVD from the neighbours.

One of the soundtracks was Irish, and this morning, I decided to watch an episode of it in Irish, mostly to see what it sounds like. Not that I understood much :)

Though I did learn one word: "egg" is apparently something like "uv", though I don't know how it's spelled. (The episode was "Egg Hunt", so it popped up a fair bit in isolation.) And in Spanish, the frequent word in that context was "cascarone", though I'm not sure what it means since it's not the regular word for "egg" TTBOMK.

And I picked up "ferim" / "anyerim" which is apparently "farm / the farm" (again, no idea about the spelling, though it was amusing to pick out the alternation between what must be "f" /f/ vs. "fh" /(zero)/ after the definite article).

Relatedly, I was a bit disappointed that in the German soundtrack, Dora talked about looking for "special ecks" -- the speaker wasn't able to get rid of her native German Auslautverhärtung when speaking English.

And in the end, when they were counting the eggs, Dora said "three" but when everyone around her repeated it, I heard "sree". (And in the Irish-with-Spanish, Dora said "/θ/inco", "die/θ/", and "on/θ/e" while the others repeated "/s/inco", "die/s/", and "on/s/e", though that's not native-vs-non-native but a regional difference. Still a bit odd that they didn't all speak the same way.)

Relatedly, the sequence /θs/ as in, for example, "months" is pretty difficult for Germans to say.

Many Germans can't say [θ] at all and substitute another sound, often [s]. So when you have [θs] that turns into [s] and you hear "monce".

Others can say [θ], but it takes a bit of effort -- enough that they can't switch quickly from that unfamiliar phone to the [s] which is what they're trying to avoid saying, so you hear "month" (the [s] disappears).

Hearing a German pronounce [θs] in such words means they've got an unusually good command of English phonology, I would say.

(But then, I have similar shibboleths in my foreign languages, such as in the Greek combination [γr] -- a trilled [r] isn't in my native phoneme set and I can't do a good job. I think I can't manage an apical trill at all, so I make do with a uvular trill, but then switching from a velar/uvular fricative to a homorganic trill is hard, especially since my native German /r/ = [uvular fricative] gets in the way.)

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