Linguistic Codification

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Monthly Archives: November 2010

Egyptian English

Attention! If you don’t understand IPA, you may find difficulty in understanding the following post.

Dont get surprised! Yes, Egyptian English, as there are American, British, Candadian, Australian, New Zealand, Irish, Scottish, South African, Singaporean, Welsh, Indian English accents. Generally, when English language is taught in Egyptian schools, it is based on the British English. Teachers teach it with an accent; they aren’t that proficient to speak English without their Egyptian accent.
There are two levels of Egyptian English accent.
The more educated accent and the less educated accent.
I’ll compare the English accents phonology and try to document the Egyptian pronunciation:

/p/: [pʰ, p] (pen, spin, tip); Egyptian educated: [p] only; Egyptian less educated: [b] only.
/b/: [b] (but, web); Egyptian educated: the same; Egyptian less educated: might also be [bˤ] near [ɑ].
/t/: [tʰ, t], tapped-/d/(American & Australian), [ʔ](London, sometimes American & Australian),[t̞](Irish) (two, sting, bet); Egyptian educated: [t] only; Egyptian less educated: also [tˤ] near [ɑ].
/d/: [d], tapped-/d/(American & Australian); Egyptian: [d] only.
/t͡ʃ/: [t͡ʃʰ, t͡ʃ] (chair, nature, teach); Egyptian educated: [(ʔe)tʃ, t(e)ʃ]; Egyptian less educated: also [ʃ].
/d͡ʒ/: [d͡ʒ] (edge) Egyptian: the same; (gin, joy, age); Egyptian: [ʒ].
/k/: [kʰ, k] (cat, kill, skin, queen, unique, thick); Egyptian: [k] only.
/g/: [g] (go, get, beg); Egyptian: the same.
/f/: [f] (fool, enough, leaf, off, photo); Egyptian: the same.
/v/: [v] (voice, have, of); Egyptian educated: the same; Egyptian less educated: or [f].
/θ/: [θ, t̪(Irish, Newfoundland, New York), f(some British accents), t(Caribbean)] (thing, teeth); Egyptian educated: [θ, s]; Egyptian less educated: [s] only.
/ð/: [ð, d̪(Irish, Newfoundland, New York), v(some British accents), d(Caribbean)] (this, breathe, father); Egyptian educated: [ð, z]; Egyptian less educated: [z] only.
/s/: [s] (see, city, pass); Egyptian: the same.
/z/: [z] (zoo, rose); Egyptian: the same.
/ʃ/: [ʃ] (she, sure, leash); Egyptian: the same; (session, emotion); Egyptian less educated: also [-ʃj-].
/ʒ/: [ʒ] (pleasure, beige); Egyptian: (seizure) or [-zj-].
/h/: [h, ɦ] (ham); Egyptian: [h] only.
/m/: [m, ɱ(before [f])] (man, ham, symphony); Egyptian: [m] only.
/n/: [n] (no, tin); Egyptian: the same.
/ŋ/: [ŋ] (drink, ringer, sing, finger); Egyptian: [n, ng], respectively.
/l/: [l,(not in American; Australian, New Zealand, Scottish) ɫ,(always in American, Australian, New Zealand, Scottish) ɤ,(Singapore) w, o, ʊ(New Zealand, Cockney, New York, South East England, Pittsburgh, African-American)] (left, bell); Egyptian: [l] always.
/ɹ/: [ɹʷ, ɹ, ɾ(sometimes Scottish, Irish)] (run, very); Egyptian: [ɾ~r].
/w/: [w] (we); Egyptian: (queen); [(Ce~ɪˈ)w(-)].
/j/: [j] (yes); Egyptian: the same.
/hw/: [w, hw, ʍ(Scottish, Irish, South US)] (what, where, which); Egyptian: [w] only.

Marginal sounds
[ʔ] (uh-[ʔ]oh); Egyptian: primary vowel-break, always [ʔ].

Reduced vowels
[ə]: Reduced /ʌ, æ, ɑː, ɒ/; Egyptian: no reduction /ɑ, æ(ː), ɑ(ː), o/, respectively.
[ɪ̈, ə]: Reduced /ɪ, iː, ɛ, eɪ, aɪ/; Egyptian: no reduction
/i, i(ː), e(ː), ɑj/, respectively. Final /eɪ, aɪ/ ——> /eː(j), ɑːj/, respectively.
[ʊ̈, ə]: Reduced /ʊ, uː/; Egyptian: no reduction
/u, uː/, respectively.
[ə, ɵ]: Reduced /oʊ/; Egyptian: no reduction
[ɚ, ə(not north American)]: Reduced /ɝː/; Egyptian: no reduction
/ɑr, er, or/.

Dia-phonemes (only compared with American English)
/æ/: [æˑ, æ] (lad, bad, cat, reality); Egyptian: [æː] in single syllable words; [æ] otherwise.
/ɑː, ɒ/: [ɑˑ] (father, not, wasp); Egyptian: (father) [ɑː]; (not) [o]; (wasp) [æ/ɑ].
/ɔː/: [ɔˑ] (law, caught, all, halt, talk); Egyptian educated: [oː]; Egyptian less educated: if occurring before two consonants or lacks primary stress: [o].
/ə/: [ə] (about); Egyptian: [æ/ɑ].
/ɨ/: [ɪ̈] (spotted); Egyptian: [e].
/ɪ/: [ɪ] (sit); Egyptian educated: [i]; Egyptian less educated: [i/e].
/i, iː/: [iˑ] (city, see, meat); Egyptian: (city) [i]; (see, meat) [iː].
/eɪ/: [eɪ] (date, day, pain, whey, rein); Egyptian: (date, pain, rein) [eː]; (day, whey) [eːj].
/ɛ/: [ɛ] (bed); Egyptian: [e].
/ɜɹ/: [ɝˑ] (burn, herd, earth, bird); Egyptian: [e(ː)r].
/əɹ/: [ɚ] (winner); Egyptian: [ɑr/er].
/ʌ/: [ʌ] (run, won, flood); (pulse) [ʌ̹]; Egyptian: [ɑ].
/ʊ/: [ʊ] (put, hood); Egyptian educated: [u]; Egyptian less educated: also [u/o, uː], respectively.
/uː/: [ʊu] (through, you, threw, yew); Egyptian: [uː].
/juː/: [jʊu] (cute); (dew, ewe) [ʊu, jʊu]; Egyptian educated: [juː]; Egyptian less educated: [(Cɪˈ)juː(-)].
/aɪ/: [aˑɪ] (my, high); [aɪ] (wise); [aɪ/ɐɪ] (flight, mice); Egyptian: [ɑːj, ɑj, ɑj], respectively.
/ɔɪ/: [ɔˑɪ, ɔɪ] (boy, hoist); Egyptian: [oːj, oj], respectively.
/oʊ/: [oʊ] (no, toe, soap, tow); [oˑ] (soul, roll, cold); Egyptian educated: [oː]; Egyptian less educated: if occurring before two consonants or lacks primary stress: [o].
/aʊ/: [aˑʊ, aʊ] (now, trout); Egyptian: [æːw/ɑːw], [æw/ɑw], respectively.
/ɑɹ/: [ɑˑɹ/ɑɹ] (arm, car); Egyptian educated: [ɑːr] Egyptian less educated: if occurring before two consonants or lacks primary stress: [ɑr].
/ɪəɹ/: [iɹ/iɚ] (deer, here); Egyptian: [iːr].
/ɛəɹ/: [ɛɚ/ɛɹ] (mare, there, bear); Egyptian: [eːr].
/ɔɹ/: [ɔˑɹ] (sort, warm); Egyptian educated: [oːr]; Egyptian less educated: if occurring before two consonants or lacks primary stress: [or].
/ɔəɹ/: [oˑɹ/ɔˑɹ] (tore, boar); Egyptian educated: [oːr]; Egyptian less educated: if occurring before two consonants or lacks primary stress: [or].
/ʊəɹ/: [ʊɹ] (tour, moor); Egyptian: [uːr].
/jʊəɹ/: [jʊɹ] (pure, Europe); Egyptian educated: [juːr, jur]; Egyptian less educated: [(Cɪˈ)juːr(-), jur/jor], respectively.

See also
Spelling pronunciation


Problems with Arabic Script

I find difficulty in writing my own native language, Modern Egyptian language. Most Egyptians were taught in public schools. The primary instructive language in public schools is Simplified Koran language, which is written in Arabic script.
Arabic script is very inferior in representing vowels and Egyptian sounds in general. Modern Egyptian language isn’t codified yet, which makes it harder to use in writing.
If I chose to write in Modern Egyptian language, I would prefer to write with as little as possible diglossia. Modern Egyptian language can not be easily represented by Arabic script, so I can not escape using some diacritics, which are usually complicated to read. Not to mention that Arabic script is an Abjad, which makes it not representing of most vowels.
So, I have two options, whether to use Franco, which would force me to use numbers (2, 3, 7) for minimum disambiguating representation for Modern Egyptian language, or to use Arabic script with its inferiority in representing sounds. Using Franco would also be less understood by people who are more literate in Simplified Koran language than any western language, such as English.
A wild idea comes on my mind every now and then, to write Modern Egyptian language using a simplified IPA-based spelling.

Grammatical Gender

I really wish that I was able to escape using gender specific inflection. If I spoke Esperanto, I would have been able to write freely without being forced to change my grammatical structure of my sentences in my previous post! Not to mention if I had chosen to write in Modern Egyptian language!

Something Strange

Connecting to our flight with OMAN AIR to Musc...

One day in an afternoon, before sunset, near a school at a neighborhood. It was in the fall season and the weather was fine.
There was a person; person one, who is in the twenties, was copying some papers at a small bookshop with a copying machine. The bookshop was inside a room in a closed apartment.
While waiting for the papers to be copied, person one walked a little in the street. The street was narrow, with cars parked on a second row on both sides. The street was laid with asphalt, however it was quite muddy with fallen leaves on it.
Person one saw, another person; person two, who is also in the twenties, who was at another small bookshop. After person one having seen person two, person one felt very needy to be introduced to person two.
Person two wanted to buy a notebook, but the seller didn’t have any notebooks, so the seller suggested for person two to buy the notebook from the other bookshop where person one was copying the papers. Person one came back quickly to the first bookshop to buy a notebook, hoping that they would be introduced and talk to each other.
Person one found himself in a very crowded place with people who came to buy. The sun had set, while person one was waiting for the papers to be copied.
After coming back, person one almost forgot about paying for the copied papers and was about to pay only for the notebook. The seller told person one the price was seven pounds. Person one didn’t have money change. Person one paid with a hundred pound note. Person one noticed something strange. The one who was selling in the bookshop was the mother of person one! To be continued.