Linguistic Codification

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Category Archives: International Phonetic Alphabet

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:

Consonants
/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
/o/.
[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

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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.