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Theudiskaz
Saturday, May 27th, 2006, 02:44 AM
A while back, Rhydderch, Oswiu and I had a little discussion about where English derives it's accent, intonation and rhythm from. Rhydderch argued that it comes from Welsh. I, naturally, argued that it comes from the lowlands of Germany, whence the English and their language came; and that the modern Low German dialects, more than any other language, sound most similar to English. I tried to post a link to Radio Bremen's "Nahrichten op Platt" but it didn't work for some reason. But I found another file.

So, For those that doubt me when I say that the Low German dialects, not Welsh (Rhydderch) sound most similiar to English, listen to this reading from an Argentinian speaker of "Plautdietsch" of the story of the minor prophet, or "kjliene Profeit" Joel. Here is the audio file.

http://rapidshare.de/files/21481646/200609_Joel_1-Feb_25-26.mp3.html

He begins with the actual reading of the text about a quarter of the way through. So pay careful attention. You will notice certain Ingvaeonisms, such as the palatization of "K" to "CH" and "G" to "J"/"Y". And in general, it just sounds similar to English.

Here is the biblical text which he reads from (in English).


The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.
[2] Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?
[3] Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
[4] That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.
[5] Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
[6] For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
[7] He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.
[8] Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
[9] The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD's ministers, mourn.
[10] The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
[11] Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
[12] The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
[13] Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
[14] Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
[15] Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
[16] Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God?
[17] The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
[18] How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
[19] O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
[20] The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/k/kjv/kjv-idx?type=DIV1&byte=3394946

Rhydderch
Saturday, May 27th, 2006, 03:03 AM
Rhydderch argued that it comes from Welsh.Well, I was arguing that it's strongly influenced by Brythonic in these respects. Being a Germanic language, one would imagine it's structure would influence the sound system to at least some extent in that direction as well.

Oswiu
Saturday, May 27th, 2006, 10:09 AM
I can't download it. Stupid internet...

Rhydderch
Saturday, May 27th, 2006, 11:36 AM
I can't download it.Same with me; well, either that or I'm just getting lost in the website.

Janus
Saturday, May 27th, 2006, 01:09 PM
Coming from the German lowlands,though the southern part of it, I can totally agree to that.Plattdüütsch is really similar to English but I have no idea how Welsh sounds but I cannot imagine it sounding more similar.

Rhydderch
Saturday, May 27th, 2006, 01:41 PM
Coming from the German lowlands,though the southern part of it, I can totally agree to that.Plattdüütsch is really similar to English but I have no idea how Welsh sounds but I cannot imagine it sounding more similar.
Try listening to a Chinaman speaking English with a very strong accent; it sounds quite "Chinese". I'd suggest the sound sytem in such speech is more Chinese than English, even though it's totally unrelated to Chinese in meaning.

It's no strange thing to suggest the sound system of Welsh could be very similar to English. If we could hear Gaulish it would probably sound a lot like French in many ways.

Janus
Saturday, May 27th, 2006, 03:03 PM
Try listening to a Chinaman speaking English with a very strong accent; it sounds quite "Chinese". I'd suggest the sound sytem in such speech is more Chinese than English, even though it's totally unrelated to Chinese in meaning.

It's no strange thing to suggest the sound system of Welsh could be very similar to English. If we could hear Gaulish it would probably sound a lot like French in many ways.

Actually I was also talking about the meaning.For example the local dialect plattdüütsch form of he is hej which is much clother to he than to er,the high german form.

Rhydderch
Tuesday, May 30th, 2006, 03:30 AM
Actually I was also talking about the meaning.For example the local dialect plattdüütsch form of he is hej which is much clother to he than to er,the high german form.Fair enough. Yes, I certainly wouldn't argue that Welsh is closer in meaning :)

Theudiskaz
Wednesday, May 31st, 2006, 09:52 PM
Here is another audiofile which illustrates the similarity in sound between the two languages. Notice that in this dialect there is phenomenon which parallels the English "o:" to "әU" phenomenon (as in English "so"). In this dialect "o:" becomes "aU". This shift occurs in the cognates of the English words where the parallel shift occurs. Thus German "so" becomes "sau" in the Northern (Low) Saxon Variety of the Hadeln Region. The preterite of "come" is pronounced "keIm", just like in English! :thumbup
http://www.lowlands-l.net/anniversary/index.php?page=hadeln

Rhydderch
Thursday, June 1st, 2006, 02:09 PM
Well, I can only say that it sounds close to Dutch and Danish to me. It certainly has little of the "English" quality that characterises Welsh; I don't hear that distinctive British 't' and 'd' either, or other sounds common to Welsh and English.

Nevertheless, I've always been interested to hear Low German.

Theudiskaz
Thursday, June 1st, 2006, 02:45 PM
Of course it sounds like Dutch. This doesn't negate my opnion (which is the correct one) that the English accent (in all its forms) sounds most like the Low German Branch of the West Germanic languages. Dutch is a Low German Language. Low Frankish to be exact. Danish sounds like English because, since the Age of the Hanseatic League it has been heavily influenced by Low German. I just don't understand why you won't admit that English sounds most like the languages it is most closely related to! It only makes sense! And if one has heard a little of both languages I'm not sure how they could think otherwise. The absense of the "distinctive British 't' is not so important in my opnion, but a good observation nonetheless. Actually I think there are some British dialects where "t" becomes "d" at least in some positions. And we all know it does in American English, for what it's worth.

Glenlivet
Thursday, June 1st, 2006, 03:07 PM
Thiedischer, Lundman (1988) wrote that the Dutch are closer to other Low Germans, linguistically and racially, while the Frisians are anthropologically closer to the English. Maybe you should compare the Frisians to the English.

Oswiu
Thursday, June 1st, 2006, 04:54 PM
Here is another audiofile which illustrates the similarity in sound between the two languages.
http://www.lowlands-l.net/anniversary/index.php?page=hadeln
I just listened to this, and it was interesting!

When he says
“Wat is hier lous?“ se’ he
and
„wo isse affbleeben?“

he sounds like my nextdoor neighbour, who is a Geordie from Newcastle Upon Tyne.

When he says
Hei keeim ’rümme Höörn,
he sounds exactly like the great folk singer Harry Cox, who was from Norfolk.

The conclusion to be made is that in the zones of earliest English settlement, the continental accents won out, and British accents more so inland [except in the SouthWest, to my ear, which resembles the Norfolk speech].

Oswiu
Thursday, June 1st, 2006, 05:25 PM
I just listened to the Frisian version of the same story about the wren
http://www.lowlands-l.net/anniversary/index.php?page=frysk#
And it's amazing how different two different individuals, even from the same region, can sound. The second man seems to be deliberately enunciating more, and occasionally reminds me of an Edinburgher.
The first doesn't sound so exotic at all to me, and thus has more of a general Northern England accent.

Rhydderch
Friday, June 2nd, 2006, 01:25 AM
Of course it sounds like Dutch. This doesn't negate my opnion (which is the correct one) that the English accent (in all its forms) sounds most like the Low German Branch of the West Germanic languages. Dutch is a Low German Language.What I'm saying is that Dutch, Danish and Low German (and yes, I'm aware that Dutch is a dialect of this) all sound quite similar to my ear, but quite distinct from English.


Low Frankish to be exact. Danish sounds like English because, since the Age of the Hanseatic League it has been heavily influenced by Low German. I just don't understand why you won't admit that English sounds most like the languages it is most closely related to! It only makes sense!I gave the example of the Chinaman before. I don't think you're necessarily correct that a language sounds most like it's relatives in intonation, and in vowel and consonant sounds.

As for Danish, it was this language I heard on the radio once, followed by Welsh; I noticed how "English" the latter sounded in comparison.


And if one has heard a little of both languages I'm not sure how they could think otherwise. The absense of the "distinctive British 't' is not so important in my opnion, but a good observation nonetheless. Actually I think there are some British dialects where "t" becomes "d" at least in some positions. And we all know it does in American English, for what it's worth.I'm referring to a distinctive way of pronouning both those letters, rather than

Oswiu
Friday, June 2nd, 2006, 01:41 AM
I'm referring to a distinctive way of pronouning both those letters, rather than
You didn't finish your post, Rhydderch!

I don't really get you when you talk about this British 'T' sound. Can you try to explain it a wee bit more?

Georgia
Friday, June 2nd, 2006, 04:24 AM
Our area has a large group of Mennonites. This is how we communicate with each other when speaking the German language, a little difficult for me at first, but it doesn't take long to get used to it.
Georgia :)

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/lowgerman.htm

http://www.mennolink.org/doc/lg/index.html

Rhydderch
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 01:06 AM
You didn't finish your post, Rhydderch!
Oops! :D

I mean, rather than being distinct from one another in pronunciation.


I don't really get you when you talk about this British 'T' sound. Can you try to explain it a wee bit more?It's rather difficult to explain really; I'd probably have to give a demo to get the idea across.

At any rate though, it's a pronunciation not found in Australian or American English. I've always considered it a really "English" sound (in spite of the fact that it's also heard in at least some Lowland Scottish accents), so it was interesting to hear it in Welsh.

Oswiu
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 01:20 AM
It's rather difficult to explain really; I'd probably have to give a demo to get the idea across.
Can't wait...

At any rate though, it's a pronunciation not found in Australian or American English. I've always considered it a really "English" sound (in spite of the fact that it's also heard in at least some Lowland Scottish accents), so it was interesting to hear it in Welsh.
The southern Scots makes it all the more 'English'! Proof that it's not a Norman introduction.

Theudiskaz
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 01:36 AM
It's real simple. In American English and apparently Australian English too (I guess I never noticed it) "t" is pronounced like "d" between vowels. Thus "butter" sounds like "budder". "Potato" sounds like "puhtaydoh". "Latter" is pronounced the same as "ladder". You see? And like I said before this is absolutely trivial! What stands out much more than this dissimilarity between standard English and Plattdeutsch, is the abundance of glottal stops in Plattdeutsch, something so integral to and unique to English (especially colloquial English) that you probably didn't even notice it when listening to the recordings. They say the word for "make" as "moo'en". Listen to the recordings again and pay close attention. Its a very English thing!:thumbup

Rhydderch
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 06:45 AM
It's real simple. In American English and apparently Australian English too (I guess I never noticed it) "t" is pronounced like "d" between vowels. Thus "butter" sounds like "budder". "Potato" sounds like "puhtaydoh". "Latter" is pronounced the same as "ladder". You see? And like I said before this is absolutely trivial!Did you read my post? I made it clear I wasn't referring to that. American and Australian English both have a "t" sound, except, as you mention, it tends to be a "d" in between vowels. But we pronounce both our "t"s and "d"s differently to in English accents (at least most) and Welsh.

Theudiskaz
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 03:35 PM
Well, I read your post but I guess I didn't understand what you meant. Please try to explain what you mean this time.;)

Leofric
Monday, June 5th, 2006, 05:24 PM
Did you read my post? I made it clear I wasn't referring to that. American and Australian English both have a "t" sound, except, as you mention, it tends to be a "d" in between vowels. But we pronounce both our "t"s and "d"s differently to in English accents (at least most) and Welsh.
I'd love to hear more about this different realization of /t/ — I've never heard anything of the kind. Can you explain it using articulatory or acoustic descriptors? Or can you provide some kind of link or bibliographic reference to someone who does?

If this alleged realization actually exists, and if it is present in British English but absent in American and Australian English, then I would guess it's a fairly recent innovation in Britain, perhaps due to dialectal shift from Anglicized Welshmen (as you seem to suggest, Rhydderch), and that the older form is preserved in America and Australia.

Incidentally, as far as the flap is concerned, it's not a [d]. It's not even a stop. It's a continuant. Phonetically, it's just like the /r/ of Spanish or Italian. That's one that could be an innovation in America and Australia, since it's garden-variety lenition, which operates universally on human languages. But I would not discount the possibility of its having arisen in Britain among certain classes (the rural, perhaps, or the lower class) and then emigrating to America and Australia when we settled those lands, and subsequently being restricted somewhat in Britain through increases in education and telecommunications. Given the small numbers of initial colonists in America (and Australia as well, I would imagine), I would guess that its extension in Britain would not have to be great for it to become predominant here in the colonies.