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Javier BF wrote:

>>I didn't know Czech vowels could wear a caron too.
>>
>>
>
>Only 'e' can wear a caron in Czech, and it's used to indicate
>the "palatalization" of the previous consonant. In practice,
>a semiconsonant [j] is inserted between the consonant and the
>vowel (thus, me^ sounds like mje), except for n, t and d, that
>are pronounced like n^, t^ and d^ (thus, ne^ sounds like n^e).
>In the latter cases the caron is simply transferred from the
>consonant letter to the vowel e because of an orthographical
>convention, without any change in pronunciation.
>
>

Or, to put it another way, the caron is transferred to the consonant,
except in the case of labials, where it indicates an interposed [j]. In
any case, what I really wanted to say was that I've also heard the
sequence sequence "me^" sounded as [mne], rather than [mje]. In fact, I
distinctly recall the subway announcements in Prague using this
pronunciation, and lo! the web can produce a sound file (though not
actually recorded from the subway announcement itself). Have an earful
of the last sound file linked on
http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/pdg/Czechitout/lingo.htm  ... the one
for  (dropping diacritics at will) "Pristi zastavka: Name^sti Republiky".

Czech uses "e caron" where Polish spelling uses the digraph "ie", and I
suppose it corresponds to one of the pre-Revolutionary Russian "e"
letters too ("e" itself, I suppose).

I have to admit that I always passed off Czech as being sort of an
identikit Slavic language, at least when I was only familiar with it on
the printed page. It looked like sort of a sanitized version of Polish.
It took actually *hearing* the language in the real world to realise
that it sounds absolutely gorgeous. It also alerted me to the wonderful
aesthetic potential of the stressing the first syllable in the word
(prepositions being incorporated into the word for phonological
purposes) in a language with phonemic long vowels. It sounds akin, to my
ears, to the much more well-known intonation of Italian, where I suppose
Italian uses phonemic length distinction in consonants (and of course
there are other contributing factors in Italian; tenseness or somesuch).

s.
----
Stephen Mulraney   [log in to unmask]
    Klein bottle for rent  ...  inquire within.