--- "Mark J. Reed" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >    To get the sound of "e" really right, do this:
> Place two fingers lightly
> >    across your mouth . . . and say "they" very
> carefully. Feel how the
> >    lips and jaw shift position midway through the
> "ey" sound. That's
> >    because in English, the sound of "ey" is really
> made up of two sounds:
> >    "eh" followed by "ee".  Now practice saying
> just the "eh" without
> >    sliding into the "ee" sound. That is how you
> pronounce "e" correctly
> >    in Esperanto.
> And that is a description of the sound spelled in
> X-SAMPA as [e].
> > Well, some E-o words do have [e] in them. This
> sound is spelled "ej",
> > although I can't think of a minimal pair at the
> moment.
> No, no.  Esperanto "ej" is also [ej] (or [ei_^] in
> X-SAMPA.  [e] does
> *not* mean "the English long-a sound".  It means
> "the English long-a
> sound without the glide", or "the Spanish e-sound" -
> both of which are
> different from [E], which is the English short-e
> sound.
> -Marcos

I'm dubious about such descriptions as "place two
fingers lightly across your mouth and say 'they' very
carefully". The best way to describe a phoneme, IMO
(and if you have no sound file at hand), is to say,
"like the sound '_' in the word '_' in natlang '_'.
Anyway, I always saw it written this way in grammars
for foreign languages. To explain what is the Russian
phoneme noted "x", you just say "it's the same as "j"
in Spanish "navaja", or "ch" in German "Bach". Nearly
any people interested in linguistics will understand
this, provided it's not a really exotic language, of
course. And even if some purists will protest "no, it
is not exactly the same sound", well anyway, it will
be a good approximation to start with.

Philippe Caquant

"High thoughts must have high language." (Aristophanes, Frogs)

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