The way people pronounce words should not be laughed at, although sometimes we cannot help laughing. I only laugh alone, to myself, not at the speakers but the words. When do they become hilarious?..only when they're funny,
Many a time I have been tickled to stitches when I hear English words verbalized by a speaker whose phonetics & intonation are so so influenced and 'affected' by the quaintness & peculiarity of his native language or dialect.
*Yet, many a time too I have been charmed by the quintessence individuality that the words project.
There are pronunciations which sound affable and sweet. Like those French people who speak English. The English words and the ring & rhythm that accompany the sound of the words can be so charming & romantic - Inspector Clouseau's spoken English, for example.
- This brings my memory back to years ago, the 'funny' years -
There was this sexy thing from the land of the hornbills. Much older than me. I used to laugh at her singing. Not at the melody, pitching, falsetto etc for they were not bad, but more the words that came out from her diaphragm, apart from the 'sleazy' gestures projected by her body language (maybe we can call it body dialect too, heheh)..
I still remember her crooning away a then very popular number by The Carpenters Close To You on TV [when television in this country was still in black & white & there was only one channel, Televisyen Malaysia (RTM)]. Her voice wasn't bad...
Why do birds suddenly appear
Everytime you are near
Just like me there loung to be
Claws to you
It gave me goose bumps.
No, not her singing, (as I said, her singing was 'not bad'), but the close which had become claws, the they which had become there and the long which had become loung.
So bad of me to make fun, kan? Well, I was young. A bit of a snob. I've forgiven her anyway. Not her fault. She couldn't help it. Something innate, unchangeable.
This is half of her (below). I don't wanna put the image in full. Don't wanna say out her name too. I may pronounce it wrongly. Hehehe. If you're still much much younger, a member of the Y Gen, but rather curious, ask your parents or grandparents for her name, they might know (if they can figure out that half image of hers that is).
I was walking with this local guy, following behind him, when suddenly the weather had become not too kind and the rain had started to pour. I overtook him to cross the street, trying to avoid getting soaked.
"Wet !!! wet for me. Its ranning. I don't wanna gate wait !!" he shouted at me.
Drenched as I was, my mind was trying to figure out what my friend was trying to say, when suddenly lightning struck
It jolted me with the answer:
Wet was wait, ranning was raining, gate was get and wait was wet!!!
Yes, you can now immediately decipher what she means when a girl suddenly shouts for help saying, "Help! that's the laid who lad me!". (Chuckles, ooh that's 'noughty').
I never laughed or laugh at my friend though, even when I'm alone by myself. I just say to myself "how charming". Heheh.
Now lets not gaw knocking (or knouking) at the 'sounds' that people treasure and hold dear to their hearts. And also, let 's not just focus our sharp tounges only on our dear fellow Malaysian brothers & sisters across the South China Sea. We should also hear what people this side of the country blurb out when they utter English words or Malay words in their own bizarre yet mesmerizing dialects. Maybe in my future postings...
Incidentally, while we're on the subject, some people even pronounce the word pronunciation wrong. They not even pronounce it as proNOUNciation but also spell it that way.
Don't ask me why the four letters NOUN in the verb pronounce suddenly becomes a NUN when it is converted to a noun (pronunciation). The same goes with the verb denounce and the noun denunciation. Ask those English bast..ds. Heheh.
And who was it who made the mistake of pronouncing it as pronounciation and spelling it that way once upon a time?
Oh yes!!! here's wishing you GONG XI FA CAI!!! Hope I pronounce that right, used to be KONG HEE FATT CHOY when I was young, when the Chinese here were less Mandarinised. Easier to pronounce.
The thing is, I still can't figure out why 'X' has to sound like the 'X' in 'Xantium' even though it sounds similar to 'Z' in 'Zinnia'.
Now, wait a minute, does it sound similar to 'Z' or 'S'? I'll have to go ask my Chinese friends. Is it 'Gong zi' or 'Gong si'? 'Si' as in Singlet? My ears tell me, sometimes it sounds like 'Z' and sometimes like 'S'.
Whichever it is, my point is, why use X instead of Z or S? Or is it because it is neither 'S' nor 'Z' but more 'SZ' or 'ZS'?
And also, why 'C' and not 'Ch' for Cai? Does that mean Ah Chong is now Ah Cong and Ah Chai is Ah Cai?
Thus, why not Gong Zi Fa Chai or Gong Si Fa Chai? Why Gong Xi Fa Cai?
But then if it's supposed to sound 'Z', why is 'Xantium' spelt that way (with an X) in English, right? ...Why not just spell it 'Zantium'? Exactly. But in English a chair is still a chair, not a cair. And 'singlet' is still singlet and not 'xinglet'.
But then again, the Chinese language is not the English language or vice-versa. Unlike ABC...XYZ, Chinese characters are not alphabets and they do not determine the phonetics or sound of words. The tongue is the determinant. The tongue will blurt out whatever image it sees in the characters. And the tongue will choose the dialect that it is familiar with.
As for the Roman alphabets of English, in particular the 'X' thingy, a friend told me that somehow the 'X' factor makes a word look more 'scientific & sophisticated'.
Is that the reason for the X? For the look of it? "So, which is which?" I asked "Which of the two looks more sophisticated? - Scientific looking alphabets or scientific sounding tongue?"
My friend replied, "neither" and then he started speaking to me in 'tongues':
"Ok go and put on your xinglets. Let's go to the xoo." Heheh