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Van Gogh

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Solle
249163.  Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:09 pm Reply with quote

Tiny little nitpick: I've very much enjoyed the various questions about Vincent van Gogh in the series, and especially Stephen's attempts at pronouncing our Dutch language (or 'throat condition', if you prefer). However, Stephen is after all these years still pronouncing it wrong: Both 'g' sounds in the name are supposed to be guttural, not just the final one. Plus the "a" sound isn't an English "van"; it's the second vowel in "Alan", rather than the first.

Other than that, Stephen's pronunciation of Dutch is usually excellent, and the questions are of course wonderful.

 
samivel
249168.  Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:24 pm Reply with quote

To be fair to Stephen, I've never heard any English person pronounce 'van' the way a Dutch speaker does.

Welcome to QI, by the way :)

 
Davini994
249180.  Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:42 pm Reply with quote

Welcome Solle! I shall endeavour to pronounce Gogh correctly in future.

Now, based on my history on similar themes, I might regret asking this, but I am strangely compelled so will anyway:

    How is the second vowel in Alan pronounced? I seem to pronounce both the same.

 
Solle
249190.  Wed Dec 26, 2007 4:54 pm Reply with quote

Davini994 wrote:

    How is the second vowel in Alan pronounced? I seem to pronounce both the same.


Actually, come to think of it - it's much closer to the "a" in "Mark". Which is really a lot easier to identify, I suppose. :)


Last edited by Solle on Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:08 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
suze
249203.  Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:06 pm Reply with quote

Dave, I doubt that you do pronounce the two identically.

Bearing in mind that you presumably have a Yorkshire accent, I'd imagine that you pronounce the first A in "Alan" to be much the same as the vowel you pronounce in "hat" or "grass".

But the second is an unstressed vowel, and like so many unstressed vowels gets pronounced as a schwa (in IPA, /ə/). That's the unstressed vowel found in a huge number of words, and which can be represented by any number of letters - for instance, it occurs in around, broken, and dinner.

It's not impossible that you genuinely do pronounce both vowels the same when you say Alan, but it isn't the norm.

 
Jenny
249280.  Wed Dec 26, 2007 8:33 pm Reply with quote

Welcome Solle :-)

Over here in the USA, Americans usually pronounce the painter's name as Vincent van Go, which makes me cringe.

 
Davini994
249297.  Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:04 pm Reply with quote

Thanks Suze. I'm not convinced. If I say Al, then stop, and say an (as in an), I am saying it the same as "alan". just with a gap.

I am sure that the first sound of around isn't the same as the e in dinner and the e in broken though.

Maybe I'm wierd.

 
MinervaMoon
249316.  Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:38 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Over here in the USA, Americans usually pronounce the painter's name as Vincent van Go, which makes me cringe.


And me as well. I've even been corrected for pronouncing it otherwise.

 
suze
249515.  Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:24 pm Reply with quote

Davini994 wrote:
I am sure that the first sound of around isn't the same as the e in dinner and the e in broken though.


They aren't absolutely identical in most British speech, no - most British people have two slightly different schwas, although few realise it. North Americans on the other hand usually only have one.

I stand by what I said earlier though - if you really do pronounce the two vowels in "Alan" identically, then you are in a minority; most people pronounce the second one as a schwa. Do you pronounce the second half of "Bradford" the same as you pronounce a well known maker of cars?


"van Gogh" is an odd one - "go" certainly seems to be standard by now in North America, but when I was a kid it was "gof" (in Canada at least) as, for the most part, it still is in Britain. Incidentally, Dutch pronunciation does not use a schwa in the second syllable of his Christian name - a Dutch person does pronounce it like the English word "sent".

 

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