Woods wrote:I noticed one of my German friends used the [æ] sound instead of [ɛ] when speaking French. Like in the word « jamais » she would say [ʒamæ] instead of [ʒamɛ] and so one. So did another German person I spoke French with. I pointed it out to the first one and tried to get her to make a sound just between [æ] and [e], i.e. to get the French [ɛ] to sound right. She said it was pretty hard to make something in between. This was the first time I realised there might be a reason Germans use A umlaut in addition to E. I’ve been aware since almost the very beginning that there are more than one e-sounds in German. In other words, I’ve been used to pronouncing the first e in »sehen« like something which is, to my understanding, something between [ɛ] and [i]. But, the word »Herz« for example, I would pronounce [hɛrts] rather than [hærts]. So my question is, am I wrong on this one? How many ä/e-s are there in German? They’re only two, aren’t they? And therefore »Herz« should be [hærts] rather than [hɛrts]?
This shouldn't be "arbitrary" unless you have a speaker who is aiming for a normative standard which they is not natural to them. That is, you may have a speaker who grew up saying [ʃpeːtɐ] but, having learned the prescriptive distinction between /eː/ and /ɛː/, tries to use a more open vowel in this word but only succeeds sporadically.Woods wrote:Another question – sometimes it’s arbitrary which one of the two sounds a person would pick, is it? The word »später« would be pronounced as [spæter]/[später] by some, but [speter] by others, wouldn’t it?
As long as you make the long vowels phonetically long as well as tense. Shortening them sounds conspicuously foreign.Woods wrote:So basically, if I speak with [ɛ] for short e-vowels as I’m used to and [e] for long ones, and occasionally tend to make [ɛ]s [æ]s to sound more native-like, it’ll be fine.
Well, given the linguistic situation in Germany, you can't really deal with native speakers without getting into them. That is, if you ask them for advice on pronunciation, grammar, etc., you have to be prepared that some of what they tell you will reflect nonstandard usage--and they themselves may or may not be aware this is the case. Again, in my experience, certain dialect features are singled out as markers of regional identity (e.g. diminutive endings, tag questions, distribution of sibilants) and are very salient to speakers whereas others are not.Woods wrote:As you figured it out, I was talking about the different ways to render the standard language. I’m far from speaking it well, so it’s pretty early for me at this point to get into the dialects.
As long as you make the long vowels phonetically long as well as tense.
Woods wrote:This thing about French might be true, but I’ve never thought about it. However, I’ve never heard anyone say « marde ». Actually I don’t think it’s true.
Woods wrote:»Geometrie« is [geomɛt’ri] then? I’m kind of making it so, I think Danish pushes me in the right direction.
Woods wrote:Can you think of examples of long [ɛ]/[ä]? I edited this in my post apparently as you were typing.
[bɛrən] would be heard as Bärren/Berren. The latter exists as a proper name and the former could be interpreted as dialect term (e.g. a nonstandard umlaut plural of Barren).Woods wrote:Okay. I know many Germans would say /̍beːrən/ for Bären. I wouldn’t, but I might say /̍bɛrən/ or /̍bärən/ without the colon. I’ll try to notice the distinction in order to avoid sounding foreign.
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