A hyperforeignism is a type of qualitative hypercorrection that involves speakers misidentifying the distribution of a pattern found in loanwords and extending it to other environments, including words and phrases not borrowed from the language that the pattern derives from.[1] The result of this process does not reflect the rules of either language.[2] For example, habanero is sometimes pronounced as though it were spelled with an ñ (habañero), which is not the Spanish form from which the English word was borrowed.[3]

Hyperforeignisms can manifest in a number of ways, including the application of the spelling or pronunciation rules of one language to a word borrowed from another;[4] an incorrect application of a language's pronunciation; and pronouncing loanwords as though they were borrowed more recently, ignoring an already established naturalized pronunciation. Hyperforeignisms may similarly occur when a word is thought to be a loanword from a particular language when it is not.

Intentional hyperforeignisms can be used for comedic effect, such as pronouncing Report with a silent ⟨t⟩ in The Colbert Report or pronouncing Target as /tɑːrˈʒ/ tar-ZHAY, as though it were an upscale boutique.[5] This form of hyperforeignism is a way of poking fun at those who earnestly adopt foreign-sounding pronunciations of pseudo-loanwords.[6]

Similarly, speakers who echo hyperforeign pronunciations without the intention of approximating a foreign-language pattern are also not practicing hyperforeignization; thus, pronouncing habanero as if it were spelled habañero is not a hyperforeignism if one is not aware that the word has been borrowed from Spanish.[6]

English edit

In English, hyperforeignisms are seen in loanwords from many different languages. Many are isolated examples, showing a particular pattern applied to multiple words and phrases, though some patterns can be identified.

Replacement with postalveolar fricatives /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ is one common mark of hyperforeignisms in English. This leads to pronouncing smörgåsbord (with initial [s] in Swedish) as /ˈʃmɔːrɡəsˌbɔːrd/, parmesan (from French [paʁməzɑ̃]) as /ˈpɑːrməˌʒɑːn/ (the cheese itself is Italian, and this pronunciation may also have been influenced by the Italian word for the cheese, parmigiano, which has a postalveolar affricate: [parmiˈdʒaːno]), pronouncing forte (strong point) as /ˈfɔːrt/ as if it were the Italian forte (the basis for forte, the musical notation for "loud") instead of the French pronunciation that sounds close to the English fort, and Mandarin Chinese terms like Beijing (with [], which sounds like [] to English speakers) with /ʒ/: /bˈʒɪŋ/.[2][7]

Dutch words edit

In Dutch, the letter combination ⟨sch⟩ represents [sx] at the beginning of a syllable, and [s] at the end. However, most English speakers pronounce Dutch words such as Rooibosch and veldschoen with /ʃ/, more closely following the pronunciation rules for German spelling. In contrast, certain well-established Dutch surnames and place names in the United States dating to colonial times, such as Schuyler, have ⟨sch⟩ pronounced as /sk/, which is relatively closer to the Dutch pronunciation.

The cluster /sx/ is not present in English phonology, and is found difficult by most native speakers, so that some level of correction away from the Dutch original is inevitable.

The name Roosevelt, which is pronounced [ˈruzvɛlt], as if it started like goose, even though a natural Dutch pronunciation would be closer to the English one.

French words edit

A number of words of French origin feature a final ⟨e⟩ that is pronounced in English but silent in the original language. For example, the noun cache is sometimes pronounced /kæʃ/, as though it were spelled either ⟨cachet⟩ (meaning "seal" or "signature") or ⟨caché⟩ (meaning "hidden"). In French, the final ⟨e⟩ is silent and the word is pronounced [kaʃ]. The word cadre is sometimes pronounced /ˈkɑːdr/ in English, as though it were of Spanish origin. In French, the final ⟨e⟩ is silent [kadʁ] and a common English pronunciation is /ˈkɑːdrə/.[8]

Legal English is replete with words derived from Norman French, which for a long time was the language of the courts in England and Wales. The correct pronunciation of Norman French is often closer to a natural contemporary English reading than to modern French: the attempt to pronounce these phrases as if they were modern French could therefore be considered to be a hyperforeignism. For example, the clerk's summons "Oyez!" ("Attention!") is commonly pronounced ending in a consonant, /s/ or /z/.[9]

A common pattern is pronouncing French loanwords without a word-final /r/, as with derrière, peignoir, and répertoire.[10] Yet at once, this is a normal pronunciation in French vernacular of North America (both Canadian French and Acadian French, by opposition with Metropolitan French probably used for making this comparison): /r/ is optional as word ending, whereas the vowel just in front of it is always long, contrasting with vowels being almost always short in word-ending positions.[11]

Another common pattern, influenced by French morphophonology, is the omission of word-final consonants. Hyperforeign application of this tendency occurs with omission of these consonants in words with final consonants that are pronounced in French. This occurs notably in the term coup de grâce, in which some speakers omit the final consonant /s/, although it is pronounced in French as [ku ɡʁɑs]; omitting this consonant instead sounds like coup de gras, meaning a nonsensical "blow of fat."[8][12] Other examples of this include Vichyssoise,[8] the chess term en prise, prix fixe, sous-vide and mise en scène. There are many instances of this sort of omission connected with proper nouns. Some speakers may omit pronouncing a final /z/ or /s/ in names such as Saint-Saëns, Duras, Boulez, and Berlioz, though these words are pronounced in French with a final [s] or [z].

The Norman French language furthermore gave Southern England some ancient family names that were once associated with the aristocracy. An example is Lestrange which is sometimes pronounced with its natural and contemporaneous French inflection, though it is more often pronounced like the English word strange, /lɛˈstrn/.

Speakers of American English typically pronounce lingerie /ˌlɒnəˈr/,[8] depressing the first vowel of the French [lɛ̃ʒʁi] to sound more like a typical French nasal vowel, and rhyming the final syllable with English ray, by analogy with the many French loanwords ending in ⟨é⟩, ⟨er⟩, ⟨et⟩, and ⟨ez⟩, which rhyme with ray in English. Similarly, the French-derived term repartie (/rəpɑːrˈt/, "rejoinder") was changed to English spelling ⟨repartee⟩ ("banter"), giving rise to a hyperforeign /rəpɑːrˈt/.

Claret is often pronounced /klæˈr/, without a final /t/. However, it is historically an Anglicised (and genericised) version of the original French clairet, with the ⟨t⟩ more typically being pronounced and the stress falling on the first syllable: /ˈklærɪt/.

Moët, a brand of French champagne, is often pronounced with a silent T. However, the name is Dutch, and its native pronunciation is [moɛt] moh-ET.[13]

Hindi words edit

The ⟨j⟩ in the name of the Taj Mahal or raj is often rendered /ʒ/, but a closer approximation to the Hindi sound is //.[2] The ⟨j⟩ in most words associated with languages of India is more accurately approximated as //.

Italian words edit

The ⟨g⟩ in Adagio may be realized as /ʒ/, even though the soft ⟨g⟩ of Italian represents an affricate [].[2]

The name of the principal male character in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew is spelled Petruchio, intended to be the Italian name Petruccio [peˈtruttʃo], reflecting more conventional English pronunciation rules that use ⟨ch⟩ to represent //. However, the name is commonly pronounced /pɛˈtrki/, as though Shakespeare's spelling was genuinely Italian.

Substituting baristo for a male barista, when in fact barista is invariable in gender in Italian and Spanish (as are other words ending in the suffix -ista) is a hyperforeignism. In Italian (and Spanish), the gender is indicated by the article; il (el) barista for a male and la barista for a female.

The word latte ("milk"), as in caffè latte, is often misspelled as ⟨latté⟩ or ⟨lattè⟩, implying stress on the final syllable. However, latte has no accent mark in Italian and has the stress on the first syllable. This may be an analogy with French words such as frappé [fraˈpe], where there is such an accent mark.

Italian ⟨sch⟩, as in maraschino, bruschetta, or the brand name Freschetta, is often mispronounced as English [ʃ] rather than the correct [sk], due to greater familiarity with the German pronunciation of ⟨sch⟩.

Mandarin words edit

The ⟨j⟩ in Beijing is often rendered as [ʒ], but a closer approximation to the Mandarin sound is [dʒ]. The Pinyin letter j is pronounced [tɕ].

Russian words edit

Because the Russian loanword dacha (дача [ˈdatɕə]) looks like it could be German, the pronunciation /ˈdɑːxə/, with a velar fricative, shows an attempt at marking a word as foreign, but with a sound not originally present in the source word.[14] The more common pronunciation is /ˈdɑːə/, which sounds closer to the original Russian word.

Spanish words edit

The digraph ⟨ch⟩ of Spanish generally represents [], similar to English ⟨ch⟩. Hyperforeign realizations of many Spanish loanwords or proper names may substitute other sounds. Examples include a French-style [ʃ] in the surname Chávez and in Che Guevara, or a German-influenced [x] or Ancient Greek-influenced [k] in machismo.[2] The ⟨z⟩ in the Spanish word chorizo is sometimes realized as /ts/ by English speakers, reflecting more closely the pronunciation of the double letter ⟨zz⟩ in Italian and Italian loanwords in English. This is not the pronunciation of present-day Spanish, however. Rather, the ⟨z⟩ in chorizo represents [θ] or [s] (depending on dialect) in Spanish.[15]

Some English speakers pronounce certain words of Spanish origin as if they had an eñe or Ll when they do not in the original language. For example, the word habanero is pronounced [aβaˈneɾo] (with an n) in Spanish. English speakers may instead pronounce it /ˌhɑːbəˈnjɛr/, as if it were spelled ⟨habañero⟩; the phenomenon also occurs with empanada, which may be pronounced as if spelled ⟨empañada⟩. The city of Cartagena, Colombia, is very commonly pronounced as if it were spelled ⟨Cartageña⟩.

The South American beverage, mate, is frequently spelled ⟨maté⟩ in English, adding an accent which, in Spanish, changes the pronunciation and meaning of the word (maté meaning "I killed" in Spanish). However, the accented spelling may serve a purpose, as it is interpreted by some English speakers to indicate that the word has two syllables and is not pronounced like the English word mate (/mt/). Following Spanish orthography though, the only correct place to add an accent which matches the natural stress of the word (and therefore does not change its pronunciation) would be on the A, máte.

Other languages edit

Japanese edit

Loanwords from Japanese are often subject to hyperforeignism. The names of three of the four main islands of Japan, Honsiu, Kiusiu, and Sikoku, are already Polish transcriptions with close approximations of Japanese sounds—[ˈxɔɲɕu], [ˈkʲuɕu], and [ɕiˈkɔku]—but are often pronounced with changing native /ɕ/ into foreign /sj/. Other Japanese words use English transcriptions, which causes further problems.

Norwegian edit

In Norwegian, like in Swedish, entrecôte can be pronounced without the final [t]. This might also happen in pommes frites (french fries), and the [z] is often removed in the pronunciation of Béarnaise sauce.[16]

Russian edit

In Russian, many early loanwords are pronounced as native Russian words with full palatalization. Hyperforeignism occurs when some speakers pronounce these early loanwords without palatalization. For example: тема ("theme") is normally pronounced [ˈtʲɛmə]. A hyperforeign pronunciation would be [ˈtɛmə], as if the word were spelled ⟨тэма⟩. Similarly, текст ("text") is pronounced [tʲɛkst], with the hyperforeign pronunciation being [tɛkst], as if it were spelled ⟨тэкст⟩. Other examples include музей ("museum") [muˈzʲej][muˈzej], газета ("newspaper") [ɡɐˈzʲɛtə][ɡɐˈzɛtə] and эффект ("effect") [ɨfʲˈfʲɛkt][ɨfˈfɛkt]. The variation is attributable to the tendency to use ⟨е⟩ in foreign words after a consonant, even if it is not palatalized.

Phenian, a now obsolete name for Pyongyang, which was a transcription of Russian Пхеньян, was pronounced [ˈfɛɲan], as if ⟨ph⟩ represented the voiceless labiodental fricative like in English.

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Janda, Joseph & Jacobs (1994), p. 74.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wells (1982), p. 108.
  3. ^ "Habanero". Merriam-Webster. under "Variants of Habanero". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  4. ^ Janda, Joseph & Jacobs (1994), p. 72.
  5. ^ Muy, Ylan Q. (21 June 2006). "Where Target Is Always 'Tar-zhay'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b Janda, Joseph & Jacobs (1994), p. 73.
  7. ^ Janda, Joseph & Jacobs (1994), p. 80.
  8. ^ a b c d Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (revised ed.). Merriam-Webster. 1994. p. 516. ISBN 0-87779-132-5.
  9. ^ "Definition of oyez in English". Oxford Dictionaries. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  10. ^ Janda, Joseph & Jacobs (1994), p. 75.
  11. ^ With the notable exception of pronouns/possessives on/mon/ton/son but not nouns ton/son; as there are no words ending in -onr(e), those 4 cases cannot cause ambiguity.
  12. ^ Janda, Joseph & Jacobs (1994), p. 76.
  13. ^ Enting, Carolyn (2002). "Moët for Linguists". Lucire. Jack Yan & Associates. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  14. ^ Janda, Joseph & Jacobs (1994), pp. 72, 75.
  15. ^ Quinn, Sue (13 February 2014). "Mispronounced food words: can you say chorizo?". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016.
  16. ^ Entrekå med påmm fri og bærné, takk - K7 Bulletin (Norwegian)

References edit