Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

anonguest

English Spelling Of Foreign Language Words/names

Recommended Posts

Here's a topic for discussion/food for thought.......

Got wondering, especially about so many Chinese names/words as a particularly representative example, why is it that so many foreign language words/names are officially spelt in English in such a way that their reading bears little/no similarity to the way the word/name is actually pronounced by native speakers?

I know that, even today after centuries of dictionary standardisation of spellings, that some subtle regional differences in how some English words are spelt vary, e.g American 'color' vs British 'colour', etc. BUT the words are still spelt pretty much as they are intended to sound. But this so often does not apply to English spelling of foreign languages. Why?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The English conquerors had no idea of how to pronounce words in foreign (non-English) languages. Their poor rendition of foreign words in English reflects the tin ear many English still have for a foreign tongue. It isn't just Chinese. It applies strongly to the languages if the Indian sub continent. For instance, how did they make Calcutta from Kolkata or Bombay from Mumbai, etc, etc...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The English conquerors had no idea of how to pronounce words in foreign (non-English) languages. Their poor rendition of foreign words in English reflects the tin ear many English still have for a foreign tongue. It isn't just Chinese. It applies strongly to the languages if the Indian sub continent. For instance, how did they make Calcutta from Kolkata or Bombay from Mumbai, etc, etc...

That much I realise, but.....those are largely historical? Today, for example, we do indeed correctly refer to Mumbai or Beijing (instead of Peking). Not sure that this explains so much why modern asian company names, as another example, are spelt so 'badly'?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had put the modern poor/odd spelling down to the names' owners being unfamiliar with English language/spelling/pronounciation when spelling their own names in English.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair point about the foreign to English, but let's be honest - the Welsh versions of English words are 10-times worse...!

(Lights Mr Tulip's blue touch-paper and stands well back...)

;)

XYY

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair point about the foreign to English, but let's be honest - the Welsh versions of English words are 10-times worse...!

(Lights Mr Tulip's blue touch-paper and stands well back...)

;)

XYY

Oooooo.....good point! I completely forgot about Welsh!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair point about the foreign to English, but let's be honest - the Welsh versions of English words are 10-times worse...!

(Lights Mr Tulip's blue touch-paper and stands well back...)

;)

XYY

My favourite is ambiwlans, the ancient Welsh word for ambulance. Clearly they were streets ahead of us in civilisation terms. :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My favourite is ambiwlans, the ancient Welsh word for ambulance. Clearly they were streets ahead of us in civilisation terms. :unsure:

I like HEDDLU, when they really mean RA POLISS! :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why they cannae just say polis like the rest of us, I'll never know.

Aye Lass you make me laugh! I went to Glasgae once, and it was shut! :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fair point about the foreign to English, but let's be honest - the Welsh versions of English words are 10-times worse...!

(Lights Mr Tulip's blue touch-paper and stands well back...)

;)

XYY

Mr Tulip has repeatedly posted his loathing of the Welsh language.

(Mae Mr Tulip wedi postio ei gasineb o'r iaith Gymraeg dro ar ôl tro.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For instance, how did they make Calcutta from Kolkata or Bombay from Mumbai, etc, etc...

Probably by transcibing what they heard to the nearest English equivalent at the time.

Calcutta and Kolkata have the same three syllables. Any difference in emphasis can easily be accounted for by a very small evolution in the way we (or they) speak.

Likewise Mumbai and Bombay, though it may be less obvious that B and M are so close: each starts with closed lips, and the difference is just that the "M" involves some sound before the lips open. It's entirely possible that the Indian pronunciation is something that is neither English B nor M, but something intermediate that the ear misclassifies as a "slightly funny M" (formerly "slightly funny B").

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr Tulip has repeatedly posted his loathing of the Welsh language.

(Mae Mr Tulip wedi postio ei gasineb o'r iaith Gymraeg dro ar ôl tro

I don't think it's the language! It's the whole Welshness idiocracy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr Tulip has repeatedly posted his loathing of the Welsh language.

(Mae Mr Tulip wedi postio ei gasineb o'r iaith Gymraeg dro ar ôl tro.)

Aye, my mistake there crashy mate.

But what's all that Swedish shite in brackets...?

You pissed, or what like...!

;)

XYY

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it's the language! It's the whole Welshness idiocracy!

The word Taxi is good enough for the French, Germans, Spanish, Italians, Portuguese, Dutch, Danes, Swedes, Romanians, Czechs and Vietnamese but has to be spelt Tacsi in Welsh. What have they got against the letter X. The only other people who spell Taxi like that are the Finns, Croats, Ukranians and Turks. Do the Welsh secretly long to be part of eastern Europe ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What have they got against the letter X.

I think it's where - on a treasure map - they mark the last known location of their favourite sheep...

;)

XYY

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The word Taxi is good enough for the French, Germans, Spanish, Italians, Portuguese, Dutch, Danes, Swedes, Romanians, Czechs and Vietnamese but has to be spelt Tacsi in Welsh. What have they got against the letter X. The only other people who spell Taxi like that are the Finns, Croats, Ukranians and Turks. Do the Welsh secretly long to be part of eastern Europe ?

Welsh has only 24 letters! No X no J'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aye Lass you make me laugh! I went to Glasgae once, and it was shut! :unsure:

That would've been a Sunday more than thirty years ago then.

I'm off there for a fortnight spent with my cousin and her family in a couple of weeks. It isn't shut now! :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That would've been a Sunday more than thirty years ago then.

I'm off there for a fortnight spent with my cousin and her family in a couple of weeks. It isn't shut now! :lol:,

I'm not as young as I deserve to be, but I don't remember giant dragonflies from the Cambrian era!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not as young as I deserve to be, but I don't remember giant dragonflies from the Cambrian era!

I'm certainly not as young as I feel but I remember sweetie rationing and Paisley trams!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm certainly not as young as I feel but I remember sweetie rationing and Paisley trams!!

Sound a bit psychdelic! I tried evil drugs once, and nobody noticed! :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • The Prime Minister stated that there were three Brexit options available to the UK:   212 members have voted

    1. 1. Which of the Prime Minister's options would you choose?


      • Leave with the negotiated deal
      • Remain
      • Leave with no deal

    Please sign in or register to vote in this poll. View topic


×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.