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 »  Articles Overview  »  Miscellaneous  »  
Accentuation

Accentuation

By Marcia Pinheiro | Published  02/16/2014 | Miscellaneous | Recommendation:
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Quicklink: http://www.proz.com/doc/3982
Author:
Marcia Pinheiro
Australia
English to Portuguese translator
 
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The Brazilian language is one of the easiest ones in the world in what regards pronunciation because it has got plenty of graphical accents.


The English language, on the other hand, is one of the hardest because it does not have any graphical accent.


We then wonder why we could not be changing that.


Why having to guess that for is (foː), as we see in (FOR, 2013), if we can write fór instead of for and let clear to everyone else, by the moment of reading the word, how to say it?


Why having to guess that memory is (mĕm′ə-rē), as we see in (memory, 2003), if we can write mêmory instead and let clear to everyone else, by the moment of reading the word, how to say it?


Cão, which is a word from the Portuguese language (dog), can only be read (kŭō), and the fact that we have no doubts as to how to say this word after reading it from a piece of paper has to be a wonderful thing.


Graphical accents exist to make communication easier then.


Even the Portuguese language, however, has words that could be made much clearer, in terms of pronunciation, through adding graphical accents. For instance, the word amor should be pronounced (ä-mōr), but that is not evident from its writing. We should obviously write amôr to make it easier for everyone.


The fact that these rules have been out there for ages does not mean that we cannot change them any time we decide to do so.


A good conjecture is that people who were born speaking a language in which graphical accents are highly used and valued would take longest to learn languages from the other extreme, so that people who were born in Brazil, for instance, would be the slowest learners of the English language in a group that had only people who were born in countries in which the official language is like the English language in those regards, that is, has no graphical accents, and themselves.


The converse would not be verified however, since having the graphical accent is better than not having: A person born in the United States of America would probably think that learning the Portuguese language is easier than learning their own language.


We should definitely try to simplify communication in all senses, so that we should be changing the current structure of the Portuguese and the English languages in a way to make pronunciation easy.


We should finish with the phenomena silent letters (Pinheiro, 2012), and rejection of graphical accents in a first move towards that target.


We should also have all hs said in the same way in both languages all the time, just to mention another item, so that hotel and honours should sound the same in what comes to the h (currently, hotel is read (hō-tĕl′), as we see in (hotel, 2003) and honours is read (ˈɒnəz), as we see in (honours, 2003)).






References:



FOR. (n.d.) K Dictionaries. (2013). Retrieved February 15 2014 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/for


memory. (n.d.) The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003). Retrieved February 15 2014 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/memory


Pinheiro, M. R. (2012). There to make it beautiful or to be pronounced? Retrieved February 17 2014 from http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/3650/1/There-to-make-it-beautiful-or-to-be-pronounced%3F


hotel. (n.d.) The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003). Retrieved February 16 2014 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hotel


honours. (n.d.) Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged. (1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003). Retrieved February 16 2014 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/honours



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