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Old 04-13-2009, 05:11 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
if English is good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for a Chinese immigrant.

simple as that.
You are aware that Jesus didn't speak English right? That your bible is just a translation of Hebrew right?


I really hope you are joking with this.
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:27 AM   #32
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Guys, even as a pathetic lurker of long standing, I feel safe in assuring you that Irvine is being ironic and does not hold the opinions you appear to think.

As a lurker of long standing, I have learnt that irony is almost impossible to convey online, but a posting history helps. Of course an audience aware of said history also helps.

Ok, that's me done, gang!

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Old 04-13-2009, 07:53 PM   #33
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And Chinese names are not impossible to pronounce, their spelling is just intimidating, imo (and I am not Chinese, btw).
I beg to differ. Pronunciation of the alphabet in Pinyin is extremely different and difficult to learn for an English person. There are 4 tones, and each one is unique and requires a long time to actually perfect. English speakers apply their own language rules, and it's just not correct to do so. It's the same as English names being stuffed up all the time, in either pronunciation or title. I get called Anne, instead of Anna, which drives me up the fucking wall, and my daughter gets 'Naddaly' instead of Natalie. It is unbelievable just how many people do not enunciate the 't' in her name. She already despises it, and she's only 6. So, I reckon when we master our own language and then others, then maybe we can complain about efficiency of learning multiple ways of pronouncing things!
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Old 04-13-2009, 07:57 PM   #34
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I really hope you are joking with this.
He is.
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Old 04-13-2009, 08:32 PM   #35
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Pronunciation of the alphabet in Pinyin is extremely different and difficult to learn for an English person. There are 4 tones, and each one is unique and requires a long time to actually perfect. English speakers apply their own language rules, and it's just not correct to do so.
And 6 tones in the case of Cantonese, which in the US is by far the most common mother tongue of the Chinese immigrant community. Vietnamese also has 6 tones and that's another quite widespread mother tongue here.

Just because you gamely take a shot at reading off an unfamiliar name based on what standard English pronunciation conventions lead you to expect, or do your best to imitiate the way that person pronounces it, doesn't mean you'll even come close to getting it right, whether they feel it's worth bothering to correct you or not.
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this is pretty much why no one knows my "real" name. it's 5 simple letters, but if spoken incorrectly, it sounds flat and lifeless. not liking the way people who are unfamiliar with the language the name originated from pronounced it, i ended up choosing something that was simple for people to say. i don't hold it against folks for not being to say my name, but it's been so long since i've heard it that it would be nice to hear it more than just every blue moon.
I can imagine, there must be a real sense of loss in having to do that solely to accommodate others, even when they can't realistically be expected to get it right.
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:07 PM   #36
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If I remember correctly from my language development classes, there's even a critical period during infancy or childhood, where, if one is not exposed to some sounds in some languages, they'll never "hear" them properly, or be able to differentiate between similar sounds in some non-native languages.
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:15 PM   #37
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Romanised? Well, they use what's called pinyin which takes the sound of Chinese characters and then use an approximation of what it sounds like using the English alphabet. This was implemented by the Chinese government many years ago, but use of Chinese characters still rule.

Fun fact: In Chinese Yao Ming's name is actually the reverse, but the media chose to write it this way for whatever reason.
That's what they call it in Japanese, anyways, Romanizing. Or at least that's what I was told in my Japanese classes.

This isn't exactly related to what the topic's about, but reading this reminded me of a guy we were training to own his own Quiznos last summer, or the year before, can't remember. He was Indian, and so are my bosses, and their parents (who also work there) and pretty much all of us have gotten used to pronouncing Indian names. Well, anyways, we were training this guy, and I can't remember what his real name was anymore, but he wanted us to call him Steve...and we're just like, "Why?". And he kept telling us his real name was too hard to pronounce, but it really wasn't, and anyways, the majority of the people who worked there spoke the same language as him. It was really kinda strange, and then I heard from other people that sometimes that just happens, that immigrants choose to change their names. Honestly, I wish they wouldn't. Why should they, you know? Don't let people like this idiot make them feel badly about their heritage.
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Old 04-13-2009, 10:24 PM   #38
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I can imagine, there must be a real sense of loss in having to do that solely to accommodate others, even when they can't realistically be expected to get it right.
My Mom's name is Vesna (it's the Slavic goddess of spring because she was born on the first day of spring) and she told me that she's been asked at least 10 times why it is that she hasn't changed it to "Vanessa" so that "people" can spell and pronounce it right.

Her response is that they should feel free to ask her and learn how to pronounce it because she has no intention of going by a name that her mother didn't give her.
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:55 PM   #39
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when i spent 3 weeks with a French family, they called me by my correct first name, only with the French pronunciation. this isn't my name, but i was "Me-Shell" instead of "Mike-Uhl" if my name were Michael (which it isn't).

this bothered me not at all. i kind of liked it.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:22 AM   #40
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If I remember correctly from my language development classes, there's even a critical period during infancy or childhood, where, if one is not exposed to some sounds in some languages, they'll never "hear" them properly, or be able to differentiate between similar sounds in some non-native languages.
Well, for what this is worth...

Wikipedia - Critical Period Hypothesis
Quote:
...The theory has often been extended to a critical period for second language acquisition, although this is much less widely accepted. Certainly, older learners of a second language rarely achieve the native-like fluency that younger learners display, despite often progressing faster than children in the initial stages. David Singleton (1995) states that in learning a second language, "younger = better in the long run," but points out that there are many exceptions, noting that 5% of adult bilinguals master a second language even though they begin learning it when they are well into adulthood—long after any critical period has presumably come to a close.

While the window for learning a second language never completely closes, certain linguistic aspects appear to be more affected by the age of the learner than others. For example, adult second-language learners nearly always retain an immediately-identifiable foreign accent, including some who display perfect grammar (Oyama 1976). Some writers have suggested a younger critical age for learning phonology than for syntax.
I know I saw a good general-interest article on this topic a few years back, but unfortunately I can't recall where anymore. As much as I love linguistics trivia, I usually find academic articles on topics like this to be far more trouble than it's worth for me--I just don't know enough of the relevant terminology concerning phonology and so on to follow much of it.

My parents didn't start learning English until they were, I think, 13 and 14 respectively, and then not in the greatest environment (classrooms composed entirely of immigrants from all different language backgrounds, plus they lived in orphanages that were more of the same), which I suppose might make them non-representative. But at any rate, while they certainly both came to speak English very fluently, they did retain obvious accents and my father's grammar was never entirely perfect.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:27 AM   #41
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I have a Chinese born girl in my class at uni. Her real name is Sze but she calls herself Jenny to stop people pulling faces.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:36 AM   #42
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Sze


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Old 04-14-2009, 04:20 AM   #43
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I just call her Z for short
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:52 AM   #44
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My Mom's name is Vesna (it's the Slavic goddess of spring because she was born on the first day of spring) and she told me that she's been asked at least 10 times why it is that she hasn't changed it to "Vanessa" so that "people" can spell and pronounce it right.

Her response is that they should feel free to ask her and learn how to pronounce it because she has no intention of going by a name that her mother didn't give her.
She meets people who cannot pronounce Vesna? Wow! It's hardly rare here, and it's a name that covers a few generations and ethnicities. I went to school with a girl called Vesna, and another friend had a baby soon after leaving school and she named her Vesna. The name is enduring here, though obviously it came over with immigrant Australians originally.
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:17 AM   #45
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I have a student who is Filipina. She was raised speaking English but both her parents have accents, but her English is completely "accent-less." I can't figure out why this is. I could understand if she were surrounded by American kids with American accents at school her whole life, but she hasn't been. What makes a person have an accent?
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