El inglés está loco


Se lee como se escribe. Esa es la norma en español, si ves algo escrito, sabes como pronunciarlo (salvo el bug del español, que no se puede escribir). Lo que sí pasa es que a veces sabemos como se pronuncia una palabra pero no sabemos exactamente cómo se escribe, si va con be o con uvecon ge o con jota o, en latinoamérica, con ese o con ce. Pues en inglés, ni lo uno ni lo otro. Podemos oír una palabra y no tener ni idea de cómo escribirla, de ahí que tenga sentido que haya los  típicos  (o debería decir míticos) concurso de deletreo en Estados Unidos. O vemos una palabra escrita y no hay una regla general que nos diga cómo pronunciarla. Es de locos.

Por ejemplo, las ciudades Ediburgh, Leicester o Worcester se pronuncian /ˈɛdɪnbərə/ ,  /ˈlɛstər/  y /wʊstər/ (haz clic en el enlace para escucharlo). ¿Por qué se comen tantas letras y pronuncian otras que no están? O el nombre Siobhan se pronuncia /ʃɨˈvɔːn/. Locos de atar.

Otro caso llamativo es que life y live a veces se pronuncian igual y a veces diferente. Mira estos ejemplos:

  • He lives his life and they live their lives. Dos pronunciaciones de lives diferentes (life y live también diferentes).
  • A live concert. Pronunciado como life.

Ningún sentido, ¿verdad? Pues no. Lo que pasa en muchos casos es que, como el vocabulario del inglés proviene de tantos orígenes diferentes, cuando se estandarizó la ortografía se tomaron letras idénticas para sonidos diferentes (como th en the o en thief).

Para liaros un poco, intentad pronunciar correctamente el siguiente poema:

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Fe0ffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

Y aquí leído por un nativo:

4 comentarios en “El inglés está loco

  1. Exactamente, viene del Irlandés. El problema es que al ser un idioma tan permeable va absorbiendo palabras de distintos orígenes sin forzar una ortografía común.
    Estoy flipando con lo de Arkansas! No sabía que se pronunciaba así!

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