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'America' - the right pronunciation Options
Sanmayce
Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2018 4:08:14 PM

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Swayed by the talent of James Brown, I easily take him as the prime source for learning how to say 'America', but the actual thing that made me revisit my way of saying was the discrepancy in my go-to Random House Webster (All-American, yes) transcription list:
america ({x} mer{'}i k{x}), n.
american ({x} mer{'}i k{x}n), adj.


The superhit states:
america ({x} mer{'}i k{a}), n.

Pronunciation, according to the nasty IPA:
IPA(key): /əˈmɛɹɪkə/

Same with 'The Carnegie Mellon University Pronouncing Dictionary':
AMERICA AH0 M EH1 R IH0 K AH0

My question, how come the first and last 'a' are written/transcribed as ə/AH0 but read differently?

Ugh, the icon didn't say it once, so here goes his 'America':
Hey America - James Brown

To reinforce the actual context, A MUST-SEE 143 seconds long gold performance:
Eddie Murphy - Delirious James Brown



He learns not to learn and reverts to what all men pass by.
L.Rai
Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2018 6:49:10 PM

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It depends on where you are from as to how you will put the accent on the word.

I am from the Western part of the US and we say a-mer-a-kah, (phonetic) however some people from other parts of the US may put the accent on another part or say the first vowel with more of an "ah" sound, so it may sound like ah-mer-ah-kah

Recently I find that I'd rather not tell anyone where I am from....Whistle In a few more years that may change...

"Your life matters more than you will ever know, so live it well"
RuthP
Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2018 9:17:41 PM

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L.Rai wrote:
It depends on where you are from as to how you will put the accent on the word.

I am from the Western part of the US and we say a-mer-a-kah, (phonetic) however some people from other parts of the US may put the accent on another part or say the first vowel with more of an "ah" sound, so it may sound like ah-mer-ah-kah

Recently I find that I'd rather not tell anyone where I am from....Whistle In a few more years that may change...

For the Carnegie-Mellon pronunciation, you need to look at their phoneme definitions. You cannot go by the letter combinations. "AH" stands for the "u" sound in "hut". This is actually pretty close to much of the U.S.

Look about halfway down this page: Carnegie-Mellon University pronouncing dictionary for the phonemes.



As to the original question, I don't have audio available, so I cannot hear James Brown. If he's singing, you need to remember that sung pronunciation bears only the vaguest relationship to spoken pronunciation. Tempo, pitch change, phrasing, individual notes all affect sung pronunciation, one reason non-native singers can sound as if they were native speakers while singing: the song overrides spoken pronunciation.

The CMU pronouncing dictionary is actually very good, at least with the word "America". I am moved to wonder, however, how much good defining sounds on the basis of (AE) English words is going to do for a non-native speaker. It looks as if this were intended for use by (presumably English-speaking) computer programmers working on voice-to-text type issues.
palapaguy
Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2018 1:18:55 AM

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Sanmayce wrote:
Swayed by the talent of James Brown, I easily take him as the prime source for learning how to say 'America', but the actual thing that made me revisit my way of saying was the discrepancy in my go-to Random House Webster (All-American, yes) transcription list:
america ({x} mer{'}i k{x}), n.
american ({x} mer{'}i k{x}n), adj.


The superhit states:
america ({x} mer{'}i k{a}), n.

Pronunciation, according to the nasty IPA:
IPA(key): /əˈmɛɹɪkə/

Same with 'The Carnegie Mellon University Pronouncing Dictionary':
AMERICA AH0 M EH1 R IH0 K AH0

My question, how come the first and last 'a' are written/transcribed as ə/AH0 but read differently?

Ugh, the icon didn't say it once, so here goes his 'America':
Hey America - James Brown

To reinforce the actual context, A MUST-SEE 143 seconds long gold performance:
Eddie Murphy - Delirious James Brown



There is no "right" pronunciation. One's speech patterns and inflection are learned from regional and hereditary experience, and are not rules-based.

And certainly are not James Brown-based.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2018 3:54:54 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

I'd say /æ'merikə/ (unstressed) or /æ'merikæ/ (stressed). (strongest stress on the "MER")
Speaking really quickly, I would probably slur it and say /ə'merikə/ - pretty much like the Random House Webster's says.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
ozok
Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2018 5:48:06 AM
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RuthP wrote:
...you need to remember that sung pronunciation bears only the vaguest relationship to spoken pronunciation. Tempo, pitch change, phrasing, individual notes all affect sung pronunciation, one reason non-native singers can sound as if they were native speakers while singing: the song overrides spoken pronunciation..'


Another excellent observation from this poster. Kudos.

I am a (continental) European and I hear this all the time.

But it is not only with non-native speakers. A typical example is Olivier Newton-John who speaks with a broad Australian accent (even after living for decades in the USA) but sings as an 'American'.



just sayin'
thar
Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2018 7:32:40 AM

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It also depends on context - how much respect you give to the word.
In one instance it might be cut down to sound like 'Mair-ka, while in another situation you could give it the respect of sounding every syllable.
Sanmayce
Posted: Sunday, September 2, 2018 3:42:46 PM

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My pronunciations are terrible, therefore my idea was to stick with/to the stable/authoritative "definitions", in form of Heritage or/and Random House Webster "style".
My way is American way, Britishisms I avoid as hot potatoes.
It took me 5 months to grab all the transcriptions from the electronic version of RHW - via a macros (an automatic sequence of mouse and keyboard actions).
My intent is to have written equivalent (transcription) to everything I say, it is a far cry of the fading principle of WYSIWYG, or WYSIWYS (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Say).

Two more all-American authoritative sources, that I love, add up to my dismay:

- The American Heritage Dictionary:
https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=America
https://ahdictionary.com/application/resources/wavs/A0249700.wav

- Barbra Streisand - America The Beautiful
At 2:53, she finishes the song with clear "nominal" a's - A-me-ri-kA - exactly the way we say it in Bulgarian :P

He learns not to learn and reverts to what all men pass by.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 4:28:43 AM

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thar wrote:
It also depends on context - how much respect you give to the word.
In one instance it might be cut down to sound like 'Mair-ka, while in another situation you could give it the respect of sounding every syllable.

I thought that was more like "Mur-ka" - like 'murky'; or like 'mercat' without the 't'. /'mɜ:ʳkə/

I'm sure that no-one ever pronounces it like Bernstein in West Side Story - /'æ'meri:'kæ/

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 5:28:02 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
thar wrote:
It also depends on context - how much respect you give to the word.
In one instance it might be cut down to sound like 'Mair-ka, while in another situation you could give it the respect of sounding every syllable.

I thought that was more like "Mur-ka" - like 'murky'; or like 'mercat' without the 't'. /'mɜ:ʳkə/

I'm sure that no-one ever pronounces it like Bernstein in West Side Story - /'æ'meri:'kæ/


That's a fairly accurate rendition of what it sounds like in El Barrio, aka Spanish Harlem in Manhattan. Especially among native-Spanish speakers of English from Puerto Rico, there is a tendency to hyper-correctness in pronunciation that involves a flat, untrilled R /ɹ/ that would make a Nebraskan wince, and exaggerated diphthongs where none are usually present.

In most of the northern half of the USA I would reckon this pronunciation /əˈmɛɹɪˌkʌ/ with a a noticeable secondary accent would be most common.

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Sanmayce
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 10:19:02 AM

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Thanks for the ... raccourcis (different angles).

For some mystical reason, whenever I hear America instantly I relate to Africa. I think I perceive continents as living entities, oh, for Gaia/Earth even more. To me, the native Indian tribes fill the word America with ... nativeness, speaking of two Americas here. Rose Laurens' supersong formed this notion in me: America - the shaman goddess; Africa - the voodoo goddess. "Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life: the primal Mother Earth goddess."

According to American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition:
The first goddess is pronounced A·mer·i·ca (ə-mĕr′ĭ-kə)
The other goddess is pronounced Af·ri·ca (ăf′rĭ-kə)

My follow-up question, why not unify them, or even better, how cool would it be to say instead of (ă-mĕr′ĭ-kə), (ä-mĕr′ĭ-kă), with a prolonged nominal 'a'! Who decided the way America is to be transcribed?

The song clearly is .. "depreciating" the official Af·ri·ca (ăf′rĭ-kə) and establishes Af·ri·ca (äf′rĭ-kă), unification done.

Etymology

Feminine form of Americus, the Latinized form of the forename of Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1454–1512). Amerigo is the Italian form of a Germanic personal name.

First recorded in 1507 (together with the related term Amerigen) in the Cosmographiae Introductio, apparently written by Matthias Ringmann, in reference to South America;[1] first applied to both North and South America by Mercator in 1538. Amerigen means "land of Amerigo" and derives from Amerigo and gen, the accusative case of Greek gē "earth". America accorded with the feminine names of Asia, Africa, and Europa.[2]


Source: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/America

The man's name Amerigo is Germanic, said to derive from Gothic Amalrich, literally "work-ruler." The Old English form of the name has come down as surnames Emmerich, Emery, etc. The Italian fem. form merged into Amelia.

Source: https://www.etymonline.com/word/america

Africa (Voodoo Master) ♪ official lyrics

In dark deep jungle I hear the wild drum
My heart beats faster knowing my time's come
The voodoo master waiting for nightfall
Draws signs of magic on my white woman skin

Africa, charms me with her power
Takes my soul on the midnight hour
Africa, dancing till my body burns so hot
Crying to the voodoo god - Africa

I am dancing bare foot under a red sun
My sense is high to feel like emotion
Gazel or panther - I hear a lion roar
The voodoo goddess fills me with all her force

Africa, charms me with her power
Takes my soul on the midnight hour
Africa, dancing till my body burns so hot
Crying to the voodoo god - Africa

In tribal dwelling I lie in cool shade
From heaven opened falling the sweet rain
From danger hiding between her sharp claws
A shadow is moving bow to the voodoo law

Africa, charms me with her power
Takes my soul crying to the voodoo god - Africa, Africa

In dark deep jungle I hear the wild drum
My heart beats faster knowing my time's come
The voodoo master waiting for nightfall
The signs of magic sacrifice woman

Africa - Africa


"The voodoo goddess fills me with all her force" - a golden verse.

He learns not to learn and reverts to what all men pass by.
Sanmayce
Posted: Friday, September 7, 2018 10:58:56 AM

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Pseudo-random thought crossed my mind:
The seven continents are (from largest in size to smallest): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.

See the pattern a*a, my proposal is to go from Europe/Europa to the beautiful pattern-fitter - AUROPA, kinda has the ring of Aurora, yes, another goddess.

He learns not to learn and reverts to what all men pass by.
Sanmayce
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 3:40:43 AM

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Always I credit the soulful approaches, inhere the way of saying 'America' of Nick Yarris - it is as the Random House Webster and Heritage ... house it - (ə-mĕr′ĭ-kə).

Today, by chance I came across this podcast, the first 9 minutes forced me to buy his two books:



Since this sub-forum is 'Vocabulary', listen what the coolman says:

8:14 "... I began practicing speaking to myself, everyday I learned new words and I taught myself how to correctly articulate that word into a sentence beautifully for my own self in my cell everyday, then I became very very good at writing I began helping other prisoners I became the most dangerous prisoner that they held because I cared about the other men ..."

It is decided, stressed or not, since today I start pronouncing 'America' as Nick does.

He learns not to learn and reverts to what all men pass by.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 3:49:56 AM

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Of course if you remember that John Cabot was bumping into America (and recognising it was not the Indies) before Vespucci came to the same conclusion, you have to go with the Welsh pronounciation for the name - Richard Ap Meryke.
Really should be pronounced with a 'p'. Whistle
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 6:55:19 AM

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No, no, not Welsh, Hebrew!

Quote:
It is a thousand pities that the puny witticisms of a few professional objectors should have the power to prevent, even for a year, the adoption of a name for our country. At present we have, clearly, none. There should be no hesitation about "Appalachia." In the first place, it is distinctive.
"America" is not, and can never be made so. We may legislate as much as we please, and assume for our country whatever name we think right — but to use it will be no name, to any purpose for which a name is needed, unless we can take it away from the regions which employ it at present. South America is "America," and will insist upon remaining so.
Edgar Allan Poe, 1846

Quote:
America is named after "Ha-Macheri" meaning literally the Sons of Machir who was the first born son of Menasseh.
Machir was the first-born son of Manasseh son of Joseph (Genesis 50:23, Numbers 26:29, Numbers 32:39-40, Numbers 36:1, Judges 5:40, 1-Chronicles 7:14, etc).
Machir was the forefather of the Gileadites (1-Chronicles 2:21).
"Machir (Ha-Machiri) was referred to as Al Makhiri, and as 'Aimerico', and 'Aimericus'." Arthur J. ZUCKERMAN, "A Jewish Princedom in Feudal France, 768-900"
Zuckerman describes how Machir ("Aimericus") became a legend whose name was celebrated in the ballads of Southern France and neighboring regions.
In Hebrew his name was Machir. He was also referred to in Hebrew as "Ha-Machiri". In Biblical Hebrew "Ha-Machiri" means "men of Machir" or "pertaining (in the plural) to Machir".
Yair Davidiy, Jerusalem

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Sanmayce
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 7:03:53 AM

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thar wrote:
Of course if you remember that John Cabot was bumping into America (and recognising it was not the Indies) before Vespucci came to the same conclusion, you have to go with the Welsh pronounciation for the name - Richard Ap Meryke.
Really should be pronounced with a 'p'. Whistle


Thanks, didn't know that funfact.

https://www.history.com/topics/exploration/john-cabot
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Amerike

Did you know? John Cabot's landing in 1497 is generally thought to be the first European encounter with the North American continent since Leif Eriksson and the Vikings explored the area they called Vinland in the 11th century.

Vinland, hm, should thus be named a strong beverage to honor the frozen/soaked bones of those vikings. There is a vodka Finlandia, the closest counterpart would be Vinlandia, but Vikingia/Vikingaria sound stronger.

He learns not to learn and reverts to what all men pass by.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 2:03:43 PM

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Well it took the Vikings a short while to get to mainland America - but from the first time they sailed into Reykjavík they became Americans...



;)

Any ethic Icelander is related to the first European born in mainland America, because he came home to the family farm and had children! The idea that Columbus or Cabot was sailing off into the unknown is a bit funny when you think if you had asked the right people they could have told you stories about their ancestors a few hundred years ago. The difference was the Vikings were traders. They were not running away from anything - they already had that in Iceland away from European control. They were not desperate for land - they just wanted to trade, and even before the Little Ice Age made Greenland a little less green it was quite a hassle for minimal profit. Given the choice between dealing with unfriendly natives in Canada or having a good time in Byzantium or Baghdad, vineyards in France, beaches in Sicily..... Be honest - where would you go?
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