Some of my newly acquired acquaintances are really quite quaint. They all have a unique way of pronouncing plural words in English. They use ‘s’ instead of ‘z’ at the end.
For example, “Your ice are very red today” .. My what?
“Give me the kiss please” or “I hope you didn’t forget to bring the kiss”
Thankfully, this strangeness is only reserved for plurals. The “please” is still pronounced with “z” at the end.
Then there are are some sounds that they can pronounce that I simply can’t. Such as the ‘zh’ in Kozhikode. I pronounce it like the ‘Ɣ’ in Marathi “kEƔa” (banana) or “bAƔA” (child). But apparently it’s something between my ‘Ɣ’ and ‘d’ and ‘l’. I have tried to make those sounds but I really don’t know where to start since I can’t hear any difference between what I say and what they say. (Even french pronunciation was much easier!)
My misery doesn’t end there, yet. Their intonation, accents are all different. “Origin” is pronounced like “Arjun”. “Does the bag come with wheels” sounds like “Does the bag come widheels”. To make matters more interesting, that last sentence was heard on an STD call, and the speaker was in a running auto-rickshaw.
But after reading about Tonal Languages, I think I am much better off than say a newly married Cantonese man. From wikipedia,
In the most familiar tonal language, Chinese, tones are distinguished by their shape (contour), most syllables carry their own tone, words tend to be short, and many words are differentiated solely by tone. (This is more true in Cantonese than Mandarin.) Tone also plays almost no grammatical role. In many African tone languages, such as most Bantu languages, however, tones are distinguished by their relative level, words are longer, there are fewer minimal tone pairs, and a single tone may be carried by the entire word, rather than a different tone on each syllable. Often grammatical information, such as past versus present, “I” versus “you”, or positive versus negative, is conveyed solely by tone.
Imagine speaking in a language in which the meaning of the word changes, sometimes diametrically, based on what “pitch” you say it in! I think there’s one big disadvantage. You wouldn’t be able to lie easily.
“That dinner you cooked was simply terrific”.
“oh really? huh! Then why did I hear an augmented C minor chord there?”