Saturday 31 December 2011

An informal pronunciation survey

I recently took a quick straw poll among my Facebook friends to see what pronunciations they prefer of some of the Italian words and phrases I have been discussing on my blog. Unfortunately, only 8 people took the trouble to answer my questionnaire – which is a bit sad, I think. Of all the Italian native-speaker teachers I know, only one cared to answer, and of all the students I’ve taught, only one responded in a very enthusiastic way. Thank you all, anyway!

However tiny my sample of respondents might be, I suppose it’s always interesting to analyse what their answers were and speculate on Italian pronunciation trends. So here are my findings (I leave you to judge them in the light of what we’ve been covering so far on this blog):

zoo: 5 out of 8 people said they pronounce this word as dzɔ; 3 went for dzɔo

stage: 5 of my respondents said they pronounce it staʒ; 3, on the contrary, went for steidʒ

report: all my 8 Facebook friends pronounce it with stress on the first syllable: ˈrɛport, -pɔrt (I didn’t ask whether they use an open or a more close vowel in the second syllable.)

management: 4 people said they stress the first syllable, 3 the second – 1 person didn’t answer

performance: 5 respondents went for ˈpɛr-, 3 preferred -ˈfɔr-

decoder: 6 people pronounced it with an open ɔ vowel; only 2 said they prefer the closer variant with o  

internet/Internet: 7 people said they pronounce it with stress on the first syllable; 1 person didn’t answer

the letter ‘j’: 5 people pronounced it dʒɛi; 3 didn’t answer

all(-)inclusive: 3 said they pronounce it with stress on the second syllable of inclusive; 5 with main stress on in-

Of course, as I said, this is just an extremely informal survey which has very little in the way of “scientific validity”, but it does confirm one thing: in Italy people are not particularly interested in phonetic matters! I wish things were different!

Happy New Year!

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