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Friday, 11 May 2007

the W()RD

I think I'll start posting the W()RD before each day's graphics from now on, so that when you, the viewer, open the blog you see a picture at the top instead of words.

The W()RD today is tongue-twister.

The Georgians' favourite way of showing off the pronunciatory devilry of their language is to whip out "Baqaqi ts'qalshi qiqinebs" ("The frog in the water is croaking"). In this, the letter q is a guttural choking throaty kind of a thing, and the ts' is like a normal Georgian ts but is a different letter in Georgian. This phrase takes a good while for any non-Semitic-language speaker to master. (Not that Georgian is a Semitic language, but Hebrew and Arabic have at least one sound similar to that q.)

My retaliation has been to come up with tongue-twisters which address specific Georgian difficulties with English pronunciation, especially th and v/w. First I invented "This is very wavy weather", then "I am very wary to vary my way". All you foreign readers in Georgia, copy these two phrases and innocently ask your English-speaking Georgian friends to say them out loud. Then watch the fun - laughing with them, of course, not at them.

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