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Explanation for weird spelling/pronunciation in English - the Great Vowel Shift

Wow, two references to George Bernard Shaw in one thread on a Cajun Accordion website!

Anyway, for those of us that have pondered the oddities of the pronunciation in the English language, there actually is a sensible explanation of part of it. It is called the Great Vowel Shift (GVS). It turns out that the sound of the English language underwent a huge change in the 1500's and beyond. Nobody really knows why it happened, but that is when the English pronunciation of vowels departed from what had previously been similar to the other European languages. Unfortunately, the standardization of English spelling was taking place at approximately the same time, so that the end result is that words whose spelling made sense prior to the GVS no longer were pronounced the same.

The web site given above has some recorded examples that show the GVS "in action". Go to the page called Dialog, and you can hear a conversation between two people portrayed as it would have sounded at different stages of the GVS. I find this to be very fascinating.

Of course another thing that complicates English pronunciation is the importation of words from other languages which retain their foreign pronunciation AND spelling. In the end, it means that in English you more or less have to expect that each and every word has the potential of being a special case or exception to the normal pronunciation rules.


Re: Explanation for weird spelling/pronunciation in English - the Great Vowel Shift

Very interesting site.

(Just a little personal remark about today's American pronunciation of English. To a foreigner it is rather easy to follow because it lets you hear all the syllables clearly. Which makes the words esier to recognize. Besides, the more nasal vowels make the sounds more contrasted and distinct. Well, my impression !).


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Those are hilarious stories!

Oh yes, of course I remember, but that was another subject. The argument did not prove convincing enough

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Those are hilarious stories!

Nope, arguments with some people create harder heads, a known scientific fact.

Re: Re: Re: Galette?

"...crepes for breakfast..."

I've heard "galette" used to refer to _savory_ filled crepes. Savory, indeed!

Also, I think it can be used for some other baked goods.

Re: Re: Galette? Cocotte ? Tchwanette ?

Mr Mayor sings this naughty song for ya all :

J'aime la galette (repeat twice)
J'aime la galette la nuit et l'jour
J'aime la galette (repeat twice)
J'aime la galette et nos amours

J'aime la cocotte

J'aime la tchwanette

Signed : Carotte LeBlanc
secretary, Bayou Pon Pon

Post scriptum : "la bouillie, la peau de lapin" (in "T'en as eu, t'en auras plus") has of course a double meaning too

Re: Galette?

Ca c'est gros galette!

Galette, caouen - Hilarious!

That is so funny!
In Canada, "une galette" can be a "cookie", or a crêpe like "une crêpe de sarazin" (buck wheat pan cake).
I didn't know the definition of a galette in LA!

New Caouanne SOng

Just a bit of gossip...I hear Kevin Naquin is recording a song called "Joue pas avec ma caouanne." This comes on the heels of Cajun Country latest novelty song "The Vibrator." Don't shoot the messenger.

Re: New Caouanne SOng

i think the vibrator song is pretty cool...catchy lil tune.......i see he plays an accordion with 6 stops, so does wayne toups...what kind is that?

here is travis's video from his webpage...


the Stops and using them...

I did not watch the video but I know that Falcon makes two accordions with more than four stops. Falcon makes a 6 stop "dual pitch melodeon" You put three stops up for one key accordion (like a Key of C Accordion) and push those down and pull the other three up for another key accordion (like a "D" accordion) Falcon also makes a 5 stop that has an extra set of middle reeds tuned wet(usually sharp a number of cents). His idea was that when you want the wet sound all stops would be up; when you want the dry sound, you still have four tuned dry. I am not really sure that you need five banks of reeds to do that, however.

My accordions (four stops) are tuned wet, but I play most tunes with the wet row down (stopped, in other words, silent.) To me, it seems a bit of a waste to have two medium rows tuned exactly in tune...I don't think there is that much difference in three rows HML and four row HMML except for a slightly brighter sound and a bit more volume...but you don't get the advantage or more variety in your sound like you do when you tune one row wet.

I use the two middle stops together and stop the H and L rows and it makes a great sweet singing tone like a echo harmonica or small three row box. (I use this on tex mex stuff and in "american" songs) When I want the dry Cajun sound I put the HML up and when I want a wet Cajun sound I put them all up. If I am trying to copy the sound of a Zydeco 3 row box I might put the H row off. Anyway, you get a lot more variety in tone with one row tuned wet...if you don't want the wet sound, just push that stop down.

I don't think we Cajun's have been nearly as creative as possible when it comes to tone and variety in sound...I wish more people would feel free enough to experiment with things like this and not be afraid of "what will other people think?"

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

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