Visage

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gronk64
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Visage

Postby gronk64 » Tue Apr 25, 2023 2:09 pm

Can visage, in French, be pronounced as vih-SÄHZH?
The "i" in vih sounds like the "i" in igloo.
I know the French pronounce it as vee-ZÄHZH, but I've also heard it pronounced as vih-SÄHZH, with an "i" and an "s." And the American pronunciation VIZ-ij is too bland for my liking.

Has anybody ever heard it pronounced as vih-SÄHZH, and is it an acceptable variant of pronunciation?

Many thanks.

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Dr. Goodword
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Re: Visage

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Apr 25, 2023 7:21 pm

According to the Oxford English DIctionary this word entered English in the 14th century, that means it has been in the English language long enough to have lost its French pronunciation.

All dictionaries list it as VIsage; accent on the initial syllble.

Do you want to recommend it as a Good Word? I notice we haven't done it yet.

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Slava
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Re: Visage

Postby Slava » Wed Apr 26, 2023 6:47 am

I can't honestly say I've ever heard it pronounced, in any way. However, I've always used the Frenchish vih-Zahzh. To make it an 's' sound would require two 's's for me: i.e. vissage.

My Century Dictionary doesn't even mention the French pronunciation, though, so I guess I've been wrong all along. I probably won't change it if I use it, though.
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gronk64
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Re: Visage

Postby gronk64 » Sat Jun 03, 2023 12:20 pm


David Myer
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Re: Visage

Postby David Myer » Sun Nov 26, 2023 9:02 pm

Well, lor lummee me! I had never come across Glosbe. I listened carefully to Gronk64's audio clips and really, I do find it vaguely insulting to have a computer generated voice telling me how to pronounce things. Interesting that each of these clips has a slightly different way of saying Visage. But in my view, any French-style lengthening of the a in English is surely a touch pretentious - especially, as the Good Dr explains, the word was adopted in to English in the 14th century.

Incidentally, isn't it interesting that when talking of French towns, we regard people who pronounce the town Nice as Nyce as being rather vulgar and certainly uneducated. The word is as in niece. But anyone who calls it Paree instead of Paris is regarded as pretentious, effete and also uneducated. I think the moral of the story is that we should not take pronounciation very seriously.

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Slava
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Re: Visage

Postby Slava » Sun Nov 26, 2023 9:19 pm

Some pronunciations are very important, though.

PisAt' and PIsat' may look the same in Russian, but they mean wildly different things, to write and to pee, to be specific.

Or zamOk v zAmok = lock/castle; uZHE/Uzhe = already/narrower.
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Re: Visage

Postby David Myer » Sun Nov 26, 2023 9:47 pm

Well, Slava, and I thought English was hard enough.

bbeeton
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Re: Visage

Postby bbeeton » Fri Dec 01, 2023 10:38 am

Similarly in Greek -- stress on a different syllable gives a change in meaning:

τραπέζα -- table (inflected form)
τράπεζα -- bank

Never mind tonal languages like Mandarin. It's quite possible to tell a comprehensible story (provided you're fluent in Mandarin) using only one syllable with different tones; I've heard it done. (I doubt I'll ever be able either to match or replicate that performance, much less understand the story.)

Regarding Russian, when I was an undergraduate, the chair of the physics department was about to present a paper at a conference in Russia. His written Russian was fluent, but he lacked verbal niceties. So he handed his manuscript over to a native Russian to be marked up with the proper stresses, to avoid making unforgivable blunders when he presented the talk.

Even in English, there are times when it's not a bad idea to pay attention at least to tone of voice, as when a mother is telling a teenager to clean up his/her room.

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Re: Visage

Postby bnjtokyo » Sat Dec 23, 2023 10:07 pm

bbeeton, you might find this tongue twister from Japanese amusing
庭には鶏二羽います。
In Romanized Japanese
niwa niwa niwatori niwa imasu
The gloss for the first niwa (庭) is "garden" (tone high-low, tiny pause)
The next niwa is the locative particle and the topic marker (には)(tone flat, slightly longer pause) (NB: は would normally be Romanized as "ha" but when used as the topic marker it is pronounced "wa" -- It's one of those things you just have know)
The next niwa is the first half of niwatori (鶏) "chicken" (tori is "bird") (tone high-high-low-low, no change in tempo then a tiny pause before the next bit)
Next is ni (二) the number 2 and wa (羽) is the counter for birds (and, idiomatically, rabbits) (flat tone, even tempo)
Finally we have imasu (います) the normal polite verb for existence used with animate subjects
Translation:
There are two chickens in the garden.

bbeeton
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Re: Visage

Postby bbeeton » Sun Dec 24, 2023 5:38 pm

bnjtokyo -- Indeed I do find your Japanese tongue twister fascinating. I didn't know that Japanese was tonal, although I did know that multiple characters have the same vocalization. (The number of distinct syllables can be inferred by the number of kana; far fewer than the number of kanji.) Thank you for the explication!


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