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pherank

Greek words for Ballet, Ballerina

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This question doesn't really belong in any particular forum category, but if there are any Greek speakers/writers on the forum, I would be interested to know why these two words are spelled and pronounced the way that they are:

μπαλέτο
μπαλαρίνα

Why do the words begin with mu [μ] followed by pi [π]?
It is my understanding that these are Greek translations(?) of the Italian terms balletto, balerin - is that true? Thanks for any help.

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1 hour ago, pherank said:

This question doesn't really belong in any particular forum category, but if there are any Greek speakers/writers on the forum, I would be interested to know why these two words are spelled and pronounced the way that they are:

μπαλέτο
μπαλαρίνα

Why do the words begin with mu [μ] followed by pi [π]?
It is my understanding that these are Greek translations(?) of the Italian terms balletto, balerin - is that true? Thanks for any help.

There are a lot of nifty web sites that let you hear proper pronunciation of foreign languages. Start with Google: Greek pronunciation

I like this one: https://forvo.com/languages/el/

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Posted (edited)

Because in modern Greek the letter β (beta) is pronounced like V, not B. In order to represent the sound B, the letter combination μπ is used. 

Likewise, the letter δ (delta) is now pronounced like a voiced TH. In order to represent a D sound, the letter combination ντ is used.

And since γ (gamma) is almost never pronounced like a hard G, the letter combination γκ is used in foreign borrowings.

Edited by volcanohunter

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3 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

Because in modern Greek the letter β (beta) is pronounced like V, not B. In order to represent the sound B, the letter combination μπ is used. 

Likewise, the letter δ (delta) is now pronounced like a voiced TH. In order to represent a D sound, the letter combination ντ is used.

And since γ (gamma) is almost never pronounced like a hard G, the letter combination γκ is used in foreign borrowings.

Thank you!
Do you know anything about the reasoning behind choosing μπ for "b" (or ντ for "d")?

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Here I'm on thin ice because I studied the historical phonology of the Slavic languages, not Greek, but probably because P is the voiceless counterpart of B, and T is the voiceless counterpart of D. 

But my favorite spelling that resulted from these shifts is Μπαρμπάντος (Mparmpantos = Barbados). 

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1 hour ago, volcanohunter said:

Here I'm on thin ice because I studied the historical phonology of the Slavic languages, not Greek, but probably because P is the voiceless counterpart of B, and T is the voiceless counterpart of D. 

But my favorite spelling that resulted from these shifts is Μπαρμπάντος (Mparmpantos = Barbados). 

That melts my adult brain.  ;)
Oh to be a child and just sponge up language without trying to reason my way through it.

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Oh, I know! But from the point of view of how those consonants are produced, the combinations make sense: the lips striking against each other in the case of b, p and m, and the tongue touching the alveolar ridge in the case of d, t and n.

IPA-chart.jpg

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Quote by pherank: "Oh to be a child and just sponge up language without trying to reason my way through it." 

Oh, my, yes! 

It appears that Greek has quite a phonetically logical pronunciation; especially compared to English.  😛

 

-d-

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Posted (edited)
On 6/19/2020 at 9:35 PM, volcanohunter said:

Oh, I know! But from the point of view of how those consonants are produced, the combinations make sense: the lips striking against each other in the case of b, p and m, and the tongue touching the alveolar ridge in the case of d, t and n.

IPA-chart.jpg

Thanks for this, Volcanohunter. I can see what you mean about the phonetic logic of these choices.

 

10 hours ago, diane said:

Quote by pherank: "Oh to be a child and just sponge up language without trying to reason my way through it." 

Oh, my, yes! 

It appears that Greek has quite a phonetically logical pronunciation; especially compared to English.  😛

Hi Diane, it's been a while!
The English language is such an amalgamation, and it may continue to morph at a fantastic rate due to its widespread use. At least it's musical as languages go (and I like anything musical!).
But definitely difficult to master even for us native speakers.

EDIT:

I just recalled a joke by a comedian (which one I've forgotten) -

The French language is developed by a council known as les immortels at the Académie Française. American English is developed by junior high school students.

Edited by pherank

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Yeah, pherank, it has been awhile. :) I am still here.... just getting more wrinkled and greyer. 

It is indeed very interesting how different cultures (try to) control how their languages grow and evolve. The German-speakers also seem to be very keen on keeping things orderly, though perhaps not quite to the extent the French council tries to do. 

(I did live in Greece for a few years quite some time ago, but I did not ever hear if they had such a council to decide about how to develop the language...) 

-d-

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On 7/6/2020 at 5:20 AM, diane said:

Yeah, pherank, it has been awhile. :) I am still here.... just getting more wrinkled and greyer.

I know all about that, and it's cramping my style! Definitely a design flaw in the machine. Too bad the warranty has expired.  😉

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