clown, brownie, etc

clamor

Senior Member
French - France
Hello :)
How is -ow- pronounced in English loans in your language(s)?

For instance, while it stands in English for /aʊ/ in these examples, in French (of France) we prononce these words with /u/ :

Clown is /klun/ while clone "clone" is /klon/.
Brownie is /bʁuni/ or, less commonly, /bʁoni/.
While in the cartoon they say /mogli/, Mowglie is pronounced /mugli/.

I'd be interested to know how they are pronounced when borrowed into other languages (or in other dialects of French).
 
  • Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    I must say that I recall hearing /bʁuni/ for the little cake when I was teaching Welsh and English in Ile de France 1997-2001 from native French speakers, even when speaking French, e.g. /ʒɛm dɛ: bʁunis/*. It could be of course that they were so pronouncing in order to avoid 'an English accent' and to make my job more difficult! :)

    /au/ in English borrowings in Welsh, is written as <ow>: 'brown', 'clown'. The pronunciation in Welsh is however, /ᴐu/. This diphthong also occurs in native words, as in, 'rhown' (let us give), 'down' (we will come), and is again /ᴐu/.

    *Please note: My phonology of French may be imperfect, forgive me. Go by what I said in normal prose not the IPA, if I'm wrong.
     
    Hello :)
    How is -ow- pronounced in English loans in your language(s)?

    For instance, while it stands in English for /aʊ/ in these examples, in French (of France) we prononce these words with /u/ :

    Clown is /klun/ while clone "clone" is /klon/.
    Brownie is /bʁuni/ or, less commonly, /bʁoni/.
    While in the cartoon they say /mogli/, Mowglie is pronounced /mugli/.

    I'd be interested to know how they are pronounced when borrowed into other languages (or in other dialects of French).
    In Greek it's /au̯/ or /ou̯/:
    «Κλόουν» [ˈklo̞͜un] (masc. indecl.)
    «Μπράουνι» [ˈbra͜uni] (neut. indecl.), althouɡh it's rarely used.
    Kipling's Mowgli is «Μόγλης» [ˈmo̞ɣlis̠] (masc.) in the Greek translation, so, no diphthonɡ.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Rus. клоун ['kɫɔ.ʊn] (an old and, apparently, chiefly orthographical loan)
    Rus. брауни ['bɾa.ʊnʲɪ] (a recent regular loan which most people may be even unaware of)
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Spain: /au̯/

    Unlike other foreign accents, diphthongs aren't monophthongized when adapting Anglicisms.
    It might be a personal impression, but I'd say that /au/, /o/ and /ou/ are all possible outcomes, maybe the first being more natural in younger generations.

    I've heard both brauni and bro(u)ni, and claun and cloun (less, because we don't use this anglicism that much). But I've only heard Mogli, probably because it's an old character.

    I've heard both in música co(u)ntri vs música cauntri (despite the latter being a mistake English learners usually commit). But I've only heard cauboy, although I guess some older people may say coubói (when they didn't use vaquero, of course).

    In the case of newer things, since they're mostly said by young people, it tends to be /au/. I mean things like wow, outfit, flower power, and the like.

    Those in which ow is /ou/ seem to be always /o/, though. Like un bol. (Or un gol, despite the different spelling in English)
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    Well it's all a mess, but I agree brownie is often pronounced /brouni/, especially by people who don't speak English (and who rarely use this word anyway). /o/ is not so common though.

    Those in which ow is /ou/ seem to be always /o/, though.
    Bol is a very old Anglicism. As for Mowgli, probably most people have never read it spelled out so they simplify it as /mogli/. But nowadays, I think nobody would skip the w in low cost, for example.

    Unlike other foreign accents, diphthongs aren't monophthongized when adapting Anglicisms.
    I should note this is only a general rule, e.g. in okay is pronounced /okei/, monophthongizing the first vowel, but keeping the second one as a diphthong, unlike French people and (some) Germans who pronounce /oke/.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Regarding cowboys: in Russian they represent the third variant.
    Rus. клоун ['kɫɔ.ʊn]
    Rus. брауни ['bɾa.ʊnʲɪ]
    Rus. ковбой [kɐ'vboɪ̯]
    (another relatively old and chiefly orthographical loan; please note that [ɐ] here is just an unavoidable effect of the Russian phonological rules - orthographically the vowel is "o").
     

    clamor

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Personally I don't, because that's how I and many of my relatives and friends (above the age of 35-40) pronounce it.
    The younger generation has got rid of the nasal, it's closer to a straight /b/

    oh ok, I just found it strange (and hard to pronounce) that the nasal doesn't have the same place of articulation than the following stop.
     

    Yendred

    Senior Member
    Français - France
    I am always amused to hear them pronounce Scouts (Boy Scouts) with the same vowel, which sounds to me like the English word "scoots."
    Yes that's it :thumbsup: We say [skut].
    The thing is we tend to pronounce "ow" /o/ (like we traditionally do with cowboy, show, etc.), and "ou" /u/ (since it is a usual French syllable).
    clown /klun/ is an exception.
     
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    Armas

    Senior Member
    Finnish
    Brownie is pronounced ['brɑuni] in Finnish, the ɑu is a diphthong, and cowboy is pronounced similarly.
    Clown became klovni in Finnish and is pronounced ['kloʋni]. It looks like one of those older loans from English the pronunciation of which was based solely on how it is spelled.
     

    clamor

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Yes that's it :thumbsup: We say [skut].
    The thing is we tend to pronounce "ow" /o/ (like we traditionally do with cowboy, show, etc.), and "ou" /u/ (since it is a usual French syllable).
    clown /klun/ is an exception.
    As we saw on this thread there are several exceptions (clown, Mowgli, bowling...)
     

    Zareza

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Romanian

    for clown -> clovn /klovn/ and clown /'kla.un/
    for Mowglie -> Mowglie /ˈmaʊɡli/
    for country music -> muzică country /'kan.tri/
    for cowboy -> cowboy /'ka͜u.boj/
    for goal -> gol /gol/
    for ok -> ok /o'kej/
    for happy end -> happy-end /'hepi.end/
    for bowling -> bowling /'ba͜u.ling/
    for show -> show /ʃow/
     

    Zareza

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I wondered, too.
    In the Romanian dictionary it is written like this (I translated the dictionary entry):

    happy-end, happy-enduri (noun) - End, happy epilogue of (action) of a dramatic, cinematic work, etc. /'hepi.end/ - from Engl. happy-end[ing]

    There's something wrong with happy end word, isn't there?
     
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    Welsh_Sion

    Senior Member
    Welsh - Northern
    The only construction I know is something like, "the story had a happy ending". (That is, "And they all lived happily ever after.").

    I don't think anything else works and the dictionary may be straying too far from the original English (no hyphen, in any case.)
     

    jucami

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I found another piece of information: happy-end in Romanian is not taken directly from English, but through French. :eek:
    Indeed, a film by this name (set in France) came out a few years ago. As an English speaker, for whom the expression is definitely "happy ending," the title made me cringe...! But given how horribly we butcher many Gallicisms in English, I suppose it's only fair.
     
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    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Isn't клоун, [ˈkɫɔ͜ʊn] instead of ['kɫɔ.ʊn]? Isn't /ou̯/ a diphthonɡ?
    Russian doesn't have real diphthongs. In particular, while vocalic combinations in Russian aren't phonetically separated by glottal stops or something like that, phonologically they still represent sequences of vowel phonemes, which is reflected, for instance, in sillabification (klo-un, bra-u-nʲi, etc.). Of course, that difference is largely non-phonetic (the number of syllables in ordinary speech isn't something you can always objectively measure), but still.
     
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