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Why the “h” in Rhode Island? 
Posted: 13 March 2018 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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The following site has a pronunciation of “Rho” in which I think I hear a slightly forced sound at the start of the word. Is that the rough breathing we are talking about?

I can’t seem to get the file to play, but I presume it’s an attempt (by a Modern Greek speaker) to represent the aspirated ("rough") r of the ancient sound.  It has, of course, zero evidentiary value, but I suppose it will give you an idea of what might be involved.

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Posted: 14 March 2018 10:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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languagehat - 13 March 2018 01:42 PM

The following site has a pronunciation of “Rho” in which I think I hear a slightly forced sound at the start of the word. Is that the rough breathing we are talking about?

I can’t seem to get the file to play, but I presume it’s an attempt (by a Modern Greek speaker) to represent the aspirated ("rough") r of the ancient sound.  It has, of course, zero evidentiary value, but I suppose it will give you an idea of what might be involved.

Yes it does, LH. It really helped me to understand the sound of “Rho” better. I also was surprised that the Greek and Italian pronunciations were so different. I thought they would be closer than they are since the countries are not located that far from each other.

Just a couple of months ago, I read “Empires in the Dust” by Robert Silverberg. The chapters were about the Egyptians, Hittites, Indus Civilization, Phoenicians, Etruscans, and Incas. What I enjoyed most about the book were the stories about the attempts to decipher each empires language. In all cases, it was very difficult. Some took decades to understand. And some are still not completely known. It is a fascinating book, and I’m glad I got to read it (a friend loaned it to me).

In my opinion, language is one of the most precious assets we past on to future generations. I hope we can continue to steer it in the right direction. I don’t want to see the world end up like the folks did in the movie “Idiocracy”: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/

[ Edited: 15 March 2018 05:04 AM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 15 March 2018 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Dave Wilton - 13 March 2018 01:22 PM

Indirectly and not in all cases, and nothing whatsoever to do with the Rh spelling.

Right. I don’t think Logophile was saying that the concept of rhotacism has anything to do with the rh- spelling; it’s simply an rh- word that’s related to linguistics, and that’s why the definition was included in the post. (Of course, I’m just guessing.) I wasn’t familiar with the word, so I found it interesting.

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Posted: 15 March 2018 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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As far as I can tell from a few Dutch googles, ‘Rhood’ was a known variant of Dutch ‘rood’ for English ‘red’ certainly as far back as the late 17th in America. I found a quote with a ‘Rhode’ surname mentioned, for example (link can be supplied).

Must admit that’s where I always presumed it came from without being aware of the similarities to the Greek island.

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Posted: 16 March 2018 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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The word is rhotacism, with an a.

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