arcana imperii :: the book of j


say what?!

go ahead, say: seventy-seven seasick sailors were nursed by seven fair nurses. nothing to it... but try, sjuttiosju sjösjuka sjömän sköttes av sju sköna sjuksköterskor... aha! see, the problem is that the sj's and sk's involve pronouncing a voiceless palatal-velar fricative (also voiceless dorso-palatal velar fricative, voiceless postalveolar and velar fricative, voiceless co-articulated velar and palatoalveolar fricative) which for non-native swedish speakers presents a bit of a prob, especially since the swedes themselves pronounce it differently, according to dialect and even social class.

listening repeatedly to the soundtrack of various films and to swedish pop songs as well as my language tapes it sounds to me like an "sh" sound followed by an "h" (as in hat) and a "w" then whatever vowel comes after the sj/sk... but not quite and not always.

maybe it's time to try mandarin and/or arabic...