A Question of Accent

18 May

Ok, this might be going to be a bit dry, but have you ever thought about why Lili pronounced “Flynn” as “Fleen”? As 1/4 of a linguist, I became interested in this question, and here's what I found out.

Even though I never heard Lili speak, I believe she did not say “Fleen” directly. You probably know that in your English language, you have got two i-sounds: a short one as used for “Flynn”, written something like this in phonetics: [ı], and a long one, like in “seen”, represented as [i:].

Now in the French language, there is nothing like this – the poor French have only one single i-sound, represented as [i]. Its length is something in the middle of the two English sounds, but supposedly, for English-American ears, it sounds like a long [i:]. That's why Errol probably chose the spelling of “Fleen” to represent Lili's accent.

— Inga


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  1. Anonymous

    May 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Interesting – and I know what you're driving at – but in my own empirical case-study I have arrived at the conclusion that “Fleen” is precisely the way Lili said it – to English, American, French or whatever ears you like. My name is Kevin and all my French friends, even those who speak good English, call me “Keveen” – with the accent on the “veen.” A long drawn-out double “e.” Yrs, KeVEEN

  2. Anonymous

    May 25, 2010 at 7:04 am

    hmm… well, please forgive me for disagreeing, but i think, if we had a linguist here, he would still notice a slight difference between the french and english [i]… they are very close, and for our ears there is maybe no difference, but… not that it would matter in any way, i was just wondering where this spelling originated from. take care, keveeeen :-)

  3. Anonymous

    May 25, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Okay, let's fight.

  4. Anonymous

    May 26, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Dear Keveeen!
    Sorry to say – you lose! I could tell you why? Because Inga is right – and she teaches that dam stuff and I know that much myself having a few languages under my belly and being from across the ocean like Inga where we deal with accents all the time, but you also can have it your way – Inga and I are very bighearted – ha – ha – ha!
    By the way how many languages do you speak? Just for curiosity.
    Take care,
    friendly Tina