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Topic: Which Polynomial?
Replies: 28   Last Post: Jul 27, 2006 3:13 PM

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Posts: 1,838
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Which Polynomial?
Posted: Jul 30, 2005 3:51 PM
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On Jul 30, 2005, at 1:03 PM, Pam wrote:

> Perhaps even "fee" isn't quite the correct ancient pronunciation for
> phi.

It is more than likely that the ancient pronunciation (even if known)
is inaccessible to the average English-speaking tongue (if not
ear)--just as both of our "th" sounds are inaccessible to the average
French-speaking tongue, while their "u" sound is inaccessible to the
average English-speaking tongue. In these circumstances, I'm very much
in favor of using the nearest approximation that English provides, and
letting it go at that. I'm even willing to extend this convention to
moving accented syllables around: Thus, to an English speaker,
"Cauchy" becomes "KO-she" in place of the French "ko-SHEE" (and even
that's an approximation--the French sounds are subtly different from
the English sounds).

As to hearing, I, for one, have been immune since I was a young adult
to the differences between the sounds of the hard and soft versions of
certain Russian consonants. I simply could not hear any differences,
no matter how many times the sounds were repeated for me. I imagine my
spoken Russian was always a horror to a native speaker--even more than
its utter lack of correct grammar would have supported. (Not any
more--it no longer exists...)

--Lou Talman
Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Metropolitan State College of Denver


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