“You have good ears.”
So said my pronunciation professor this morning when I asked one of those questions in class which are really statements with upward inflections at the end, as in: “I don’t hear the ‘dd’ sound pronounced in takk* as in the other words we are practicing?” (Hear my voice getting all high-pitched there at the end?) The idea of a question like this, of course, is to make a statement that you think is true, but hedge in case you are wrong, in which case, you can nod emphatically to whatever contrary answer you receive, as if you knew that the whole time.
But I needn’t have been so dodgy. Because: “That’s right,” my teacher replied. (Whoot!) “When the double ‘tt’ is at the end of a word, you get a bit of the original explosional sound.** You have good ears.”
At which point I averted my eyes and tried to suppress my ear-to-ear grin with a sort of humble ‘aw shucks’ sort of blush, but she’d seen everything, and seemed amused. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way! That’s my first Icelandic-related compliment, and I will take what I can get.
[*Obviously, it doesn’t make any sense on the face of things that a word spelled t-a-k-k would entail a pronunciation involving ds. Should you be interested in an elaboration on this matter, please rest assured that a brief explication will follow in another post soon. If you are intrigued but not so invested in the whys and wherefores of Icelandic pronunciation, you can skip the forthcoming post and just bear in mind what the professor said today while we practiced some of the more perplexing Icelandic pronunciations: “(Shrug) This is Icelandic.”]
[Obviously x2, this ‘explosional sound’ thing sounds awesome and needs to be explained as well. That’ll be in the pronunciation post, too.]