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Can you think of any words in which 'ph' is pronounced 'v'?

(33 Posts)
RacingSnake Fri 05-Feb-10 22:10:15

Just sitting here with DH watching Kingdom (obviously not enough work to do) when he asked why 'ph' is pronounced 'v' in 'Stephen'. I couldn't think of any other examples, nor explain why this one is so. Any ideas?

TulipsInTheRain Fri 05-Feb-10 22:13:34

how utterly weird... i was thinking the same thing today for some reason... no idea why as i don't even know any stephen!

it is weird as it's an anglicised version of stefan isn't it so if anything it should be a soft sound, not s harsh v sound

TulipsInTheRain Fri 05-Feb-10 22:14:34

oop... i'm going to be in the naughty section of pedants' corner for failing to preview that post blushwink

RacingSnake Fri 05-Feb-10 22:16:03

And that is exactly what we thought, too. All the other languages we could think of use the soft 'f' sound.

Not suprised you were thinking it in spite of knowing no Stephens - S.Fry can be ubiquitous.

BelleDameSansMerci Fri 05-Feb-10 22:16:18

No grin

Cyb Fri 05-Feb-10 22:18:02

Can I trouble the pedants with a question?

is it

'I was sat next to the tree'


'I was sitting next to the tree'

I know some DOLTS say 'I was sat sitting' but we won't bother with that

onebatmother Fri 05-Feb-10 22:19:38

is latter
parst partissiple and that

RacingSnake Fri 05-Feb-10 22:20:17

I think your first option would suggest that someone else had placed you in a sitting position next to the tree.

Cyb Fri 05-Feb-10 22:21:02

why does EVERYONE say 'sat' then?

I started to doubt myself

onebatmother Fri 05-Feb-10 22:21:31

lots of regional accents pron. 'nephew' as 'neview'..

MaryBS Fri 05-Feb-10 22:21:43

phial pronounced vile?

RacingSnake Fri 05-Feb-10 22:24:39

Cyb, because they are WRONG!!!! <Voice rises to a scream.>

Hadn't thought of phial.

shonaspurtle Fri 05-Feb-10 22:25:37

The f sound and the v sound are actually very close.

Your mouth is basically making the same shape (labial dental fricative I think) but v is "voiced" ie your vocal chords vibrate.

That was a shite explanation, but I suspect it was just a gradual or local difference in pronunciation that stuck for some reason in English speaking regions.

TulipsInTheRain Fri 05-Feb-10 22:30:14

shona... dp now thinks i've completely lost it as i sat here making fff and vvvv sounds at the pc screen

(and you're dead right too... they are the same. you learn something new everyday grin)

RacingSnake Fri 05-Feb-10 22:30:43

That's true. You teach that in phonics.

Mistymoo Fri 05-Feb-10 22:34:19

Should that be vonics?

ShrinkingViolet Fri 05-Feb-10 22:35:09

I say fial not vial for phial - is that wrong then? Or is it just English (mutters about the weird pronunciations down here and extra Rs in words and stuff, not proper like what it is back home blah blah blah wink)

shonaspurtle Fri 05-Feb-10 22:35:18

p and b, t and d, s and z, k and g are the same.

Ah memories of making a complete tit of myself in the library as I tried to do my phonetics coursework grin

TulipsInTheRain Fri 05-Feb-10 22:38:19

facinating how we use the sounds without paying the blidest bit of notice to how we make them isn't it?

i had the same realisation this week at the SALT with ds2 when she was tellinmg me to focus on visual sounds and she actually had to demonstrate a few for me to realise which ones she meant blush

onebatmother Fri 05-Feb-10 22:46:30


we have neview (reg.)
and phial (mebbe)

any more for any more?

TulipsInTheRain Fri 05-Feb-10 22:56:28

isn't google fabulous?

"The original name was Greek "Stephanos", borrowed into other European languages as "Stephan" or "Stephen"

"ph" was an ancient Greek way of indicating the "f" sound

(The Greeks came up with this method of combining two letters to indicate one sound [called a "digraph"] for situations where the Phoenecian alphabet they had borrowed their letters from didn't have a letter to suit their needs. This is the source of a whole group of these -- ch, sh, th, ph. The Greeks LATER invented separate letters instead -- chi (looks like X), theta and phi. But the LATIN alphabet was based on an OLD Greek alphabet, and they ended up continuing the digraph practice. In the case of the f-sound, they actually had their own letter (and ours) F, but whenever they borrowed a word from Greek they would use "ph" to indicate the sound. English continued this practice; many Romance languages simply shifted to "f" -- hence English "telephone" [from Greek roots] is "telefon" in Spanish.)

Now in English, over time, the NAME "Stephen" changed pronunciation a bit so that the "ph" sound was "voiced" (I think because of the the change in the VOWEL sounds to two long e sounds)-- changing from /f/ to /v/. But it is common with NAMES to retain traditional spellings even when pronunciation changes. Thus "Stephen" continued to be the normal spelling, and many still use it today.

Alongside this though (as with many other names) OTHER folks decided to change the spelling to better reflect the pronunciation. Thus the more 'modern' spelling "Steven"

Note that there are LOTS of reasons for 'new' spellings of names. Some are just to be different. But in THIS case there was a very logical reason for it in the way we actually pronounce the letters."

LeninGrad Fri 05-Feb-10 22:57:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

onebatmother Fri 05-Feb-10 23:02:41

bad lenin

LeninGrad Fri 05-Feb-10 23:12:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bruceb Sun 07-Feb-10 15:43:30

At the risk of being pedantic....I'm not sure the phrase "I was sitting" IS the past participle.

'Gone' is the past participle in the phrase "I have gone"...?

"I was sitting" is the continuous past or something....

If only I'd listened more carefully in English.

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