2010-12-18

How to be Alien

This involves your forename or forenames only. Just take it apart and put it back together again, with the letters in the same order - although you may add single quotes, accents or hyphens if you wish. Take into account the actual spelling - this is handy in English names where spelling often bears little consistent relationship with pronunciation. Consider alternate, especially 'foreign', ways of pronouncing the various vowels or consonants. Then practice saying it out loud with exaggerated emphasis on consonants verging on the pretentious. If your forename has more than one syllable, experiment with shifting the stress onto other syllables.
My forename, Paul, for example, might be pronounced Pa ool, with a dramatic unaspirated P followed by an almost unnoticeable 'a' with stress on the 'oo'. It would still be written essentially the same way as before, in accordance with the rules, as - for example - Pa'ûl (I'll give myself a circumflex, why not).
Thus am I become alien.
My sister's name could be pronounced Jar neigh stressed on the second syllable - and might be correspondingly written as Ja-né. Try Sa rach, again with a clipped first vowel and strong stress on the final syllable with the concluding Scottish or German ch, and maybe spell it straight, as Sarah. Then there's the trisyllabic Sheh eela (the h is there only to get you to pronounce the 'eh' quickly as in yet) with the stress on the 'ee' - and really give the 'l' a good bit of tongue - written as She'ila.
We need some more chaps. We can do A lawn, short 'a' for the first syllable and the long stressed second syllable, A'lan. And then Rrowe been, this time with stress on the first syllable with a rolled 'r' and a long 'owe', and spell it R'o-bin.
If there's one thing I'd hope you'd take away from all of this it's that this is all to do with speech. It could be on the radio. You don't even have to paint yourself blue.