November 18, 2016

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Is this audio correct?


No. It's like the English "bow", but with the middle vowel being an /o/ (as in "or").


No the sound is not right, hehe, we assume that someone „repaired” the TTS bot to say „beau” (i drink) correctly... (before it was saying „bo” as in French) and now ”bou” is ”be-ou” :P


What is the correct pronunciation of "beau"?


In Romanian we read/pronounce all letters (like in German), and each letter makes a sound, always the same sound, with very few exceptions. That is why there is no concept of "spelling" in Romanian, we read/pronounce as we write. So, you have to say "be" as in English "bet" (and not as in "to be") and "a" and then "u" as in "auto". Then put all in a single syllable, without pronouncing any "o", there is no "o" written there. B-e-a-u. Beau. You can go to ivona.com, select carmen (romanian tts) and type "tu bei, el bea, noi bem, eu beau", etc., click on Play (you will need Adobe Flash running in your browser, but if you are anti-flash, there are few tts around that do not need it). There the pronunciation is almost right (a little bit too fast, tho).


Thanks! I'm an Italian native speaker, so now it's perfectly clear how to pronunce it.


Is one of those exceptions in words which end in i? That's a pattern I've noticed, but the recordings might be wrong


Well.. not really.. In Romanian we tend to pronounce a "soft vowel" at the end of the syllables, if that vowel is not accentuated (stressed) in speech (and it is most of the time the one-before-last syllable which is stressed, therefore most of the words which end in "i" will have this "soft i" at the end). Russian for examples, has a special letter for it, the "soft i" (it looks like a small "b" with a pony-tail to the left in their writing). This has the effect that is palatalizing the previous consonant. But the "i" (or any vowel) is still pronounced, however in a "soft" way. In Romanian there are strict rules to split words in syllables, which splits the vowels in convenient (easy to pronounce) ways, therefore the phenomenon appears only/mostly at the end of the words. When it appears after a consonant, at the end of the words, as in plurals of nouns and adjectives, it has the effect that the former consonant is palatalized.

For example: bă-iat, bă-ieți, cas-tra-ve-te, cas-tra-veți, i-de-o-lo-gic, i-de-o-lo-gici (grrrr... I was searching for this, looking for a 'gici' termination which is not profane, haha), vul-pe, vulpi (single syllable).

Where the phenomenon does NOT appear, is for example the infinitives of verbs, and future tense. Same as in Spanish and other romance languages, Romanian stresses the ending of the verbs as a mark of future tense. Here the 'i' became full vowel, due to the stress on it, and it is entitled to its own syllable. Example: voi vor-biți acum dar nu veți vor-bi mâine (you speak now but will not speak tomorrow, remark there is no hyphen, I use a dash to show how they split in syllables) - note the vor-biți, veți (single syllable), but vor-bi. The verb is „a vorbi” too (vor-bi). All verbs in this category behave the same, they have stand-alone, stressed syllable ending in sound, full vocalic 'i'.

This is kinda "layman" explanation, I know, but the case is long discussed on Doulingo, there are some discussion threads about it. Unfortunately they are difficult to search for, here this site still has to learn...

If you need it in more "linguistic" terms, see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanian_phonology#Palatalized_consonants


Absolutely not!


This word is also a popular insult ("blockhead" according to Google Translate).


The pronunciation is awful!


I agree, this particular audio sounded almost like bitalul which makes no sense at all. I'm assuming from the comments above it's more like bow probably still not right, but I'd wager closer than what I'm hearing.


Isn't bou a bull?


”bou” (ox) is a castrated bull (”taur”)


Thanks a lot, it make sense now.


Do normal romanian people really distinguish between "taur" and "bou"? The words are like "toro" and "bou" in Catalan but to us they are synonyms (at least to most people, maybe specialized people distinguish the terms). We also have the word "brau" btw.

So in catalan if you say "bou", "toro" or "brau" they will be synonyms to most people.


Oh, yes! Some tenths of years ago, when cars were scarce, if you lived in a village and owned a wagon (căruță) it would have been pulled by a pair of horses or a pair of oxen, so they were rather common (Boi de jug). For reproduction purposes the village community would have had a bull (taur comunal). În our days oxen are not so many as they are not needed. Bulls are kept in farms for reproduction. The language, though, uses these words a lot. "Taur" is often used to describe a person with increased sexual appetite and "bou" is a very common insult (see the other comments)


Thanks for the wonderful story Splittongue !


What is an Ox??


It is a bull that has been neutered

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