Thursday, May 30, 2013

Capo and pronunciation

The word, capo, if you're an Italian, is pronounced (roughly) - car-po (though without any sound of the letter 'r').  It means the head, and of course we get our word, cap, from it.  Which is pronounced like tap.  But when a musician takes hold of an excellent capo, (or even one that's not so hot), a capo that he's brought from a reputable shop (or even one that's not), he pronounces the word, Kay-po, as in the person's name. Well, he does in New Zealand anyway.  Or she does, if she's a female from the same country.

I doubt that most Italians would recognise the word, and it's curious that it gets such different pronunciations.  In case you're reading this and you don't know what a capo is, it's a device like a highly intricate clothes peg that gets hooked over the strings of a guitar or other similar instrument in order to save the player having to figure out how to play something in a different key.  Instead, the capo does the job for him, and the player just plays as if he was playing in the original key.  You're still with me, aren't you?  It's explained better here.

Talking of pronunciation, my wife and I have been continuing to learn Arabic.  We've just struck the section on verbs - not the easy verbs we were using when we started the course, which we've got familiar with - but present, past and future tense verbs.  These are like thickets of sounds that have various things stuck on the front or the back, and then more things stuck on in front of the ones stuck on the front already, and then other ones replacing the ones we stuck on the front last time.  And each time we stick one on, it changes the general sound of the original word.  Oh, how I love English.  In some areas, it is so easy.

I'm sure Arabic is easy - in some areas.  We've found some of them.  At the moment we're not finding them....


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