How to pronounce Qatar | CNN travel

How to pronounce Qatar |  CNN travel
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(CNN) The beginning of World Cup 2022 in Qatar It will also kick off another intense international sport: Pronouncing “Qatar.”

For speakers of Arabic and similar languages, the name of the host of this year’s World Cup is a no-brainer. However, for English speakers, it’s literally one tricky letter after another. That’s because even the word Qatar is a romanized version of the original Arabic. Qatar , which means that each letter is not exactly what it seems. Let’s try our best to solve it.

How to say ‘Qatar’ like a native speaker

American English speakers often say “kuh-TAR”, with the stress on the second syllable, which sounds like the word “tar”.

British English speakers add an “a” sound more equivalent to “cat” and give the two syllables more weight.

However, the English pronunciations are only approximations of the Arabic pronunciation, which uses a fuller sound for the “q”, a more forceful “t”, and a twist on the final “r”.

“The Arabic word for ‘Qatar’ actually only has three letters: qāf, ṭā and rā,” he explains. These are romanized to q, tyr respectively. And unfortunately, none of them have a close equivalent in English.

  • qaf (ق): “This is one of the most difficult sounds for English speakers to produce,” says Abdulhamid. “To learn this sound, we recommend that students put water in their mouths and use the back of their throats to prevent swallowing. This is how you get that guttural sound.” The resulting sound is between a “g” and a “k” in English.
  • Ta (ط): Abulhamid describes this sound as an English “t” with a fuller tongue. When pronouncing a “t” in English, he will notice that his tongue hits behind his front teeth. “A ta sound is made further back, and your tongue hits the roof of your mouth,” she says.
  • ra (?): This one is a bit easier. “Unlike the letter ‘r’ in English, ‘ra’ does not have a strong vowel sound,” Abdulhamid says. In English, consonants like “r”, “m” and “b” are called voiced consonants because they need to be use the vocal cords to make your sound.(Try it right now. No one is listening!) Consonants like “t” and “p” are voiceless, which means you can only use your mouth and a little bit of air to say them The Arabic “ra” is technically voiced, but it’s much shorter than an English “r” and closer to a short trill, as in the Spanish word “perro. In other words, don’t extract this sound and use your tongue.” .

Where are the vowels? “There are no long vowels in the Arabic word for Qatar,” says Abdulhamid. “Instead of letters, our short vowels are represented by accents.” In a Qatari Arabic pronunciation, the aes are formed further back in the throat, much like an American would pronounce “alone”.

Where stress is? Although, of course, the Arabic language employs both stressed and unstressed consonants, Abdulhamid says that this particular word is stressed equally. “It may seem like there’s stress on the first syllable,” he says, “but that’s because ‘qāf’ is a strong initial sound.”

How does it all sound together? In the International Phonetic Alphabetwhich assigns a character to different universal sounds, the Arabic “Qatar” is pronounced ˈɡɪtˤɑr.

In the translation “Forgive me, I only have a keyboard with letters of the Roman alphabet and I have no idea what IPA is”, the pronunciation would be something like: ghu terh.

How to say it as a non-Arabic speaker going all out

It’s important to learn about one of the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world, but pronouncing a perfectly pronounced “Qatar” can seem a bit out of place at times. In the same way that English speakers tend to approximate other non-English words like “croissant,” there’s a happy middle ground that shows you’ve at least given it some thought.

“If you can get the ra sound, that’s a good start,” says Abdulhamid. “And keep in mind that the initial letter is not a strong ‘k’ sound.”

Also, don’t get too discouraged. All second language speakers have sounds that are difficult to master. Abdulhamid says that Arabic speakers learning English stumble upon the “p” sounds, which often come out as a “b.”

“Second-generation Arabic speakers love to joke with their parents about it,” says Abdulhamid.

Now, once you’ve mastered an informed Qatari pronunciation, you can move on to the next biggest World Cup event: trying to figure out why Americans call it “soccer.”

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