[Scribus] How to pronounce Scribus

John Jason Jordan johnxj
Sat Mar 17 19:33:47 CET 2007

On Sat, 17 Mar 2007 18:28:48 +0100
Maciej Hanski <ma_han2000 at yahoo.de> dijo:

> > Like  Scribe
> > 
> > This is how Franz pronounces it, this is how I pronounce and it's the 
> > *first* thing I mention in a talk before folks here in Europe who 
> > speak English in a 2nd or 3rd language. :-)
> > 
> > Latin correctness or not, hearing "Scree-bus" to my angolphone ears is 
> > painful. :)
> Peter, I can assure you that ['skraibus] is as much painful to my
> non-anglophone ears as ['skri:bus] to yours. As painful as "Ave Ceasar"
>  pronounced as [eiv 'si:zer] by marching Roman soldiers in the old
> "Cleopatra" movie with Richard Burton and Elisabeth Taylor. But the
> beauty of this 2 syllable word of non-English origin is that it sounds
> familiar in almost every European language, and there is really no need
> to define the one and only "proper" pronunciantion.
> Moreover, Scribus has been used for years in many different cultures and
> its pronunciation has been established by local user communities for
> valid reasons. E.g. we've got in Polish this nice, dated word "skryba",
> pronounced [skriba], meaning an ancient writer (just imagine a medieval
> monk, leaning over his manuscript to draw a beautiful initial, and you
> will get the picture), and this is what I first thought of when I read
> Scribus ['skri:bus] for the very first time. I assume I'm not the only
> Polish user who've established this imaginery link, since there have
> been some articles in Polish referring to Scribus as "Linuksowy skryba".
> Now if I said to those users: "Hey, guys you've been wrong for the last
> 5 years, it's ['skraibus]", I would only earn a hearty laugh and this
> wonderful link to our cultural heritage would be gone. So the essence of
> my message is: leave it to the local communities, they know better how
> to assimilate Scribus into their languages. And whether it's ['skraibus]
> or ['skri:bus] we will understand it anyway:)

Why must it have the same pronunciation in all languages? If Polish
speakers want to pronounce it [skribus], that's their affair. In fact,
that's probably how speakers of most European languages would interpret
the pronunciation. But none of that has any bearing on how English
speakers will pronounce it. Everyone knows that English orthography
went into the dumper after the Great Vowel Shift of the 1600s, and has
been there ever since. We're 400 years late for spelling reform. We're
so past due I'm surprised the rest of the world hasn't foreclosed and
evicted us from the planet.

Re how it otter be pronounced in English:
(In the following all vowels in [] have the values of the International
Phonetic Alphabet. If some of the characters are not appearing
correctly you may have to set your e-mail client to use UTF-8 and a
font containing IPA characters.) 
Before the Great Vowel Shift i was pronounced [i]. After the Great
Vowel Shift it had fallen and diphongized so it is now pronounced [aj],
[?j] or [?j], depending on your dialect. However, this occurred only
when the syllable was stressed, and this was most common when the vowel
in the following syllable was (originally) [?], which at that time was
usually spelled e. Thus before the Great Vowel Shift "scribe" was
pronounced [skrib], the final [?] having been lost earlier during the
Middle English period. (From rhymes in Chaucer we know that pronouncing
the final [?] was already optional in his time.) After the Great Vowel
Shift it had become [skrajb] or [skr?jb] (the dialectal variant [?j]
occurs only before voiceless stops).

The problem with "Scribus" is that the vowel of the second syllable is
not silent as it is in "scribe." If it were the i should be pronounced
[aj] or [?j], depending on the speaker's dialect. That the e is not
silent means that the i must be pronounced [?] or [i]. However, we
generally use the [i] pronunciation only for words that have been
borrowed recently. Thus, I can just about guarantee you that if you put
the word "Scribus" in front of a hundred native English speakers and
ask them how to pronounce it, the response will be overwhelmingly
[skr?b?s], with a few choosing [skrajb?s].

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