Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ November 11, 2015 – LENIS: Sound off

Let’s work up a sweat with the alphabet!

LENIS (leʹnis, laʹ-) – adj. Phonet. articulated with little muscle tension and little or no aspiration (smooth, soft, mild) —n. a lenis sound.

No, not lean us up against the jukebox

Do you know that speaking can work up a sweat?! It’s true – tell that to your fitness coach. You’ll work harder on some words than others – I’m here to tip you off to the easier letters of the alphabet to use.

I’m all for easy if the results are the same, aren’t you?

Phonetically, when you speak, different letters require more or less effort to create either a soft – lenis – sound, or a harsher, harder – fortis – sound.

When you formulate the name Bess, for instance, you articulate a softer sound from the beginning consonant, “B,” than the name Peter – in which the “P” takes more muscle tension and results in a firmer, stronger sound.
Muscle challenge: Have a few minutes to trash? How many consonants are lenis and how many are fortis? Hint – it ain’t a clear and easy distinction!

There seems to be confusion amongst the scholars however, as to which consonants make you work out more – and who cares (right?). My choices: F | M | P | Q | T | V | W | Y. (The Q and Y are a little iffy, but they made me scrunch my mouth, so I included them.)

I’ll bet you could have gone ALLLLLLLL day without learning what a tug-of-war our lenis-fortis alphabet embodies. You’re welcome – that’s what I’m here for.


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