Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0002519, Wed, 29 Oct 1997 08:25:17 -0800

Re: Prounciation of "Lolita" (fwd)
From: "J. A. Rea" <JAREA@UKCC.uky.edu>

Just to add to the confusion, we should perhaps remember that in VVN's
"composite" accent in spoken English (St Petersburg Russian, Cambridge
English, and the occasional bit of northeastern American), one ingredient
is a lingering Russian tendency to use "palatalized" variants (dare I say
allophones?) of consonant sounds (phonemes) that are audibly different
from the non-palatalized ones. This would cause differences between the
the two /l/ sounds of Lolita's name, and if he used a dental one before
the /o/ (perhaps even a dark /l/, i.e. velarized), a palatalized one before
the /i/, and perhaps an alveolar tap for the /t/, as do such diverse
speech forms as (some varieties of) English and of Sard, he would perform
three different points of articulation from the gingiva to the alveolar
ridge. As a polyglot, VVN would be aware of phonetic details of his own
performance more than the typical monolingual (even if we scuttle the
imaginary "scud"!)