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[Facts] Pronunciation of Hrafn
Hi,
Anyone know how to pronounce Hrafn? I've read that the hr is an unvoiced r and the f becomes a b if it's before an n. Is H-rab'n close? Tried listening to the pronunciation on Forvo and I keep hearing the f as a p. Can anyone who speaks Icelandic help?Thanks

This message was edited by the author 2/9/2018, 9:28 AM

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Wiktionary says a voiceless bilabial stop |p|, not the voiced |b|, but as I hear it it's almost |v| — perhaps "b before n" is an error or approximation for |β|, which is the voiced bilabial fricative. That would have been the ancient sound which in almost all languages, including English and the other Norse languages, is displaced by the easier voiced labiodental fricative |v|. As a rule in the Germanic languages medial b was pronounced |β|, and medial f as |v|. The two sounds being similar and there being no letter for either |β| or |v| ("v" represented modern "u"), "f" became the common spelling for both. As "u" became distinct from "v" the latter displaced "f" when voiced (compare "wolves" v "wolf", "leaves" v "leaf"). Final b in Norse, Saxon, Gothic and English also became a fricative, again written "f", but in Norse and Icelandic it remained voiced |β| or |v|, whereas in English it was unvoiced to |f|. Icelandic is unusual in that the bilabial fricative remains before "n" at all — it's usually nasalized to |m|. It's possible that the example on Forvo is the voiceless bilabial fricative ɸ, sometimes transcribed as ph — a bilabial version of f that is easier to pronounce than the voiced |β|.Technically it is not pronounced H-raβn but r̥aβn, the r is trilled, but unvoiced so that it sounds aspirated. In aspirated consonants the h is integral, which is why it is sometimes marked by a ' or diacritic rather than a separate letter. hraβn should get you close, if you can manage a trilled r rather then the standard English approximant, and the bilabial fricative rather than the labiodental.
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