Sunday, May 24, 2009

How to Pronounce Desi


A Desi girl, and Desi girl girl girl girl...

Today's lesson is a practical guide for Americans to pronounce the word “Desi” with an authentic Desi accent.

First of all, what is Desi? Desi refers to the people and culture of South Asia and its diaspora. So in other words, people whose origins can be traced to India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the Maldives.

Desi is spelled D-E-S-I. But the D is what is referred to in linguistics as a dental D, unlike the sound we use in English for desire, devil, or dumbfounded. The D from Desi is used in many Hindi words such as Dostana, the name of the movie whose song clip we just heard; daal, lentil soup; and dus, the number ten.

But the sound does exist in English pronunciation, shrouded in certain words beginning with “th,” such as this, that, thus, and though. That “th” is the best estimation for pronouncing the dental D. So now let's put together the words “they” (T-H-E-Y) and “see” (S-E-E): “They see.” Now reverse the emphasis; in other words, accentuate “they” rather than “see,” and you have “THEY-see.”

Please check back on for more vocabulary and practical pronunciation guides. Until then remember: Who's the hottest girl in the world? A Desi girl, a Desi girl!


Magdalena said...

I love this blog! Please keep posting :)

Leena said...

thank you! certainly will. :)