Monday, July 07, 2008

San Francisco, California is pleasant to pronouce. This is partly because English is hungry for pronounced final vowels, having fewer of them than many languages.

It is also because "San Francisco" and "California," though different, have some underlying sameness in how they sound.

They each have the same number of syllables--four.

They each have the same pattern of stressed syllables--a strong accent on the third syllable--cis, for--and a weak accent on the first syllable--san, cal.

So "San Francisco, California," pronouced, is a bit of a poem.

If you say it over and over with exaggerated emphasis on "cis" and "for," it sounds like you're going somewhere.