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Tiger eating his meat
Originally uploaded by Tambako the Jaguar

Anna has her own vocabulary.

Most of the words are based on English or Danish ones – /?a?a/ for ‘flower’, /ka/ for ‘cat’, /m?/ for ‘sheep’ (Danish mæh ‘bah’), etc.

However, her word for ‘meat, sausage, burger’ doesn’t seem to be based on any word known to us: /(t)?a/ (that is, as if it had been a Welsh word spelled lla, or a Zulu one spelled hla, but sometimes the fricative becomes an affricate as in Nahuatl ‘tl’).

Funnily enough, although I find it easy to recognise what she’s saying thanks to my training in phonetics, the rest of the family make their own approximations: Marcel says /?la/, Charlotte opts for /kla/, and Phyllis is adamant that Anna says /xla/.

I believe similar things happen to Welsh place names in English.