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The following entry unlocks the mystery behind Hilmi’s name, phonetically.





The Phonetics of HILMI 



My name is HILMI.


From my name, you can guess that I am phonetically outcast, dark and extreme.


1. First, it begins with an H – a ‘whispered’ sound produced at the furthest end of our articulators, which is glottal. It’s a tricky sound in which you have to narrow your glottis and produce a friction noise between your vocal folds. It is neither voiceless nor voiced. It belongs to no one. Very confusing.


2. Second, it is followed by an I – a ‘smile’ vowel produced at the opposite side of an H, which is at the most fronted and closest area of our tongue tip. To produce it after an H, the articulators have to move quickly from the furthest end of a glottis to the furthest beginning of a tongue tip. Very adventurous.


3. Third, we have an L – a liquid sound produced by placing your tongue tip just below your alveolar ridge, letting the air pass along the sides of your tongue. Since it is located at the final position of a syllable, it is called a ‘dark’ L. Very dark and unclear.


4. Fourth, an M begins a second syllable of my name. This bilabial nasal consonant is produced by closing your lips together, lowering your velum, letting the air flow through your nasal cavity and escape through your nose. Imagine Fran Fine in the Nanny. Very disturbing.


5. Finally, a front and close vowel concludes my name, which doubles the pain of moving the corners of your lips away from each other and forcing you to flash a fake smile again. Very irritating.


All in all, H-I-L-M-I is a combination of weird sounds that always move to the extreme ends, just like me.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Hilmi Yeo permalink
    January 21, 2011 2:05 pm

    Cool, I have the same name!
    but you have put more time into obsessing it than me 🙂

    I always wondered, is this an arabic name?
    because my icelandic friend is named HILMIR.

    while phonetics is undoubtedly cool, etymology
    is where I cream my pants. 🙂


    • January 22, 2011 12:10 pm

      Dear Hilmi (isn’t it weird calling your own name?),

      My obsession comes with a reason. Phonetics is my playground. And I’d love to explore etymology as well, like, who was the first man on earth who used our name! Yes, Hilmi is an Arabic name, meaning Wisdom.


  2. moegamat gielmie hartley permalink
    April 1, 2012 8:30 pm

    My name is also Helmi but spell in Dutch as Giemie I am an Malay living Cape Town fourt generation


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