Pronunciation help: all languages

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Lynnet
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Post by Lynnet » April 19th, 2013, 7:42 am

Mike001 wrote: (It was fairly cheap, so I can't complain too much.) Anyway, (among other things) the reader mispronounced Warwickshire. (He said Waw-wick-sh@r.) Now he sounded like an American a trying to "do" an English accent (not badly but not particularly well.) That in itself doesn't matter: I don't think a reader needs to get an accent perfectly. But getting a town name wrong is just such a giveaway. Anyone from Britain, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand is going to know that's not what a native would say immediately -- and I bet many people from the U.S. would know, too. Personal names and placenames are so notoriously difficult, so why didn't he look it up?
As a transplanted Brit, I always wonder why they use British actors with phoney "American" accents and vice versa. Drives me nuts. It's not as if there aren't enough people with the correct accent... And I went to the University of Warwick... not related to Dionne...
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RuthieG
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Post by RuthieG » April 19th, 2013, 8:47 am

so why didn't he look it up?

Heck, you can buy a pronouncing dictionary secondhand for a little over $3 :
Or use the hundreds of pronouncing dictionaries on the web where they even speak it for you. And that's free.

http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/English_Pronunciation_Guides
http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Foreign_Words_Pronunciation

Ruth
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Mike001
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Post by Mike001 » April 19th, 2013, 10:14 am

Lynnet wrote:... I always wonder why they use British actors with phoney "American" accents and vice versa. Drives me nuts. It's not as if there aren't enough people with the correct accent...
I know what you mean, but it wasn't so much the accent as the placenames and personal names. Strangely enough he got Norwich right -- Norridge (to rhyme with porridge):
"The man in the moon came down too soon,
and asked his way to Norwich,
He went by the south and burnt his mouth
By supping on cold plum porridge."
But then when he came to Harwich, he said Hah-witch not Harridge. He b***ered up Berkshire, too.

That said, he did read with some aplomb and did pull off some individual characterizations -- which I couldn't do half so well. (Well, some of the time, in places he forgot the voice he was using for some particular character and used a different one.) He was called Walter Covell:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0184403/

I guess he was pretty good really. I just wish he'd checked his placenames.

With accents I find I can usually spot when they're phoney. But there are a very very few performers who are so good they're near word-perfect.

I'd name Sid James -- spot-on old-time Cockney accent: who'd guess he was born in South Africa?

Then there's the American actress who played Beatrix Potter. I don't recall a single telltale word or vowel: if there was it can only have been the one. Charming film, too.

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Post by chocoholic » April 21st, 2013, 6:56 am

Norwich in the USA (as in US towns, or the terrier) is pronounced Nor-witch.

I would have had no idea that I needed to look up Warwickshire :hmm: (other than a general idea that English place names are often not pronounced as they are spelled.) For those of us who have seen these names in print but never hear them spoken -- how would we know?

Beaufort, SC is pronounced differently than Beaufort, NC; Concord, NC is pronounced differently than Concord, Mass. It is a minefield. :)
Laurie Anne

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Post by RuthieG » April 21st, 2013, 7:03 am

It is a minefield. I am currently recording something American, and check every name and place with Merriam-Webster. The same applies for non-British people reading something British. Howjsay is very useful for this.

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Post by moniaqua » April 21st, 2013, 7:23 am

Mike001 wrote: Iphegenia: EYE-ph@-gin-EYE-@
Orpheus: OAR-fee-@s
Euridice: you-RID-i-see
Anteus: An-TEE-@s
Chaos: KAY-oss
I guess you must be some English guy :D

Pronunciation is a minefield, really. For example, the Euridice - I know at least two ways to pronounce it besides the British way and both of them are correct depending on the school you go after :)

Not to mention all the ways I have ever heard the simple word "München" :lol:, sometimes really in a strange way. I probably have tons of cities I do pronounce not really correct but thanks goddess people usually are nice to me and accept it as long as they understand me. Of course I do agree that it is nice to check a word a (professional) reader doesn't know. That's one of the things they get paid for, I think.

Lynnet
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Post by Lynnet » April 21st, 2013, 7:40 am

moniaqua wrote:
Mike001 wrote: Iphegenia: EYE-ph@-gin-EYE-@
Orpheus: OAR-fee-@s
Euridice: you-RID-i-see
Anteus: An-TEE-@s
Chaos: KAY-oss
I guess you must be some English guy :D

Pronunciation is a minefield, really. For example, the Euridice - I know at least two ways to pronounce it besides the British way and both of them are correct depending on the school you go after :)
Monica,
I'm English, too, and I was taught you-RID-i-chee, so I guess no one really knows on these ancient names? Current place names, a different story. I live in a town called Tualatin, and it's fun to hear people butcher that :lol: It was interesting to see an automated transcription of a voice mail: 2 wallet in :roll:

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moniaqua
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Post by moniaqua » April 21st, 2013, 7:52 am

Lynnet wrote: Monica,
:)
Lynnet wrote: I guess no one really knows on these ancient names?
That is what I guess, too. Same thing with the Latin masses and names. Depending on who is listening chances are big that you're doing wrong - or right :roll:

I'm curious - how do you pronounce "Tualatin" correctly?

Lynnet
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Post by Lynnet » April 21st, 2013, 8:10 am

moniaqua wrote:
Lynnet wrote: Monica,
:)
Lynnet wrote: I guess no one really knows on these ancient names?
That is what I guess, too. Same thing with the Latin masses and names. Depending on who is listening chances are big that you're doing wrong - or right :roll:

I'm curious - how do you pronounce "Tualatin" correctly?
Too-ah-l'TIN - it's am Atfalahti word for 'long, winding river'. Unfortunately, the Atfalahtis were wiped out by the 'flu in 1896.

And sorry for getting your name wrong :oops:
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moniaqua
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Post by moniaqua » April 21st, 2013, 8:17 am

Thank you.

I just found an interesting page about (ancient) Greek pronunciation:
http://www.foundalis.com/lan/grkalpha.htm

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Post by wildemoose » April 22nd, 2013, 8:46 am

chocoholic wrote:Norwich in the USA (as in US towns, or the terrier) is pronounced Nor-witch.

I would have had no idea that I needed to look up Warwickshire :hmm: (other than a general idea that English place names are often not pronounced as they are spelled.) For those of us who have seen these names in print but never hear them spoken -- how would we know?

Beaufort, SC is pronounced differently than Beaufort, NC; Concord, NC is pronounced differently than Concord, Mass. It is a minefield. :)
Massachusetts place names (I have discovered since moving here) are really bizarre. Concord is pronounced like the word "conquered." My favorite is Peabody which is pronounced Pea-biddy.

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Post by sonnethaiku » April 22nd, 2013, 8:57 am

Arkansas has its own place name minefields, too. As a long-term non-native, it has taken me years to get used to "Mt. Petty Jean" (Mt. Petit Jean) and "El Dur-ray-do" (El Dorado). Here are just a few:

http://www.markjamesmullins.com/arkansas/pronoun/
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Post by gypsygirl » April 22nd, 2013, 10:07 am

When I first moved to Texas, I would hear people speak of Mah-hay-ah. It was years before I connected it to the written name Mexia.
Karen S.

Mike001
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Post by Mike001 » April 23rd, 2013, 5:40 am

Lynnet wrote: I'm English, too, and I was taught you-RID-i-chee, so I guess no one really knows on these ancient names?
Well, as I said, there are traditional ways of Anglicizing (or the equivalent if you're French or Italian, etc.) these names.

In Italian I guess you might pronounce a "C" as "ch", but one doesn't in English (and didn't in Ancient Greek for the matter of that). But then if you were pronouncing for Italian, as you might in the context of an Italian text, then I guess you wouldn't say "you" for "Eu". So "you-RID-i-chee" would be a half-English-half-Italian mix.

People sometimes give Italianate pronunciations of Latin. But then that's not good English or good Latin.

With Latin, I guess one should try for authentic pronunciation if reading a Latin text. If it's just a phrase appearing within English text, or a name, then it would be natural to Anglicize it -- and perhaps a bit affected not to. You can't go around saying "Caesar" within the comntext of a piece of English prose how the Romans would have: you'd get funny looks.

Mike001
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Post by Mike001 » April 23rd, 2013, 5:51 am

chocoholic wrote:Norwich in the USA (as in US towns, or the terrier) is pronounced Nor-witch.
Currently. The New Englanders used to say Norridge -- unsurprisingly. I believe the local pronunciation got lost only a few decades ago, with lots of newcomers moving into the area and, as it were, spelling the name out rather than asking the locals how it was said.

The same process has happened with many English placenames. For example, Daventry was pronounced "Daintree" by the locals, but you'd more commonly hear it as a "spelling pronuciation" nowadays.

Interestingly, "wich" means "a place with salt". So you know that anywhere that has that in the name is a place at which salt was mined or settled from seawater. (At least in England you would.)

I think the "w" probably got lost in the pronunciation of most of these "wich" names, because many people used to have trouble saying W (c.f. the Wellers in Pickwick.) You used to get dialectal pronunciations like 'ooman (and even 'atch). And, of course, in standard English the "w" has dropped out of words like sword, where the combination with another letter (here the "s") makes it even harder to say.
Beaufort, SC is pronounced differently than Beaufort, NC; Concord, NC is pronounced differently than Concord, Mass. It is a minefield. :)
Yes, usage isn't always easy to predict, and it's not static.

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