Narration (parentheses?) To Speak or Not to Speak?

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Post by Dave182 » May 27th, 2020, 3:55 am

As a newbie, I am still struggling with how to handle parentheses? I am reading non fiction and whilst there is still expression within the text, I often come by a lot of parentheses words and phrases. Sometimes I think it's best to leave them out or at the very least, speak the parentheses words and terms after the sentence. My only course of action to let the reader know that I have happened upon parentheses is to change my tone, but even then I often find it interrupts the flow. Other times I think it complicate things if the reader is just listening and not reading along.

Here is an example of text I came along, where I finally decided I should make a post to get assistance on how to handle brackets when narrating. I seem to come across of lot of them when reading non fiction texts that are teaching.

Within You is the Power by HENRY THOMAS HAMBLIN:
End of Chapter 1 -Infinite Life and Power
"Like the prodigal son he must "come to himself," and leave the husks and the swine in the far country, returning to his Father's house, where there is bread (of life) enough and to spare."

Am I meant to narrate the word by saying "parentheses" then the "word/term" with "parentheses" afterwards as if I am text to speech?

How do you guys approach parentheses when narrating such books without killing the flow and leaving those listeners who are not reading confused.
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Post by mightyfelix » May 27th, 2020, 6:18 am

This is a good question. What you should NOT do is leave them out.

I do as you suggested in your first paragraph, and lower my tone a bit. Maybe also use a pause before and after the parenthetical phrase. I don't feel that it interrupts the flow too much. Or if it does, then that's the author's fault, and you get the same impression when reading it silently. :wink: It certainly is less obtrusive than reading "open parentheses" and "close parentheses" before and after. The listener might not know it's inside parentheses while listening--they may think it's one of these things--but in any case, the information is there, and it has a bit of separation from the main thrust of the sentence.

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Post by TriciaG » May 27th, 2020, 6:22 am

I was just starting to post when I saw that Devorah said the same thing I would have said. That saved me the typing. 8-)

A slight pause, a change in intonation. I don't think you have to stress too much about whether a listener will understand that they're parentheses rather than dashes or commas.
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Post by KevinS » May 27th, 2020, 6:04 pm

Admission. Confession. Blasphemy. (Choose one.)

Sometimes, as in the sentence you use as an example, I would not lay any special tone to a word or short phrase placed in parentheses. If we would be absolutely true to some texts, no one could stand to listen to them.

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Post by knotyouraveragejo » May 27th, 2020, 6:43 pm

Yep. I am having a similar problem with lots short phrases in quotes. I am saying quote...unquote way too many times!
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Post by Kazbek » May 27th, 2020, 7:33 pm

To make a choice, I would consider what the listener would lose or gain in each case. Sometimes it makes more of a difference to know that something is set out by parentheses (or quotes, or italics, or capitalization), and sometimes less. Sometimes it disrupts the flow more to signal that by intonation or naming the symbol, and sometimes less. Luckily, LV policies give us enough flexibility to decide how to handle these things on a case-by-case basis.


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Post by Peter Why » May 28th, 2020, 2:24 am

Even within a single work, you may use tone or brackets variably. In my current solo, I'll read short parenthetical pieces with a different tone, but if they're more than a line or so long, or are not very related to the context, I'll bracket them (I say "note" .... "end note"). I tend to feel that if the listener could forget that I'm speaking parenthetically, I should remind him/her when we get back to the text.

I use those words because in an earlier book, there were both footnotes and parentheses, so I had "footnote" ... "end footnote", so I used "note" in the body of the text for consistency.

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Post by annise » May 28th, 2020, 4:01 am

If you wonder why no one has posted and said something like "you must read the (of life) exactly like this or else, it is because like most things here it is impossible to have "one size fits all" rules when there are so many different types of projects that are read here, With the example you give my first reaction would be - why is it in brackets - is the author trying to say something different than it would be without the brackets? Is someone trying to improve the author's words for some reason? Was there an unreadable part of the text that someone else has filled in? etc Are there many places where they appear? And the answer to those questions would affect the way I read (of life).

So - it all depends :D :D


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