Accents vs. Mispronunciation

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TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » June 22nd, 2012, 4:50 pm

Just today I was listening to a book, and there are 3 sections (maybe 4) read by someone with a different accent than me. Thing is, I was having a hard time understanding this reader while working (I was cleaning up my kitchen while listening). I skipped those sections and will read them instead. I could probably understand if I were fully concentrating on the audio, but I really don't feel like working that hard at it. :lol: This type of thing has happened to me before. So yes, I do understand having preferences or desires for/against certain accents. But I won't complain by name about those readers, nor complain about them in general - life's too short for that. 8-)
If you are used to watching lots of Masterpiece theatre, you will have no problem understanding British accents. If you are not used to hearing a particular accent, your brain has not had time to learn to understand it. Keep listening to an accent that at first seems undecipherable and you will usually find that you will understand more and more.
One summer I got interested in the British soap, Eastenders. At first it was way hard to understand, but I got into the swing of it. Another instance: my husband studied engineering in university. He had one particular prof who spoke with a very heavy Chinese (I think - Asian, definitely) accent. My husband didn't think he could get through the class, because he couldn't understand a word the guy was saying! But after a couple weeks he finally got used to the accent and ended up doing well in the class. Granted, that was university and not listening for pleasure. ;)
Mystery stories: The Master of Mysteries
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Mussolini's speeches thru 1923: LINK
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Post by Carolin » June 23rd, 2012, 12:23 am

Or go buy and expensive commercial version and see if the reader is any better there. Sometimes, the reader is not better than an LV reader.
id like to point out that this is often not even possible, since our readers are not just excellent readers, they are also often like little truffel-pigs looking for treasure... i mean, obscure books on the internet that nobody ever reads anymore, which is in 99% of the cases really a shame. i am probably not the only one recording and listening to books by authors ive never heard of, who dont have a wikipedia article and where it is half impossible to find any info about the book at all. i havent been disappointed yet.

what i meant to say is that when people criticize one of our recordings of a book which is not so popular and well known, the person criticizing should be aware that if the volunteers hadnt come together and recorded this book (for no consideration, mind you, but the pleasure of making a recording), there would most likely be no recording of this book available online at all. sometimes even the text is not easily accessible.
Carolin

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Post by bobgon55 » June 23rd, 2012, 1:06 am

Great point, Carolin. And LV readers are not only making audio versions of obscure, unknown texts, but actually really well-known popular books that will never, ever, ever-ever-ever see an incarnation in a commercial version. I refer specifically to all the philosophical titles. You're not EVER going to hear "Random House presents The Symposium by Plato," or Poetics by Aristotle, or Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche, all of which are available in the LV catalog. Books that ARE well known as books but that just wouldn't sell in the necessary quantities to make them commercially viable are available for free thanks to some LV readers.
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Lilith1966
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Post by Lilith1966 » June 24th, 2012, 12:43 pm

I have done a lot of thinking on this subject, and I know that most people must be absolutely sick of this subject but it will never, never go away. This is because there appears to be two distinct camps-the upholders of absolute non-critical imput and the upholders of respecting the written word(and setting/character nationality) to the point of being insensitive jerks. The reason I am in the second camp is that what is read here is classical literature. The use of language is educated and specific. Everyone should have access to these works but the texts deserve to be treated with respect. It has been said that the readings are for the readers-not the listeners. Fair enough, but some of us shouldn't be made to feel like lepers just because we want to be as proper as possible with the written word. "Don't like it, then go away" sounds a lot like "you don't read well, go away". It is the attitude that anyone can read any which way they like, without proper knowledge of proper pronounciation within the text that insults people like me who really put the effort in to being very precise. There is most definitely a proper way to pronounce a word. There may be a Britsh or American pronounciation and you would pick one according to the setting of the book. A person with an accent who properly pronounces words is very understandable. Granted your ear has to get used to the accent, but this is quite a pleasurable thing. A mispronunciation is not. If this was a site for writers to read their works, or individual expression it wouldn't matter at all if people mispronounced. I'm not going to say to a person who is speaking their own thoughts in their own words to fix their pronounciation. That would be beyond rude. We are not speaking our own words-we are speaking the words of others-we have a responsibility to be precise. If you want the ability to record and open it up to the world to hear you, be prepared for criticism. People have every right to criticise and everyone has the right to ignore it. It needs to be acknowledged that we have the right to be uncomfortable with some readings and the right to feel that some people do not spend enough time on the project (looking up words etc does take time). The message I am getting is that it is just fine that some people are not good. The honest, realistic view is that some readers are not really great but they have the right to read. I have gone on and on because I feel there are others here who may feel like me in that we don't want to revamp anything, that is not our place, but we just don't want to be jumped on because we care.

Thank you for having this forum on which I can express my views. I wil not bring this up again, life is indeed too short.
Respectfully
Tara

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Post by TriciaG » June 24th, 2012, 1:02 pm

If you, Tara, want precise pronunciation criticism in your readings, you are certainly welcome to it! When setting up a project, you can select Special PL (and then specify what's special about it. In your case, it would be pronunciation). If you are working in a group project, when you submit a section you can request PL including CC on pronunciation. ("CC" is constructive criticism.) Or you can put that in your forum signature line so you don't have to request it each time, although I admit I usually miss people's signature lines, so I'd probably miss a request such as that if it were in the sig only.

If a reader WANTS constructive criticism, they can request it. But we won't give unsolicited criticism.
Mystery stories: The Master of Mysteries
Kerner Report on 1967 race riots: LINK
Mussolini's speeches thru 1923: LINK
The Medici family history: LINK

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Post by carolb » June 24th, 2012, 1:17 pm

Lilith1966 wrote:but we just don't want to be jumped on because we care.
Fear not Tara,
No one is ever 'jumped on' here at LibriVox - but isn't that what you're unhappy about? :?
TriciaG wrote:One summer I got interested in the British soap, Eastenders.
Trisha, my daughters used to be East Enders fans, and I would drive them mad by pointing out within the first few minutes of each programme which actor/actress said "Woss gawin' on?" (English 'what's going on'!) - because someone always did!

Carol

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Post by bobgon55 » June 24th, 2012, 1:46 pm

Hi Tara, :D

You raise some interesting points that definitely deserve to be heard. You should always feel free to express your opinions on the forums respectfully, as you have done. And even if Carol and Tricia have beat me to responses as I was composing mine, I do have some responses from my point of view.
Lilith1966 wrote:... there appears to be two distinct camps-the upholders of absolute non-critical imput and the upholders of respecting the written word(and setting/character nationality) to the point of being insensitive jerks.


These camps are not that distinct. There are those of us who respect the freedom of novice readers to learn and still respect the written word. There are proof listeners in place to help "quality control" in the readings. Many novice readers explicitly ask for helps and corrections if necessary, which seems to indicate that they do really care about the quality of their readings and want to do their best. A every recording on LV is given freely to the public, utilizing readers'/proof listeners'/BCs'/MCs' most valuable resource - their time, it becomes the readers' choice if they want to hold themselves up to a higher standard than required by LV rules. Listeners need to keep in mind that they are enjoying the fruits of volunteer readers at no expense to them other than their listening time, which is significantly lower than the people hours that go into creating all these recordings.
Lilith1966 wrote:what is read here is classical literature.
Not all of it. Some is material that is just old and not-so-good literature, but really fun to read aloud (and perform, as I like to say we do here).
Lilith1966 wrote:There is most definitely a proper way to pronounce a word.
Most words are not necessarily pronounced ONLY one way. Many words have several acceptable pronunciations even in one specific accent. For example, "often" may be legitimately pronounced with the "t" being silent or articulated.
Lilith1966 wrote:to fix their pronounciation.
(small point of interest: this word is actually "pronunciation.") :mrgreen:
Lilith1966 wrote: we have a responsibility to be precise.
As precise as possible, within reason. I think all readers attempt to be as precise as they can be. Proof listeners help, and the mistakes that get by may well just not be so much of a problem to many listeners. Oftentimes they are forgiving when they realize they are getting these recordings for free. If they object so much, they can just not listen at all. Besides, absolute perfection angers the gods, and we would not want the immortals to unleash their wrath on mere mortals who are overstepping their place by dabbling in perfection. :wink:
Lilith1966 wrote: If you want the ability to record and open it up to the world to hear you, be prepared for criticism. People have every right to criticise and everyone has the right to ignore it.
Everyone has the opportunity to criticize as freely as they wish on the Internet Archive page of each LibriVox release. You just can't offer unsolicited (negative) criticism, constructive or not, on LibriVox forums. Those who would give negative unsolicited feedback need to content themselves with the Internet Archive site.
Lilith1966 wrote: The message I am getting is that it is just fine that some people are not good. The honest, realistic view is that some readers are not really great but they have the right to read.
These are the same views, in my opinion. As has been pointed out to me a number of times, inexperienced readers who have mustered up the courage to read are already VERY self-critical, probably thinking worse of themselves than any harsh critic. They need encouragement. This is given in the form of a minimal amount of requirements - volume, general intelligibility (in the judgement of the proof listeners), an agreed standard of proof listening (sometimes word perfect, sometimes not) and standard tech specifications. With these requirements fulfilled, a novice can have their recording enter our catalog. That is at once a scary and thrilling thing for anyone coming to this wonderful hobby of reading PD books aloud. The hope is that the newcomer will enjoy this new experience, stay and record more. And hopefully improve, if indeed they need to improve.

It is good that you bring a great respect for words to LibriVox. That is a valuable asset to this project and so are you. Keep recording and keep voicing your honest opinions. :D

Cheers,
Bob
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Post by philchenevert » June 24th, 2012, 2:29 pm

Well, let's be honest, all you furrinners tak funny.

But i kinda like it.

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Post by carolb » June 24th, 2012, 2:48 pm

bobgon55 wrote: As has been pointed out to me a number of times, inexperienced readers who have mustered up the courage to read are already VERY self-critical, probably thinking worse of themselves than any harsh critic.
Yes, Bob. I believe this to be true, and I also believe that everyone who records for LibriVox records/reads/edits to the very best of their ability. So whether or not their accent or pronunciation is to my taste - or mine to theirs, I really appreciate the wonderful, warm, tolerant community that we are all fortunate to be part of. These days a number of BBC newsreaders pronounce 'hospital' as 'hospitoow,' which does grate a little - but I understand what they are talking about so why get het up about it? :wink:

Carol

Edited to add: At this point in the conversation it would be worth reading or re-reading the relative Forum Policies:
1 Be Nice
2 We Are All Volunteers
3 No Unasked-For Criticism

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Post by Lilith1966 » June 24th, 2012, 3:19 pm

(small point of interest: this word is actually "pronunciation.")

You got me there Bob! That's what I get for being so mouthy :mrgreen:
Perfect I am not :oops:
Cheers
Tara

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Post by JohanLiebert » June 24th, 2012, 3:49 pm

philchenevert wrote:Well, let's be honest, all you furrinners tak funny.

But i kinda like it.

Image
yiss wee tok fony eenauf wee cun replayz mr bean :mrgreen:
carolb wrote:Yes, Bob. I believe this to be true, and I also believe that everyone who records for LibriVox records/reads/edits to the very best of their ability. So whether or not their accent or pronunciation is to my taste - or mine to theirs, I really appreciate the wonderful, warm, tolerant community that we are all fortunate to be part of. These days a number of BBC newsreaders pronounce 'hospital' as 'hospitoow,' which does grate a little - but I understand what they are talking about so why get het up about it?
This I think is the primary reason why negative criticism is not welcomed. Hey, we're not even being paid a single cent! It's all out of love of literature.
April Gonzales :D
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Post by bobgon55 » June 24th, 2012, 6:49 pm

Lilith1966 wrote:(small point of interest: this word is actually "pronunciation.")

You got me there Bob! That's what I get for being so mouthy :mrgreen:
Perfect I am not :oops:
Cheers
Tara
You are then safe from the wrath of Zeus, Tara! :mrgreen: But do feel free to be mouthy! We love friendly discussion here.

By the way, as a relatively new volunteer, would you be interested in recording a Happy 7th Birthday, (or Anniversary) LibriVox message? Here's the link to the post where I call for contributions. Also, I think it would be nice if you had some things to say about your experience here during the time that you have joined. I made a newbie statement on last year's anniversary podcast, #116, hosted by the wonderful Ruth Golding. You can listen to that one here.

April Gonzales has already contributed a nice piece. Let me know if you are interested and if you need any help.

All the best to you,
Bob
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Lilith1966
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Post by Lilith1966 » June 24th, 2012, 7:43 pm

Yes Bob that sounds great! Thank you for brining it to my attention :D I will be following this up :thumbs:
Tara

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Post by sidhu177 » July 24th, 2012, 9:23 pm

i do find accent to be very important, english not being a native language to me, i always keep telling myself that it is important to pronounce the words in the same manner as pronounced by the native people, after all we are recording in english for people who can understand and have a literature interest in english language. and this is the same point which takes up maximum time for me when any recording is in the editing stage. most of the times i try mimicking the British accent. Mispronunciations is something which i can make out when PLing the sections, never had any problem with accent and mispronunciation till now.
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Post by annise » July 24th, 2012, 10:13 pm

I'm not sure you really need to mimick English accents , I find the main problem with understanding other versions of English happens because of people reading quite fast , it takes the brain a little longer to recognise the word if it is said in a different way and by then the reader can have read a couple more words and I can get lost. I think Indian speakers do tend to speak fast , and Australians are supposed to speak r e a l l y s l o w l y :D but a good rule is to speak slower if you want to be understood by people not of your country , it is more important that whether your w sound sounds like v and your a sounds like ah or ay :D

Anne

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