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Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents
https://forum.librivox.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=31977
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Author:  Cori [ March 25th, 2011, 1:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

Another point to consider is that we've been making audiobooks for over five years now, and our process has changed a LOT in that time. When LV very first started out, there was no forum, it was largely email-run, when I joined there was no uploader (we had a lot of arcane knowledge about file-sharing sites, though ;)) or cataloguing MCs, (Kayray did that for us.)

Most relevant, though, is the evolution of proof-listening, from "none at all" to "BC listens if they have time" to "optional, but nice" to "preferable" to what we have today, which I'd characterise as "99.5% of recordings are proof-listened before release." Where the remaining 0.5% are in languages where we don't have proof-listening volunteers, and where we've been unable to recruit non-speakers to at least sanity-check for repeats, background interruptions, and so on. And in this case we ask the reader to re-listen to their own files, which is at least some kind of safety net. But it has varied, over time, and there are a lot of older files which wouldn't match how we do things today. Some of those things can be fixed (e.g. where people point out volume issues, or background noise, we can work on those.) Some can't. They are what they are.

We do offer a wider variety of pronunciation-support to non-native speakers now (the French-speakers here have been very kind to me, for instance.) There's ALWAYS been lots of support for in-forum queries, but there's increasingly external resources too ... and our standards evolve, but from within the community, to include everyone. Occasionally this kind of external "dump a post & disappear" input will prompt a change after exactly this sort of discussion, but mostly, the changes that are made here are because a majority of active LibriVoxers support them, naturally, without any kind of heavy voting / campaigning and so on. And they're generally made on the basis that they help with our Prime Directive: Making Free Public Domain audiobooks. Whether that's easier, quicker, more fun, whatever. It's all about the making. Having the general public listening, as has been said a number of times above, is a very happy side-effect.

Author:  earlofwess [ March 25th, 2011, 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

annise wrote:
Every third work on the site - really ? I do think you are a bit out in that . Yes there are a very few readers that I find difficult to follow - I just don't pick books to listen to for pleasure that they are reading. A couple of them the problem is partly caused by the amount of background noise and poor quality equipment - they are mainly earlier recordings , Audacity did not have good noise cleaning then.

Anne


I was not longer talking about non-native speakers, but general intelligibility, and I actually went on, when I said "every third work" to include any work that has a chapter read by someone I find difficult to listen to. My point was that there IS a problem - but it is unsolvable in a non-perfect world. I can't believe that anyone likes every recording on the site. Of course, this is mostly a matter of taste - it's amazing how often my wife can't adjust to a reader that I am fine with and vise-versa. There are even a few that I adore, my absolute favorites, that she doesn't particularly like. To her they're fine, but not great.

This is usually because the reader is English (as is my wife) and sounds like her uncle, or grandparent, or the guy down the street :D

Author:  chocoholic [ March 25th, 2011, 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

And then there is my husband, who as soon as he hears "This is a Librivox recording" in the car, asks if we can't please just put on the Beatles. :lol: He is not an audiobook guy. Sometimes he is trapped, though, because audiobooks keep the kids happy on long drives. (Our kids don't mind different voices/accents at all, by the way -- maybe their ears are more flexible than our adult ones. As a manner of speaking.)
Quote:
I can't believe that anyone likes every recording on the site.

Children probably come the closest. Mine even like foreign-language recordings in small doses. They make them giggle. :)

We will never have all listeners like every recording (we would hardly be human if that were the case), but like some other posters, I have had the experience of growing to appreciate a voice more and more over the course of a book. Even voices that I wasn't so sure about at first became the voices of friends after a few chapters.

Thanks for putting things so well a couple of posts above, Cori; you said it perfectly.

Author:  Nicholas19 [ March 25th, 2011, 1:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

earlofwess wrote:
My point was that there IS a problem - but it is unsolvable in a non-perfect world.


Think of LibriVox as an organism. It will grow as the number of recordings and contributors grows. The quality may improve with time and an increasing number of recordings will give listeners an increasing number of options to choose from.

Author:  catchpenny [ April 5th, 2011, 1:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

Starlite wrote:
I had a listener post that they couldn't understand my 'Canadian' accent. I only speak English and always thought I had pretty good diction. <shrug>

Esther :)

The one that complained of your "lisp"? That one was hilarious!

Author:  Starlite [ April 5th, 2011, 7:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

catchpenny wrote:
Starlite wrote:
I had a listener post that they couldn't understand my 'Canadian' accent. I only speak English and always thought I had pretty good diction. <shrug>

Esther :)

The one that complained of your "lisp"? That one was hilarious!


Oh not sure I saw THAT one lol. It was posted here in the forum somewhere. Oh well, you will never please everyone.

It's not stopping me from doing what I love doing and that is recording.

Esther :)

Author:  writersBloke [ August 3rd, 2017, 6:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

I have a question. Is it possible to know a particular speaker's native language/geographical location? As in can we search for books/chapters recorded by a person with X native language OR from Y region?

Author:  annise [ August 3rd, 2017, 7:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

No, it's not possible , we do not have that information on the database.
And just for your information , we have many readers with English not as their mother tongue who are more understandable than some readers who are "native" speakers :D

Anne

Author:  writersBloke [ August 3rd, 2017, 7:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

Thanks for reply! This information, if it were available, could be useful for someone who wants to do research on how non-native speakers speak English/other language.

Author:  Cori [ August 4th, 2017, 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

Readers can ask to be added to the accent listing here: http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Accents_Table which would be a good place for a researcher to work from, perhaps. The emphasis with that table is on voluntary of course. We don't track that information otherwise, as Anne says, and we use each person's own self-description, rather than any external measure.

Author:  commonsparrow3 [ August 4th, 2017, 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

LibriVox also has recorded a couple of "Dialect and Accent Collections", in which multiple readers record the same fable by Aesop. Each reader uploads their reading along with a "title" that describes their own accent or dialect in a few words, providing a listenable "database" of many wonderful accents in the LV community.

https://librivox.org/search?q=dialect%20and%20accent&search_form=advanced

Author:  lurcherlover [ August 18th, 2017, 5:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

I do not think personally that accents are the problem. It is clarity of diction and recognisable pronunciation that matter most, as well as recording quality. Of the contributions on that project linked above - although I listened to less than half, the one I found hardest to understand was the female New Zealander. I've been to NZ several times and I'm married to an NZ'eder - but I found that one hard to get. My wife speaks excellent UK English (she's bee here over 35 years) but I have difficulty understanding her sister when she visits, or I've been in NZ.

In any case, if someone does not like/understand a reader, then it's best to move onto another version or another book! I'm a native English speaker, but I'm sure most find me un-inteligable. (Especially when reading a book full of Hawaiian words - and I've only just learnt to spell Hawaiian correctly - it took about 15 attempts).

Lurcher_lover - who can only speak old dog language. (And the vet can never understand me ...)

Author:  annise [ August 18th, 2017, 5:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

Agree fully , but I do think that the variation of "English as she is spoke" means that if we want the world to listen to our great interpretations of books , it wouldn't hurt to think about talking to someone not from your accent area and to remember to speak clearly and not too fast.

Anne

Author:  lurcherlover [ August 18th, 2017, 9:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

Yes, absolutely. (If you are not too careful I may do my awful fake Australian accent just to ruin your day!)

Speed is a difficult thing. It's "tempo" in music (which is a universal language - well, mostly). With speech, too slow and it becomes laboured and boring, too fast and it becomes difficult to understand. We have drama productions here in the UK where the actors rush their words and no-one knows what the hell is going on. I blame the director/s who should tell them to slow down. These same actors swallow their words as well, so we have no possible chance of following them.

So, I'm making a rant, but yes, we should definitely consider the listener, the most important person in the whole process.

Author:  Elizabby [ August 21st, 2017, 5:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Non-native-speakers' bad pronunciation & strong accents

lurcherlover wrote:
consider the listener, the most important person in the whole process.


Nah, I record stuff because I like it. I don't consider the listener the "most important person" in the process - that's the reader.

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