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Post Posted:: December 3rd, 2016, 6:46 am 

Joined: April 27th, 2016, 2:48 pm
Posts: 1
Will Librivox accept constructive criticism, suggestions and comments? By "constructive" I mean helpful, to help Librivox improve & grow. I do not mean immature rants, attacks, flaming, etc.. I would hope that the Librivox Forum moderators would immediately trash such useless postings.
Well, I'll try one thing: pronunciation. First, however I'll mention that I've downloaded and listened to several GB of Librivox and other audiobooks, most of them Science Fiction, but also other types. Some of your readers are very good. Some would be better, except for their mispronunciations of some words. Why does the Proof-Listener not have these words or sentences re-done? In any case, if I were reading to a worldwide audience, including people who might want to learn or improve their English, I would be careful to look up any words I was unfamiliar with.
I realize that Librivox books are all old, past copyright, and English-writers today do not write the same as authors 50, 100 or more years ago. The choice of words used by the older authors differs, but their pronunciation does not. For instance, here is a sentence which includes 6 words used by your authors which are almost always mispronounced by todays readers: 'The writhing man on the forecastle looked across the azure sea towards the verdure on the shore and wondered how he could escape, etcetera." (RYE-thing("th" as in "the");ˈfōksəl; ˈaZHər; ˈvərjər; and not EX-cape; not EKsetera).
I think that Librivox volunteer readers are indeed heroes and heroines for using their time and effort to provide us with their fine readings. After my years of listening I simply offer this bit of what I hope you will receive as a constructive suggestion: when a reader makes an error, have the proof-listener request the reader to re-record those small bits. Yes, it would be noticeable in the audio, but less important than the wrong words.


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Post Posted:: December 3rd, 2016, 6:56 am 
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Joined: June 15th, 2008, 10:30 pm
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Welcome!

Pronunciation has always been a bone of contention between some listeners and the LibriVox philosophy. It's one of those areas where there's always tension.

Our Prime Directive at LibriVox is "to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet." Any new policy in discussion is held up to this, and we determine if it helps, hinders, or is neutral to our Prime Directive.

Being picky about pronunciation would hinder it.

The policy is not to comment on pronunciation unless the reader asks for it. We have a lot of non-native English readers, and to comment on every mispronunciation would drive them away. New readers as well - a lot of them are skittish, and would think they're not good enough if there are too many corrections to make. And every new reader has the potential to develop into a great reader - even those who mispronounce words!

Not to mention regional differences in English pronunciation....

So, while we understand the frustration of listeners when they hear words mispronounced, we're not going to make it a requirement for people to make corrections for pronunciation.

Think of it this way while listening: imagine you're in a room, and someone is reading a book to you. Would you stop them every few sentences and correct their pronunciation? I'd hope not. ;) That's what we're going for here - not perfection, not even all professional-quality. We're just a bunch of volunteers recording books and giving them back to the world.

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Post Posted:: December 3rd, 2016, 7:54 am 

Joined: January 21st, 2009, 12:33 pm
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Location: Arlington, MA
A lot of these may be regionalisms as well, and not exactly mispronunciations. I was listening to an audio file recently where the reader had a lovely Southern accent and pronounced the word "asked" as "axed." That's not how I say that word, but it's how she says it, so who am I to call it a mispronunciation? Same with US vs. UK - aluminum or aluminium? Lootenant or lefftenant?

I have a pretty basic Midwestern American news anchor accent, and I got dinged once on the way I say the word "ancient." I genuinely could not hear the difference between the way the PL wanted me to say it and the way I've always said it.

Long story short, something is always going to be "wrong" to someone.

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Post Posted:: December 3rd, 2016, 12:14 pm 

Joined: February 24th, 2013, 7:14 am
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Location: New Hampshire, USA
But Knuten48 was not talking about regional differences here. An example: "minute" (adjective meaning "small, insignificant") versus "minute" (noun meaning unit of time) are pronounced differently. And if the reader confuses one for the other, it's too obvious. And I've made that mistake myself once. Once. If it weren't pointed out to me by a kind PLer, how would I know that I made that mistake?

Some non-native English speakers come here with the belief of the firmness of their grasp of English pronunciation. That belief most likely developed in them thanks to opinions of their friends, often even less familiar with English. While their grasp is probably fine for daily use in grocery stores, at the office, in a casual conversation with their neighbor, reading aloud a book of fiction or even a magazine article often turns out a challenge. We can only wish that at the sight of unfamiliar word that reader would stop and look it up instead of guessing...

I agree with Tricia, it's a slippery slope. And I do get the analogy with the friend in the same room reading the book to one. I do still think that to encourage development we should offer periodic reviews, have a question-and-answer section on difficult words or passages, perhaps come up with a set of tests (multiple choice?) that would give the readers the opportunity to verify their levels, make their own understanding of their abilities better. One can't start working on a problem unless (and until) one realizes that the problem actually exists.

ETA: Imagine that the reader is a native of Kentucky... How would they read "forecastle" if they see on the news: http://www.wdrb.com/story/33838305/forecastle-announces-dates-for-2017-festival

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Post Posted:: December 3rd, 2016, 12:24 pm 

Joined: February 16th, 2009, 10:20 am
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Location: Oxfordshire, England
As a PLer who's fairly new, I've had the same question.

In fact, I also made a post about it.

I see where people are coming from saying different accents say things differently, but I've come across cases that are not just different accents, but people just guessing how a word is said, and getting it wrong. (an example there is saying 'coquelicot' as 'co-QUIL-eh-cot', rather than 'COKE-lee-koh', and more recently than that, I had someone pronounce 'heroines' as 'heh-ROINS').

Trying to find the right line is hard.

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Post Posted:: December 3rd, 2016, 12:32 pm 
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Quote:
Trying to find the right line is hard.

The right line is pretty easy, actually:

1. If the reader has not specifically asked for pronunciation corrections, don't give them.
2. You can ask the reader if they want pronunciation corrections. If they say no or don't answer, then don't.
3. If they solicit it (some people have it in their signature, for example), then go for it. :)

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Post Posted:: December 4th, 2016, 3:12 am 

Joined: April 1st, 2011, 5:36 pm
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I think it also depends on how well you know the reader. If I don't know the reader at all, especially if they are new to LV, I generally let it go. They will learn as they go along.

If I am PLing for a soloist, I ask at the start how "picky" they want the PL to be. Some people want pronunciation corrections, others don't. I *can* be super-picky if asked - my philosophy is that the reader can always discard my PL suggestions if they don't want to correct them, but if I don't highlight the issue then they will never know it was a problem. (Except for foreign languages. Then I usually assume the reader has given it their best crack, and jumping on them won't help. I'm currently struggling with some German quotes, and I'm sure mangling the whole lot! :oops: )

The regional differences thing is a headache for me - as an Australian my accent is quite different from most here. So occasionally I've picked up a word which has HUGE variation in its pronunciation around the world. The Great "Quinine" Fiasco springs to mind. I had never heard it pronounced "KW-EYE-NINE", as I've always said "KWIN-een" but sure enough, forvo.com has both pronunciations listed!

I think pronunciation is an ongoing project for most of us. I found out the other day that I've been pronouncing "satyr" wrong for the last 40 years! :roll:

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Post Posted:: December 4th, 2016, 5:18 am 
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:lol: Please skip listening to any of my recordings, Knuten48, I'm pretty sure I say 'EKsetera' and I alternate 'AZHur' and 'aZHUR' (which we talk about all the time at work.) I only put the first 'n' in Government when I'm feeling posh, and like Beth, I have a 40 year mispronunciation track record with a heap of words, most recently 'ague' and 'infinitesimal'. :roll:

On the other hand, I've heard professional readers, in professionally edited recordings, botch the most unexpected words. And the world hasn't ended. People's ears are mostly pretty forgiving, I think, if it's a good book! For sure, if they're bored, then they'll be more sensitive to issues. I haven't listened to hundreds of LV books, it's true, but none of the ones I've heard have been unforgivably marred by anything like you're describing. I just roll along with the plot, and it's like a friend reading to me.

So, yes, as a reader I try to remember to look up words I'm not sure of, and I will fix egregious issues -- but, this is meant to be fun. Having someone picking at everything I say would not be fun. And I've been doing this for 11 years. :D I can't even imagine being a newcomer in that sort of atmosphere. I know I wouldn't have made it to 11 days. Not to mention the pressure on proof-listeners to know/check the pronunciation of everything. ;)

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Post Posted:: December 4th, 2016, 7:05 am 

Joined: July 5th, 2014, 1:57 pm
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Someone at LV (I forgot who) just said that you should say it convincingly and no one will notice. I've found that to be true when listening to other projects--if the reader says the word confidently but pronounces it differently I start to wonder if I'm pronouncing it right! I do like it when people tell me if I've pronounced words wrong, but I think it varies from reader to reader. :)

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Post Posted:: December 4th, 2016, 10:08 am 
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AdeledePignerolles wrote:
Someone at LV (I forgot who) just said that you should say it convincingly and no one will notice. I've found that to be true when listening to other projects--if the reader says the word confidently but pronounces it differently I start to wonder if I'm pronouncing it right! I do like it when people tell me if I've pronounced words wrong, but I think it varies from reader to reader. :)

Yes!. That's the ticket - Be Confident. I remember just starting in LV and agonizing over the pronunciation of Germanic tribes in the Gallic Wars. Literally hours spent researching them and asking everyone for advice. Then listening to what I'd recorded, not liking it and recording it again and again. Sad. Then some nice soul took pity on me and sugested that these tribes were really not that picky about their exact names anymore and besides it was what Caesar had decided to call 'em. They said "Pick a pronunciation and say it with confidence". Also he/she said that if you pronunce it the same way twice in a row, the listener will indeed begin to question their own way. This advice has saved me a lot of worrying over the past six years. Oh, and not one of those tribes has had a bad thing to say about what I called them. So get it as right as possible, then be bold is the ticket :D Image

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Post Posted:: December 4th, 2016, 1:30 pm 

Joined: December 20th, 2013, 1:14 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Even the greats don't always get it right.

Macaulay, in his poem "The Armada", rhymes the town "Beaulieu" with "flew", which as they say in G&S, we know is not the case.

It's all a matter of location.

In New South Wales, we say "Castlemaine" with a long first "a", the Victorians with a short "a".

New Zealanders hear us saying "feesh and cheeps", we hear them saying "fush and chups ".

Aboriginal Australians often sound like they're leaving the "o" out of "Aboriginal", thus "Abridge-inal".

I think our watchword should be "Carry On Regardless".

Or, perhaps, "Often Wrong, Always Certain".

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Post Posted:: December 4th, 2016, 5:48 pm 
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Quote:
The choice of words used by the older authors differs, but their pronunciation does not

That's an interesting theory - but not true. I had much to do with elderly educated Australian born of Australian parents great aunts and there were a number of words that they said differently, and Australian language is changing continually. Language is not static - we may all want to believe that the way we say it is the right way - maybe when no one ever spoke to anyone living more than 20 miles away - but not now. And now English is the de fact international language we just have to be thankful we can understand other people without having to learn their language. I only find it a problem if others version of a word sounds like my version of another word.
And I only need to read older verse to discover some words don't rhyme in my version of English.

Anne

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Post Posted:: December 4th, 2016, 6:07 pm 

Joined: June 24th, 2012, 10:28 pm
Posts: 1421
Location: Australia
As Adele said: -if the reader says the word confidently but pronounces it differently I start to wonder if I'm pronouncing it right!

It's interesting!

I'm listening to a brilliant reading of a book the title of which includes a well-known word of Greek origin pronounced in a way unknown not only to me but to the internet (in any of its modern languages or to the Ancient Greeks). It's uttered with such confident flair that I'm convinced that the reader must have special knowledge of the true pronunciation.

As SOTE says, pronunciations, certainly of English language words, differ with location. They differ over time too, as anybody encountering C18 rhymes knows. As for Shakespeare... .

I do try to check pronunciations of place names because there's nothing that riles locals more than when somebody says the name of our little patch of Earth just wrong.


I see that Anne had addressed some of those points already as I was typing.


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Post Posted:: December 4th, 2016, 6:47 pm 

Joined: December 20th, 2013, 1:14 am
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Location: Sydney, Australia
You can always tell when you've come across a Scottish writer in the hymnbook, on account of the rhymes which don't actually rhyme, as it were, at least not to the Sassenach.

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Post Posted:: December 4th, 2016, 6:56 pm 

Joined: December 20th, 2013, 1:14 am
Posts: 871
Location: Sydney, Australia
Maybe, as a placename reference, we should all post our country's versions of THIS originally Australian song: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mvBpLbNik_U

I think there was even supposed to have been a Dutch version.

SOTE

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