Pronunciation forum

supercrom

Banned
Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE
I think we need an especific subforum (in the Spanish-English forum) to post any question about pronunciation issues. Sometimes we just don't know where to place our posts.

Thanks in advance

Supercrom
 
  • supercrom

    Banned
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE
    I think pajandrum also agrees with us, Alexis:

    Citado por pajandrum
    This is SO bizarre.
    Having enjoyed this conversation immensely, I am suddenly compelled to ask two questions:
    (1) Why is a discussion about the pronunciation of English in a forum about Spanish Grammar?
    (2) How come I, a non-speaker of Spanish, found it?
    Supercrom
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    For me, the difficulty is that although I know a standard set of pronunciation symbols exists, I would need to go on a course to understand what they mean. Then I would need to keep using them to keep familiar with them. I really would like to become expert in phonetics - I sing multi-lingually (For example, I sing (with a choir) a song in Puerto Rican Spanish. Our Spanish-speakers are OK on European Spanish pronunciation, but not Puerto Rican.) and would love to learn a multi-lingual symbology so that I could discuss how different languages should sound, but I fear I no longer have the brain-space to cope:eek:

    I humbly suggest (having been here for all of a fortnight) that this forum could make a good start by including the standard international phonetic symbols and, for a number of different languages, include text examples and spoken examples.

    It would involve hard work, both for the forum and for forum-users, but perhaps worthwhile?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    panjandrum said:
    For me, the difficulty is that although I know a standard set of pronunciation symbols exists, I would need to go on a course to understand what they mean. Then I would need to keep using them to keep familiar with them. I really would like to become expert in phonetics - I sing multi-lingually (For example, I sing (with a choir) a song in Puerto Rican Spanish. Our Spanish-speakers are OK on European Spanish pronunciation, but not Puerto Rican.) and would love to learn a multi-lingual symbology so that I could discuss how different languages should sound, but I fear I no longer have the brain-space to cope:eek:

    I humbly suggest (having been here for all of a fortnight) that this forum could make a good start by including the standard international phonetic symbols and, for a number of different languages, include text examples and spoken examples.

    It would involve hard work, both for the forum and for forum-users, but perhaps worthwhile?
    I think it would be a good idea, but when I first read this thread I had a reservation. There is a difference between the accepted phonetic symbols that are traditionally used to represent sounds in a language and the actual sounds people make.

    This might sound surprising to some people, but of course a dictionary only usually gives one pronunciation guide, or two at most eg BE-AE, yet think of all the different accents around the world for English.

    Now, this is not necessarily a problem but it would mean that everyone would have to learn what sounds are meant by each symbol, and I imagine that those people who have learnt the usual phonetic dictionary symbols for their languages of choice might become confused. Let me give a couple of examples -

    the "wa" sound in french is normally represented by the exact symbols /wa/. eg "toi" /twa/. However, in fact the /a/ sound is a front pronunciation of "a", similar to the French and Spanish pronunciation of "la". Now the pronunciation of "toi" in French is actually more like /twA/ I have used A here to represent a phonetic symbol not in my keyboard. It is written as a hand-written "a", eg a circle with a tail rather than the curve above that the symbol "a" has. This A symbol represents a back pronunciation of "a" a bit like a short pronunciation of English "ah". For (northern) French speakers it is the vowel in "las" as opposed to "la". It doesn't exist in Spanish as far as I know.

    Example two. All dictionaries seem to represent the short English vowel "a" as "ae" (but joined together). This symbol represents a vowel slightly higher than French or Spanish "a" in "la" getting up towards but nowhere near as high as "e" in "met". In my accent, fairly standard British, this is not the pronunciation I give to this sound. I don't think there would be much difference in my pronunciation of the vowel in the name "Sam" compared to that of a French person or a Spanish person. However, in a dictionary my pronunciation would be expressed /saem/ and that of our French and Spanish friends /sam/. I understand that some people in the US do pronounce this as /ae/ so that say "Gary" would rhyme more or less with "Jerry".

    As strange as it may seem, the phonetic symbols that by convention we use in dictionaries to represent certain sounds have started in some circumstances to become outdated compared to the sounds they purport to represent, in a very similar way that spelling, even in English, was once a fairish representation of how people spoke.

    So my point is that we would have to have some resource to show us what sound each symbol represents, so that we can get away from the sounds that these symbols have traditionally come to represent in some languages, and be sure we knew the sounds being discussed. Otherwise, for example, the physical sound I mean by the traditional English phonetic symbol /ae/ would not necessarily be the same as that meant by an American, so it would add no more value that saying "the vowel in the word "Gary"" (which requires you to know how I, as an Englishman, pronounce the name "Gary").
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Is that IPA stuff in the link (thanks Cuchu, saved me hunting for something that I didn't even know the name for) able to get around the problems that timpeac raised? As a non-expert in this area, I had kind of assumed it did.

    I know that most dictionaries use reference words from their own language to illustrate their pronunciation symbology, but I naively believed that the people who had invented all those weird and incomprehensible symbols had done so in order to get around that problem, and many others no doubt.

    I rather suspect the number and complexity of the IPA symbols would be an almost insurmountable obstacle to their use in this forum. Do any of you very wise and professionally-linguistic people speak IPA I wonder.

    Panj
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    panjandrum said:
    Is that IPA stuff in the link (thanks Cuchu, saved me hunting for something that I didn't even know the name for) able to get around the problems that timpeac raised? As a non-expert in this area, I had kind of assumed it did.

    I know that most dictionaries use reference words from their own language to illustrate their pronunciation symbology, but I naively believed that the people who had invented all those weird and incomprehensible symbols had done so in order to get around that problem, and many others no doubt.

    I rather suspect the number and complexity of the IPA symbols would be an almost insurmountable obstacle to their use in this forum. Do any of you very wise and professionally-linguistic people speak IPA I wonder.

    Panj
    Hola Panj,

    As far as I know, just from reading messages throughout most of these forums, fewer than a half dozen foreros are regular users of the IPA symbols. Others of us have tinkered with them a little, but are by no means expert.

    As to whether they use any given dialect as a reference, I have to assume so, but also that the symbols are independent of dialects. That in itself reinforces Tim's issue. Example: IPA symbol---not a real one--might be "X", and an IPA course in AE would illustrate the X sound with a common AE pronunciation of an English word. However, a BE class on IPA symbology might use a different word to illustrate the sound represented by X, as the American pronunciation of the AE course example would be "wrong" to UK ears!
    Thus, the word "rather" might be written in different IPA symbols to show AE and BE pronunciations.
    We will take up this proposal to create a sub-forum at a near-term meeting of the Administrator and Mods, but in the meantime, I suggest that English pronunciation discussions should occur in the EN Only forum,
    and likewise for FR, IT, and German and Portuguese. For Spanish, Grammar seems just a tad closer than Vocabulary, but the latter attracts more participation, and there is no problem if a pronunciation question begins there.

    We will eventually get this all sorted out, I hope.

    cheers,
    Cuchu
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Cuchu,
    That all sounds wise:)
    As I thought about it yesterday I realised that to take on anything substantial in this area would be like starting to compile the OED - turning into a decades-long labour. There must, you would think, be other sources of the kind of "stuff" we're talking about.
    Thanks - Panj
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    panjandrum said:
    Cuchu,
    That all sounds wise:)
    As I thought about it yesterday I realised that to take on anything substantial in this area would be like starting to compile the OED - turning into a decades-long labour. There must, you would think, be other sources of the kind of "stuff" we're talking about.
    Thanks - Panj
    Hola Panj,

    Please don't take my stumbling explorations as a negative response to the idea... I don't know enough to have an opinion. Pronunciation and words have a curious habit of traveling together, so they belong in these forums.

    Questions include....do we need a pronunciation area for each language, or is this a topic for which a single foro should try to serve all comers, or do we use the existing forums for the occasional question about how things should and do sound? Also, is IPA the most useful standard or should we continue to have foreros "invent" their own examples? The latter is what often happens, and it seems to work, but IPA might be better.

    Pronunciation in Spanish is generally straightforward, with a limited number of vowels, and not too much variation in the way most words are pronounced. English is a dog's breakfast of variability. I look forward to reading and considering more ideas from fellow foreros about whether we need an additional forum or forums, or simply a suggested place among the current ones to discuss this.

    You say "tome ay toe" and I say "tome ah toe".........
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    hola cuchu
    cuchuflete said:
    Pronunciation in Spanish is generally straightforward, with a limited number of vowels, and not too much variation in the way most words are pronounced.
    True for a Spanish-speaker! I sing music from around the world in a small choir. One of our songs is in Puerto Rican Spanish. A few weeks ago we had the delight of having our Spanish Spanish pronunciation corrected - a lot - by a Venezuelan Spanish speaker from the audience. He ended up saying that really it didn't matter a great deal, smiled disarmingly, and left.

    English is a dog's breakfast of variability. .........
    I couldn't possibly argue with that - and my own local variants add a lot to the confusion:)
    I may get back to you on the harder questions later:D

    Panj
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    cuchuflete said:
    Hola Panj,

    Please don't take my stumbling explorations as a negative response to the idea... I don't know enough to have an opinion. Pronunciation and words have a curious habit of traveling together, so they belong in these forums.

    Questions include....do we need a pronunciation area for each language, or is this a topic for which a single foro should try to serve all comers, or do we use the existing forums for the occasional question about how things should and do sound? Also, is IPA the most useful standard or should we continue to have foreros "invent" their own examples? The latter is what often happens, and it seems to work, but IPA might be better.

    Pronunciation in Spanish is generally straightforward, with a limited number of vowels, and not too much variation in the way most words are pronounced. English is a dog's breakfast of variability. I look forward to reading and considering more ideas from fellow foreros about whether we need an additional forum or forums, or simply a suggested place among the current ones to discuss this.

    You say "tome ay toe" and I say "tome ah toe".........
    I think that IPA would be best. However, we would need a little note explaining to people that the symbols traditionally used in dictionaries to represent their language are not necessarily the same as those which describe the actual sound they make. Each language has developped its own tendencies for always representing certain sounds with certain symbols even if the pronunciation has moved on, or differs regionally.

    I wrote at length about this above, so I'll try to be more concise this time;) In brief I would say that we would need a small sound file accompanying each sound, so that we know what it sounds like.

    Otherwise you will have Brits describing writing "sad" as /saed/ to describe their own pronunciation whereas what they probably say is /sad/, it just won't have occurred to them before that the sound they use is not /ae/ since this is the symbol always used in dictionaries.
     

    supercrom

    Banned
    Homo peruvianus, practising AE n' learning BE

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Supercrom:
    Thanks!!!! There is SO much to look through and listen to.
    All those beautiful symbols.
    Like a kid with a new toy:)
    Though I may never find out how this one works.
    Panj
     
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