Re: Foreign pronunciation

1

Vowels are really tough when learning a language. Since the Spanish "o" is functionally the same as the English "o", even though they sound different, you can still be understood with the English "o". So why switch?

None of my 4 years of high school French were spent drilling us on phonetics. You had some kids continuing to say the English R, some saying the Spanish Rrrrrrrrr, some doing the actual French R (which when it shows up Arabic is transliterated as "gh"), etc. The teachers never really explained the difference between the "u" and "ou" sounds, even.

Keeping your native language's vowels is most of what makes a foreign accent a foreign accent, I think.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 10:57 AM
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Even if English has all the same sounds, they aren't likely to show up in the same combinations: "amigo", pronounced properly, isn't a set of sounds that might have been an English word but just doesn't happen to be, it's a really unlikely combination in English.

Something that never fails to crack me up is my kids speaking English, but encountering a Spanish loan-word, because they flip into Spanish-speaking mode and pronounce it properly, and it pops out against the background noise like you would not believe. "Guerilla", in the context of an English-language discussion of war, sounds really funny.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 10:58 AM
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Written instruction for spoken competency is a weird crutch for the reason you point out--it enforces generalization of native language habits, but in a class, you have to have something written to study from. But I think there's other stuff that also gets in people's way, a kind of reticence about making awkward sounds and also a kind of tone deafness. My mother can't pronounce other languages to save her life and I think it's the latter; she just doesn't hear it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:00 AM
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My pronunciation is terrible. French, German, Russian - they all sound very, very British. Hell, I can't even do an American accent and I was born there. I assume, though I've no evidence, that it's related to my musical tin ear. Though the problem isn't really hearing. I know how I'm supposed to say/sing it, I just have no idea how to produce those sounds consistently.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:01 AM
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2: I did not know your kids were TV News presenters!


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:02 AM
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I took a semester of Russian phonetics. That is some boring stuff (although I loved that professor), practicing sounds for an hour in a classroom. We had to draw tongue positions for homework.

In Moscow I was told my accent was very clean, but slightly Jewish (like my professor's, presumably). Now I never have any reason to speak Russian.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:02 AM
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LB's kids are news anchors.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:02 AM
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I'm convinced the being able to pronounce unfamiliar sounds is a native skill that people, past a certain age, either have or they do not have and it cannot be learned. I'm astounded by the number of otherwise brilliant people who are incapable of even simple mimicry when it comes to pronunciation. It's like a module of the brain is missing.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:03 AM
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Keeping your native language's vowels is most of what makes a foreign accent a foreign accent, I think.

For sure, but intonation also makes a surprisingly big difference in how foreign you sound. The phonetics class I had at IU one summer with Andy Richter's gay dad (I just always like saying that) made my Russian much, much better both through explaining regular changes like vowel reduction and through a fairly simple run through Russian intonation--albeit one that did not sufficiently focus on gender differences to prevent one classmate from calling his girlfriend, demonstrating his newfound skill in Intonational Counter 2 (interrogative), and having her say "Tony. Vy you are speaking like homosexual?"


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:05 AM
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LB's kids are news anchors.

Indeed.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:05 AM
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But I think there's other stuff that also gets in people's way, a kind of reticence about making awkward sounds

This, certainly. A couple of years ago I was trying to teach myself Spanish (Rosetta Stone software, children's books, neighbors. This did not work.), and I could not get past the feeling that a wholehearted attempt to get the accent right sounded as if I were making fun of the people I was talking to. Imitating sounds somehow feels theatrical, as if you're mimicking someone's mannerisms.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:06 AM
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Doing something that feels like making fun of French speakers is indeed a good way to improve one's French. I think I have discussed this with occasional poster JP who teaches languages. Exaggerate, pretend you're a parody of a Frenchman from a lousy movie. It will help.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:09 AM
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I remember seeing that advice in a travel guide once (Rick Steves? I think?). That when you don't share a language, it can be an aid to communication to take whatever scraps of the other guy's language you have, any likely cognates, and go into fullscale comedy imitation of a native speaker.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:14 AM
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Hearing one's own voice is a specialized skill that I don't seem to have. One of my brothers is very good at accents (everyone in Spain raved about his perfect Castilian accent when he was 11) and he's also good at impressions, and I'm terrible at both. It's probably also a key skill in singing (though we're both bad at that). In general his hearing is worse than mine, so it seems like it's different than just having good hearing.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:18 AM
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Oh boy do some people find that imitative process uncomfortable when learning Chinese.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:23 AM
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I've been told that I have a good accent in Spanish by people from Spain. I think the reflects a very deliberate effort on the part of my Spanish teachers to avoid Latin American Spanish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:28 AM
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Hell, I can't even do an American accent and I was born there.

Ginger, do you have a U.S. birth certificate? You can run for President. Everyone will think you're from, I dunno, the Outer Banks of North Carolina.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:31 AM
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I think I've said this before, but my primary spanish teacher (for 3 years) was a woman whose first language was Pakistani, whose second language was English, and whose third language was Spanish, but who had never actually been anywhere where Spanish was spoken natively (not even on vacation). So, needless to say, my Spanish accent is not very authentic.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:33 AM
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14: Yeah, I really can't tell the difference, but everyone says Sally's Spanish accent is much more native than Newt's, despite if anything more exposure for him than for her. It makes sense, from the beginning she's always been a better mimic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:33 AM
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It's probably just as well that I don't speak Spanish. If I was speaking it with people from my work, I'd mostly be hearing South American Spanish from Brazillian speakers, Castilian Spanish from southern Spanish (i.e. Andalusian/Extremaduran) speakers, Mexican Spanish from South American Spanish speakers and Mexican Spanish from Minnesotan adult learners.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:45 AM
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"Brazilian Portuguese speakers" rather.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:46 AM
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. . . from the beginning she's always been a better mimic.

This is still one of my favorite stories that you've posted about your kids.

[I have a terrible ear for accents, and have struggled horribly when trying to learn languages.]


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:48 AM
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My secondhand stereotype of Spanish accents is that if you have a choice of what to pick up in a Latin American Spanish accent, go Mexican. I've heard people from a bunch of countries make fun of each other, but generally non-Mexicans seem to think that Mexicans sound good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:49 AM
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9: intonation also makes a surprisingly big difference in how foreign you sound

Very true. My canonical example is Japanese, where an English speaker already knows most of the sounds and can be expected to be understood without too much trouble, but getting the pitch accent right is apparently very difficult.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 11:50 AM
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The only word I know in Japanese is "Ohio" and I pronounce it like the state because really nobody expects you to be able to speak Japanese if you're a white guy who isn't in Japan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:06 PM
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I've always had a good ear for languages and differences in sounds, but reproducing the vowels accurately has become harder as I've gotten older . French "in" vs "en" I can hear but becomes totally muddled in my mouth. This might be partially because I didn't learn French until I was in my mid-20s.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:06 PM
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The best way to get your Chinese accent right is to pretend you're having a vicious argument in song.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:08 PM
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Like Westside Story?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:09 PM
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Dammit, Mobypwned.

Chinese has way more velars than Westside Story.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:10 PM
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Chinese has way more velars than Westside Story.

Threepenny Opera?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:11 PM
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As much as Hello, Dolly will lead to mastery in Finnish.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:17 PM
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French is the foreign language I first learned as a kid, and I have a good non-localized French accent. I studied Italian one summer in Italy. When I was in Florence, I had a good accent. In Rome it was less good, because I couldn't keep my Florentine accent up amongst the Romans, but I didn't really speak with a Roman accent either.

I pronounce German words from the back of my throat, so I sound like a French person speaking German.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:17 PM
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32.last: In German, they call that, "ein Kollaborateur".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:20 PM
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We watched a youtube clip this weekend of Mary Martin doing Hello, Dolly in Tokyo and for some unknowable reason, at one point she unmistakably sings "Herrrrrro, Dolly!" and then does two verses in presumably rather bad Japanese.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:20 PM
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It's got to be harder for her get Japanese right if she is hearing impaired.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:27 PM
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||
Hey gswift, I went through a couple of pages here and didn't find a pic of you. Get on it!
|>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 12:56 PM
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I really can't put on the proper French accent, which has always driven me crazy. But I can't really do *any* accents, so I don't think it's foreign language specific. (I mean, I can't sound Texan, I can't sound Irish, or what have you.)

I've been really bothered lately because I keep overhearing relatively complicated conversations in French and understanding just fine, but cannot even begin to form a sentence on my own. I think I need to take some brush up classes.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 1:32 PM
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really, really, really


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 1:33 PM
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My father has such a terrible ear for language that he tried out a Rosetta Stone Spanish-language program, and it wouldn't pass him beyond "Hola." He also ended up cheating on his PhD language requirement after the fourth failure. After almost 45 years in the US, he retains an extraordinarily yokel Canadian accent.

I think another symptom of the whole problem is the fact that he cannot spell to save his life. If he can't get the spellchecker to guess the word, what he comes up with is amazing. In one email, he spelled the word "kayak" three different and bizarre ways ("kyuk," in one memorable case).


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 1:38 PM
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I've mentioned my father's rendition of 'maybe' as 'maby', right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 1:40 PM
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I screw up with spelling all the time, but there are some mistakes that reveal a different kind of mind at work.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 1:51 PM
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My pronunciation is terrible. ... I assume, though I've no evidence, that it's related to my musical tin ear.

This is me, which probably ought to stop me from doing karaoke but doesn't. My German accent was probably atrocious, but I think I gave off such a clear "will not improve" vibe that nobody really tried to correct me.

I can't pronounce my girlfriend's name right--I can't even pronounce it consistently (though I suppose I could if I just gave up and did the Americanized version)--and that's a real source of frustration (for me; I'm pretty sure she's used to everyone mangling it). If only I'd learned to roll my Rs as a kid! Sigh.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 1:53 PM
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36: "Cuffs, check. Taser, check. Radio, check. Sidearm, check. Piglet, check"


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 1:58 PM
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If only I'd learned to roll my Rs

"Sorry baby, I produced alveolar approximants a lot as a kid."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 2:09 PM
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I guess I have a pseud appropriate to this thread. Anyway, of the languages I've taken and attempted to speak* with native speakers, French has always given me the most pronunciation problems. Mostly it's the damned 'r' but also getting used to combinations of letters that produce only one sound and not the sound I expected. With a lot of "qu" words I remember saying things like "quand" and "quai" and thinking, "I probably wouldn't understand that these words are the words being spoken if I weren't the one speaking them, but I'm glad that you, French speaker, appear to understand what I'm saying."

With Spanish, I managed to develop a decent accent at a young age and the result later in life when I still kind of retained that accent but not much of the language was I'd get answers to questions way beyond my ability to comprehend, probably on the assumption that I actually knew more Spanish than I did.

*By speak, I don't mean conversation mostly. Just trying to be understood, as in asking directions and stuff.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 3:28 PM
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I'm not very good at accents either (though my French has gotten slightly better since I adopted the exaggerate-like-crazy approach).

I aspire to be her (or maybe him).


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 3:31 PM
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I think another symptom of the whole problem is the fact that he cannot spell to save his life. If he can't get the spellchecker to guess the word, what he comes up with is amazing.

I also find this is strongly correlated to the inability to hear and mimic language sounds. If you're missing the spoken language module, you are also missing the spelling module.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 3:39 PM
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I dunno, I may be evidence against the "there's just some part of your brain that some people have/have developed and others haven't."

I didn't start learning (spoken) foreign languages until I was an adult. My Spanish accent is identifiably American but actually not bad. I've always felt comfortable speaking it, and only once in 15 years not been able to make myself understood. Even after going from Mexican to Spanish to Argentinean professors (!) in my first three semesters of Spanish.

When it comes to French and German, I can hear the accent just fine but I can't reproduce it.

But Vietnamese and Mandarin -- wow. I am just unbelievably, unbelievably awful. Like, having practiced a lot to try to get some names right and STILL not even able to hear the difference in those one or two words, much less reproduce it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 4:17 PM
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I am pretty sure I have told this story before, but whenever I speak Mandarin to my colleague from Taiwan, she giggles, covers her mouth, and peeps, "You're so cute! You speak just like a man!" I found this fairly disconcerting until I asked another woman colleague from Beijing if she and our Taiwanese colleague had spoken together. She said, "Only once, because she kept giggling that I sounded too much like a man." I thought maybe it was a Taiwanese thing, but I keep finding recordings of women speaking--AFAICT--roughly the way I do. Our Beijinger colleague has a slight Beijinger accent, which I don't share, but I think maybe we both exaggerate tones?

Due to the professors and friends I had when I was young, I speak very Chilean or Argentinian Spanish, and struggle to be mutually intelligible to more northern Latin American people.

My French is incomprehensible in Quebec, but got me around in Belgium. My German is just wretched, but if everyone concentrates really hard, I can obtain off-the-menu breakfast at a cafe.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 4:58 PM
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McManus must be loving this quote from Rahm Emanuel, in a piece from America's most odious columnist:

"We always said that there'd be a day when all that the federal government does is debt service, entitlement payments and defense. Well, folks, that day is here. So, federal support for after-school programs has shrunk. We added to ours, but I had to figure out where to get the money. The federal government is debating what to do with community colleges. We've already converted ours to focus on skills development and career-based education. I worked for two great presidents, but this is the best job I've had in public service."

Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 5:07 PM
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There are definitely some sounds that I just can't produce: the sound-that-lies-between-L-and-R in Japanese, and rolling R's. (I'm really disappointed about the rolling R's.)

On the other hand, my French and Mandarin pronunciation is pretty decent; I just don't know enough damn words.

As a side note, it's weird having a Chinese name while being primarily English-speaking and culturally American. It's just begging for people to misread you. Moreover, this name doesn't have the usual properties of letting other people address you and remember you. Instead it has other properties, such as being poetic! I can't decide if it is worth it.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 5:21 PM
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I studied phonetics and phonology for 4 years, but I already had a fairly good ear for accents and sounds before that, so I tend to be fairly good at imitating pronunciation.* I've been told by speakers of other languages a couple of times that my accent in their language [French, Czech, etc] is good. I'm not fluent in any of those languages, so I don't sound native, and while I'm sure I sound foreign-ish I don't have an obvious thick 'foreign' accent when I try to speak them. My Czech 'r-with-hacek' is inconsistent, though. It probably helps being Scottish, as I have a fairly full range of monophthongal vowel sounds [unlike Americans, and English English, as per previous threads past], and can pronounce /r/** and /x/ [as in loCH], which gets you a fair way in other Euro languages. I'm not good with aspirated vowel sounds, though, as in some Indian languages, where I can't consistently hear/pronounce them.

When I'm doing touristy things I can usually combine a faked confidence, decent first approximation at pronunciation, and a tiny vocabulary just enough to lead to lots of embarrassment as I have to backtrack after ordering something, and explain that no, I don't speak the language at all, so please speak English.


re: 49

When I had Spanish flatmates [one Valencian, one Basque], they told me that the Argentinian accent was the sexiest, fwiw.

* I can't sing at all, though.
** and other 'r' sounds - I could, if paying attention pronounce the difference between 'perro' and 'pero' in Spanish, for example. Trilled r versus alveolar flap, I think.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 6:14 PM
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Sounds I can't ever quite get the hang of: Chinese "r" as in "ren." Georgian q as in "baqaqi ts'qalshi qiqinebs." The first sound in French "huit." Also with French, though I think my accent's alright, I'm never totally sure about my nasal vowels. Supposedly the range of them is demonstrated by "un bon vin blanc" but I can't make those four distinct from one another.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 6:27 PM
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51.last: I don't know much Mandarin, ok, pretty much any Mandarin, so it's probably good I don't go by my Chinese name. Also, in dealing with official documents I've found that this state doesn't handle my name very well:

"We're sorry, but our equipment is unable to reproduce a dash in a name."

"Who's that other name on your car registration? They'll have to sign too." "That's my middle name."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 6:34 PM
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53.--At one point, I finally managed to master all the French vowels. I can still pass your "un bon vin blanc" test, but I'm not sure I can off-the-cuff pass the dirtier cou--queue--cul test. At the end of the day, though, I'm really not sure the agony and the years spend were worth it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 6:39 PM
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55: I'm sure you could. I can still pass both, and I'm pretty sure your accent's better than mine.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 7:21 PM
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I was kind of flattered when someone told me my French accent sounded Canadian until I remembered the most of Canada is not Francophone. I probably sound like I'm from Saskatoon.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 7:24 PM
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I once had a server at a Korean restaurant gush on and on about how authentic my chopsticks technique was. You'd better believe I swelled with pride for years after that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 7:30 PM
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When I took classes in Spanish and German the teachers seemed to think my accent was pretty good. But I don't really feel like I'm that good at picking up sounds. I had an hour-long conversation a year or so ago with two Chinese people, one of whose names started with (pinyin) 'zh' and one with 'j', with them trying repeatedly to explain to me (and one other non-Chinese person) how the sounds are distinct and with us totally failing to reproduce the right sounds. I could kinda hear the difference, but couldn't pronounce it at all.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 7:49 PM
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My chopsticks technique is so wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 7:50 PM
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Although with "the teachers seemed to think my accent was pretty good" it might just be that the bar was set really, really low by a lot of other people in those classes. On the first day or whatever of German class I thought it was really weird that people were rendering 'ich habe' as "ick hab-AY" (hab almost like 'have' in English), but the same people were still doing that at the end of two quarters.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 7:53 PM
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Also, given how often people in restaurants or coffee shops or whatever write down the wrong thing when I tell them my name, I suspect I can't even pronounce English correctly.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:04 PM
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Recently I've been "Al" and "Mel," for instance.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:07 PM
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I read 59 and thought I knew those distinctions and then I watched a youtube video and no I do not know q from ch &c.

I feel like I got another funny variation on my name at a Dominican business recently but I can't remember what it was.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:07 PM
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I'm generally pretty good at the mimicry aspect of learning languages. I've never been able to master the Spanish r and rr, though. Or the German r, actually. Rhotics are hard!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:11 PM
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... laydeez


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:15 PM
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Alveolar? I hardly know 'er!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:18 PM
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I guess that would have worked better with "velar."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:19 PM
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68: that's what she said!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:19 PM
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I'm reminded of the time at a quizbowl tournament (shut up) when some guy was getting really exasperated with everyone's failure to pronounce his name correctly and shouted really angrily "It's a velar fricative!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:25 PM
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Surprisingly, this did not make us all suddenly able to pronounce his name.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:26 PM
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"Fantastic", Tom began labiodentally.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:28 PM
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What do you mean? Voiced or voiceless velar fricative?


Posted by: King Arthur | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 8:30 PM
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In a professional group setting, I met a woman from Thailand who introduced herself as Ph/rae*: three sounds in a row that don't remotely exist in English, but that collapse into formless mush if you can't make each of them precise. Everyone botched it. My attempts at pronunciation felt like unconscionable childish mockery; hopefully it didn't sound that way to her. (Actually it sounded like trying to say "flail" or "fail" without moving my tongue.)

*Googleproofing, not a diacritic mark or anything.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 9:04 PM
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I'm reminded of the time at a quizbowl tournament (shut up) when some guy was getting really exasperated with everyone's failure to pronounce his name correctly and shouted really angrily "It's a velar fricative!"

You know what's a fun game? You pull out your copy of The Phonetic Symbol Guide and open to a random page, reading the description of place & manner of articulation and whatnot, then attempt to make the sound.

Totally fun!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 9:06 PM
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I have decent-ish German pronunciation, I think (Blume may be able to confirm or dispute this), except for those blasted rs.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 9:08 PM
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I can say "glass". It doesn't hurt me.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 9:59 PM
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Whoa, there's a special German R? I guess my accent is worse than I thought. Goddammit.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 10:06 PM
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The exact realization of German /r/ varies by dialect, but the "standard" version is a uvular trill. This is a very unusual sound cross-linguistically, and I at least find it an very difficult sound to pronounce.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-29-13 10:44 PM
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re: 75

Teofilo has studied this things much more recently than me, but when I did phonetics in an old school British style we had one class that was basically that. For a year. Small tutorial group classes, working through all the various sounds in isolation and combination. The really tricky ones are things like implosive consonants, applying or not applying creaky voice, and so on.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 12:02 AM
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I didn't have anything like 80 in my coursework; that's very much the traditional British approach to phonetics. My phonetics courses were much more focused on acoustic analysis using various software tools. It was really interesting stuff.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 12:11 AM
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a woman whose first language was Pakistani

I expect you mean Urdu. Possibly Punjabi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Pashto or Balochi?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 1:13 AM
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I read somewhere that younger French people are conflating their nasal vowels so that all of them except 'on' end up as some sort of mid-vowel regardless of spelling. I don't know if that's actually universal, or a class thing or regional or what.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 1:17 AM
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I once had a server at a Korean restaurant gush on and on about how authentic my chopsticks technique was.

If you use chopsticks in the authentic Korean way (Mrs y does this), Chinese people will tend to mock you mercilessly.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 1:20 AM
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I am pretty sure I have told this story before, but whenever I speak Mandarin to my colleague from Taiwan, she giggles, covers her mouth, and peeps, "You're so cute! You speak just like a man!"

This could well just be a question of pitch and volume - I have a (female) Taiwanese friend who, although she appears to be terribly polite, reserved, well-spoken etc to us Knifecrimers, apparently comes across to her fellow Taiwanese as incredibly butch because she speaks at a contralto rather than a kind of six-year-old hypersoprano.

it's weird having a Chinese name while being primarily English-speaking and culturally American

...complained Robert E. Lee.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 1:22 AM
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re: 81

We did some of the computer based 'acoustical' stuff, too, but I finished my first degree 17 years ago, so that work was still fairly cutting edge and was a separate and shorter course. The core training was the practical type class described [plus practical classes on transcription], plus separate courses on phonological theory, history of phonology, etc.

We've discussed it before, but while it's all crap now and replaced by computational/analytical work, at least nominally I was trained in the cardinal vowels via direct lineage from Jones. Which, at one time anyway, in the old-school British system, was how one was supposed to learn them. Via direct instruction from someone who knew the canonical forms. In my case, via Mike MacMahon. Who does interesting stuff, e.g. forensic phonetics.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 2:27 AM
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re: 83

I read something yesterday [after reading this thread] that claimed something similar. That the four nasal vowel sounds in 'un bon vin blanc' are being assimilated to three in a lot of accents (but not in Belgium or Quebec).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 2:32 AM
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That the four nasal vowel sounds in 'un bon vin blanc' are being assimilated to three in a lot of accents (but not in Belgium or Quebec).

Sounds like the French equivalent of merry/marry/Mary.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 3:23 AM
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the Argentinian accent was the sexiest

I would agree as a general rule, with the caveat that dating (and breaking up with) an Argentine can greatly diminish the appeal.

The least-sexy accent in Spanish is Puerto Rican.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 4:39 AM
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I've seen a few papers in the past couple of years indicating/demonstrating that musical skill and/or training correlates with ability to recognize both lexical tone (like in Mandarin) and prosodic tone (like, is that a question or a statement), but only for second-language learners.

I haven't seen anything associating accent in general to musical ability and it seems to me like they would be likely to be very different skills, but who knows. Brains are weird.

I also was just talking to someone about the huge differences in the maintenance of 'hearing' accents by late-deafened people, and whether or not musical skill & training has any impact on that. Our main pieces of evidence were me and Evelyn Glennie. We'll write that up any minute now.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 4:40 AM
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90, roughly, to some earlier comments that I didn't look up the numbers of but said things about music and accent.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 4:41 AM
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Also, on the OP: It's confusing to me that they don't repeat a word as it was said, but rather pass it through some flattening American filter.

This seems to be an important part of language acquisition- babies go through a stage where they can tell the difference between all kinds of different speech sounds, and then they stop. This makes sense if you think of it in terms of cognitive load and efficiency- if people are only speaking American English to you, it doesn't make sense for you to waste energy paying attention to all the insignificant variations in Os* that you might hear. You just need to identify it as an O and move on.

Then later when you hear words in another language that has different category boundaries and/or a different exemplar for what you think of as O, you have a really hard time hearing the difference (if you need to make a distinction that you're not used to) and producing the sound (because your mouth is not used to moving like that).

*The English one is actually a dipthong (/oʊ/)and the Spanish one isn't, is the main difference.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:07 AM
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Aha: are there regional accents in sign language? In the sense that you can say "This person is using ASL, but I can tell from the way they use it that they learned it in this region, or from this institution"?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:14 AM
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My Mandarin accent sounds really good to people who don't speak Chinese. I maintain that I speak the platonic ideal of Chinese, uncontaminated by any actual use.

I agree that the pinyin "r" is the toughest sound. It doesn't help that different speakers pronounce it wildly differently: my friend from Henan says it like a "zh" with the tongue further forward, my friend from Xi'an, more or less like English.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:18 AM
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Yes, but this is understudied still. That is, people can and do say they can recognize regional and temporal variations, but nobody's figured out what it is they are recognizing, yet. (this is partly what my research is aiming towards, although right now I'm just figuring out how to talk about the phonetic details at all)


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:19 AM
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(although by hearing accent I meant, speaking voices not sounding deaf, up in 90)


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:21 AM
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Huh. Interesting. It's nothing as simple as "they tend to use this sign for 'car' whereas most people use that one" then.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:23 AM
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Well, there is that, but I wouldn't really call that an accent.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:25 AM
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I can't sign, but I did learn to be very careful how to signal the number 2 when in the U.K.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:26 AM
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the sound-that-lies-between-L-and-R in Japanese

Just the Spanish single-r, i.e., a flap. Lots of people can't seem to believe it's that simple. Of course it took me a while to become aware of the flapping of the intervocalic t and d in American English.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:30 AM
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I went to a Japanese restaurant in Paris whose menu listed many different types of lamen. I found that very interesting.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:33 AM
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When my French accent was at its best, before it atrophied from years of neglect, Parisians on several occasions mistook my accent as being German rather than American. Never figured out what was up with that.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 6:38 AM
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I was so thrown off by how hearing your accent was when we first met that I actually thought I'd somehow mixed up which commenter was in town.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:12 AM
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100: Our spanish teacher told us that it's like the 'd' in "teddy" and I always found that a semi-brilliant way to make the point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:13 AM
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Argentinians sound Italian.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:15 AM
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re: 100/104

Yeah, the Spanish single-r and the American flapped uniconsonant are the same basic thing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:18 AM
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103: This turns out to be really problematic for me when I am trying to get people to provide accommodations.

I also realized, recently, that I don't really have a clear idea of what a "deaf voice" actually sounds like, because by the time I started hanging out with deaf people I was too deaf to really hear them.

Anyway, right, apparently I don't sound deaf. But some people with similar backgrounds do. Maybe my voice will change more when I've been deaf even longer? But, Evelyn Glennie.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:18 AM
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The English one is actually a dipthong (/oʊ/)and the Spanish one isn't, is the main difference.

Speak for yourself, white man.*

* Tonto joke.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:21 AM
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107.1: That would completely not surprise me -- I don't know that many deaf people, but of the three I can think of offhand, not counting you, they've all sounded unambiguously deaf, and you don't at all. If I didn't know you, and we were talking about accommodations, there's a very good chance that I'd spend a confused couple of minutes trying to figure out who the deaf person was that you were talking about needing accommodations for.

Do you have a lot of musical training, or is the interesting thing that your accent hasn't changed despite not having musical training?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:25 AM
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The Heebie's kids' English one is actually a dipthong

better?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:26 AM
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I do have a lot of musical training, but also I didn't start to lose my hearing until high school. I'm not likely to end up sounding canonically deaf (whatever that is) because I internalized all the muscle movements involved with making English phonemes ahead of time. Late-deaf people don't usually sound deaf-deaf, but they sometimes (but not always) sound different than hearing people.

(I generally don't talk, actually, other than with hearing friends & immediate family. If I'm in a work-related setting or at a grocery store or doctor's office whatever, I sign/gesture/write.)


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:29 AM
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Diphthong. There have been protests when kids are marketed dipthongs.

94: I think the variability in Mandarin "r" makes it a more forgiving phoneme. My hangups are being able to consistently determine aspiration and distinguishing the zh/ch/sh series from the j/q/x one. I usually think of zh, q, and x as "easy" sounds, j and ch as hard ones, and sh as a tricksy one that I need to be careful with in some contexts but can usually handle. It annoys me that my mind isn't even consistent with which parts it finds hard.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:32 AM
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merry/marry/Mary

I think I'm able to produce this distinction now, just in time to move to the regions where everyone joins the merries into one big Mary.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:32 AM
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Obviously age of hearing loss is going to play a big role here, as people tend to not change their accent after a certain age (say if they move to a new country). I can't find numbers, but my vague impression was that hearing loss between the ages of 5 and 50 was relatively uncommon which on its own would explain why deaf people with hearing accents were rare.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:35 AM
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Not only did I fail to find any numbers I got pwned well looking. Double fail.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:37 AM
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I'm wondering if ch/q is roughly the same as č/ć in Serbian/Croatian. I guess this is probably easy to look up.

A retired linguistics prof who is sometimes on our pub trivia team mentioned to me that Caribbean Spanish has l/r confusion. I had never noticed it but almost immediately saw a sign in a restaurant that had some word demonstrating that the person who wrote it wasn't hearing the distinction in a standard way. "Mesela" or something.

Messily, does the mention of "maintenance" mean that it's a matter of effort retaining a hearing accent?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:43 AM
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I just meant, that we all (all us late-deaf people) used to have hearing accents, back when we were hearing, and some of us still do. Not that anyone necessarily works at it.

Some people do do speech therapy. I haven't, but also I study phonetics, so I probably spend more time than most people thinking about exactly what I'm doing with my mouth when I talk.

I do sometimes get volume and voice onset wrong, I think. Or anyway I sometimes do something(s) that makes it hard for people to understand me.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:49 AM
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116: A quick look at the respective phonology pages on Wikipedia says that Serbo-Croatian č is /t͡ʃ/, which isn't in Chinese. But that's just English ch, isn't it? ć is /t͡ɕ/ which is Chinese j; if it was aspirated, it'd be Chinese q. On the other hand, Serbo-Croatian c is Chinese z, or Chinese c if aspirated.

Assuming I'm reading these IPA charts right. I get the fricatives and affricates from that part of the mouth mixed up, especially when aspiration is phonemic.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:52 AM
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(Of course every use of "Chinese" in 118 should be either "Mandarin" or "pinyin" as appropriate.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 7:54 AM
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I've been trying to change how I say my first name so that people can understand it (basically lowering the o). But since I haven't studied phonetics and am bad at accents I haven't been very successful.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:00 AM
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Unfawgettarian?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:04 AM
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Heh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:06 AM
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ć is /t͡ɕ/ which is Chinese j; if it was aspirated, it'd be Chinese q.

I thought Chinese J was voiced.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:07 AM
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100: Our spanish teacher told us that it's like the 'd' in "teddy" and I always found that a semi-brilliant way to make the point.

For a long time my response to that would have been "Huh? Teddy has a 'd' in the middle." Lots of people cling to spelling-based understandings of pronunciation.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:12 AM
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123: Most Mandarin consonants are distinguished not by voicing but by aspiration; see the relevant chart. Hindi's the same way. This is maddening to native English speakers (or at least me) since aspiration and voicing are so strongly tied in English. It's a big part of my accent problem.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:15 AM
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120: Is your first name not pronounced the way that spelling is usually pronounced?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:24 AM
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It is, but in my accent people think it rhymes with Ella.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:33 AM
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"The North Midland and South Midland are both characterized by having a distinctly fronter realization of the /oʊ/ phoneme (as in boat) than many other American accents, particularly those of the North; the phoneme is frequently realized with a central nucleus, approximating [əʊ]. "


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:36 AM
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112 I usually think of zh, q, and x as "easy" sounds, j and ch as hard ones

Huh. The people trying to explain in the conversation I was mentioning in 59 were pretty sure that 'j' was the same sounds as in English but 'zh' was a different sound. This is wrong?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 8:55 AM
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It's a reasonable approximation. The English "j" is voiced and post-alveolar; the Chinese "j" is voiceless and alveolar-palatal. English doesn't have any alveolar-palatals and Chinese doesn't have any post-alveolars, but they're similar to each other. Chinese also doesn't distinguish its "j" by voice with anything else (although English "j" is distinguished from "ch" by voice). So it's close enough that you'll probably be understood, but it's not quite identical to the standard pronunciation.

Maybe I think "zh" is easier since it clearly sounds different and I put a lot of effort into getting the retroflexes (or at least their retroflexness) right. Especially because the copula ("shi") has a retroflex initial.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 9:06 AM
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"It's a velar fricative!"

There are a lot of good potential pseuds in this thread, but I think Velar Fricative is my favorite.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 9:44 AM
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80: I read the Wikipedia entry but I still have no idea what creaky voice is.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 9:49 AM
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I miss linguistics, though I never got very far. I wish instead of having ridden in a blaze of failure out of a PhD program in Slavic languages (with a focus on linguistics) I had run screaming out of a plain old linguistics PhD.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 9:50 AM
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Youtube will help a lot more with creaky voice than Wikipedia.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 9:51 AM
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You might have to use "vocal fry" as your search term.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 9:51 AM
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131 -- On Salish road signs, this is given as X to the W.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 9:59 AM
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Which I consider incomputable, but that's probably racist.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 10:02 AM
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This is enlightening, on the vocal fry thing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 10:07 AM
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People actually talk that way? I thought it was only the characters in Clueless and Mean Girls.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 10:22 AM
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Come visit! We'll hang out in Murray Hill. We will hear so much vocal fry you will have to order a shake to go with it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 10:26 AM
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For a long time my response to that would have been "Huh? Teddy has a 'd' in the middle." Lots of people cling to spelling-based understandings of pronunciation.

Of course, in some parts of the world, it does.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 12:00 PM
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139: It's my native dialect. I mean, I don't actually speak that way very often, but if I'm speaking with certain friends, a minor form of it definitely comes out. I've notice that very affectedly posh girls here do it as well. (And they stretch out their vowels so much they basically sound American.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 1:18 PM
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I still like you anyway, ().

I almost watched a video clip of Kim Kardashian, who's apparently an exemplar of vocal fry, but I don't know what any of the Kardashians sound like or which is which and I'd like to keep it that way.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 1:31 PM
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Reading 142 in the vocal style illustrated in 138 adds a ceartin something to it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 1:31 PM
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but I don't know what any of the Kardashians sound like or which is which and I'd like to keep it that way.

Good thing you don't need to pass a citizenship test!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 2:12 PM
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I'm not *that* bad. Just some minor vocal frying, really.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07-30-13 2:57 PM
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146: Just a vocal stir fry.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07-31-13 6:43 AM
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That the four nasal vowel sounds in 'un bon vin blanc' are being assimilated to three in a lot of accents (but not in Belgium or Quebec).

Huh. I always thought that un and vin had the same sound. My American accent in French varies wildly in intensity, as does my Swiss one. I've never been sure why. But yeah, vowels are hard. My dad's vowels in English are ridiculously off. My mom is better but she still has problems, e.g. cup and cap are pronounced the same.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-31-13 12:26 PM
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Send her to ask for a ball cap.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-31-13 12:28 PM
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Huh. I always thought that un and vin had the same sound.

"Un" is closer to "ung" as in "hung", and "vin" closer to the sound in "hang". It's "bon" and "blanc" that sound very similar to me...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 2:24 AM
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150: That's really bizarre to me, because when I say "blanc," I feel it more in the back of my throat than I do when I say "bon."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 2:34 AM
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151 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 2:34 AM
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151: no, I can tell the difference, and you're right - I just meant that it's easier for me to imagine confusing "bon" and "blanc" than "un" and "vin".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 2:59 AM
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I tend to think of them by thinking of cardinal vowels and then adding the 'haw-hee-haw' nasal element.

Long discussion here:

http://phonetic-blog.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/french-nasalized-vowels.html


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 3:24 AM
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If I'm reading 154 right -- not knowing much about French or phonetics, maybe I'm not -- it supports teraz in that there's a trend toward merging the "un" and "vin" vowels, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 4:24 AM
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155- I don't think so. Unless it happens in the comments, there's no discussion of a merger in that post.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 5:52 AM
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I guess I could read the comments.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 5:52 AM
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Never read the comments.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 5:53 AM
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These comments are pretty okay! And they do discuss dialects (Parisian, it sounds like) that merge [ɛ̃] and [œ̃].


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 6:02 AM
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Way back to the OP, I took French in 2 different school systems, as well as German in the second system. In all 3 cases, we were taught the same way: each section was introduced with filmstrips and recordings that we were to parrot, precisely on the premise that this would prevent us reading the foreign words with American accents.

And it was a complete failure for me, because I don't have that kind of ear. Unless the pronunciation is quite crisp, I can't hear unfamiliar words in French, German, or English. I have to deal with new last names on the phone all the time, and I'm usually stumped - if they're at all uncommon, or the speaker is at all garbled, I basically hear gibberish. Meanwhile, especially in German, if I read an unfamiliar word, I can usually pronounce it pretty well the first time (both now, after marrying into a German family, and way back in German I). And what's odd is that, even though I'm a terrible mimic* and an awful singer**, my accents are pretty passable (if I say so myself). I have no idea how this suite of characteristics comes into play, but it does make immersion-type experiences challenging.

I'd add here that my approach to communicating with AB's German & Austrian relatives is pretty much what was endorsed way up above: use the vocab that I know, infill with guesses at cognates, and tie it together the best that I can with an accent. AB marvels at it because she's actually more reticent than I, because she's aware of, and frustrated by, all the German she's lost (she was nigh-fluent at 22 with an impeccable accent), so she's actually less chatty than I am, even though she's hearing more of the conversation than I do.

*frex, I can't do any Brit or American accents; it took me almost 10 years in Pittsburgh even to be able to plausibly mock the Pittsburgh accent. OTOH, I'm very good at doing Kai's distinctive speech patterns, which have oddly placed pauses - I guess I can hear the rhythm, not the vowels

**although I'm more musical than I thought, as I think I've mentioned. When my grandfather's piano came to our house and Iris started taking lessons, I followed along, and it was much easier than I'd expected (I never took a single lesson). It's possible that, if I had a broader vocal range, I'd be a passable singer


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 6:06 AM
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Best sentence from the comments:

"It certainly does not follow from that that the allegro preconsonantal denasalized allomorph would become established as canonical, any more than bon appétit has led to bo' voyage!"

ZING.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 6:28 AM
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Admit it, you knew I would be here.


Posted by: OPINIONATED BO VOYAGE | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 6:29 AM
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I am prepared to die in the last ditch if necessary to prevent the canonisation of an alleged proconsular denasalised allosaur. WHO'S WITH ME?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 6:34 AM
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an alleged proconsular denasalised allosaur.

Nosebirds are not boogersaurs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 6:35 AM
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I say I say I say!
My allosaur has no nose!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 6:38 AM
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163: This thread is full of words I don't understand and wouldn't be able to remember the definitions of if I looked them up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 6:40 AM
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Bo nose voyage.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 7:08 AM
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"Un" is closer to "ung" as in "hung", and "vin" closer to the sound in "hang". It's "bon" and "blanc" that sound very similar to me...

I pronounce both more like 'hung'. Pronouncing 'vin' closer to 'hang' is something I associate with some non standard French regional accents (Where non-standard means anything that isn't either standard issue educated French/Parisian or Genevan.) I just spent two weeks in the mountains just north of the Cote d'Azur and I noticed the locals doing that. I seem to remember that the Quebecois do as well. On the other hand 'bon' and blanc' don't sound at all similar to me.

NB, for anyone thinking of hiking in Europe this year - way more snow than usual. We had massive snow patches below 2000m in certain areas, and pretty much everything above 2500, even in the most exposed south facing areas, was completely snowed in. The northern Alps are predictably worse. A piolet would have been nice to have in a couple places - using your bare hand as an ersatz one to down climb a steep patch is painful even if the snow is soft.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08- 1-13 11:30 AM
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166: "allosaur" is basically just a general term for T Rex.

You're welcome.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 2-13 3:53 PM
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166: "allosaur" is basically just a general term for T Rex.

You're welcome.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08- 2-13 3:53 PM
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