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Native speakers wanted!


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Native speakers wanted! #16 (permalink) Mon Sep 01, 2008 16:48 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

stew.t. wrote:
As for mumbling Ralf, care to point out the mumbling that causes incomprehension?
You know my speech is not unaccented or clear as a bell, but I don´t fake a stronger accent for effect either. :shock:

Hi Stew,

I only listened to the first 20 seconds of your blip.

Of course you didn't fake it for effect, I was only trying to point to difficulties learners might encounter when listening to your recording. Can you not hear yourself slurring your words?
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Native speakers wanted! #17 (permalink) Mon Sep 01, 2008 17:52 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

Hi All

I agree with Alan that Stew did a good job of making the recording interesting.

I think what Ralf referred to as "mumbling" was simply the sort of natural speech that a NNS is likely to encounter in real life. Too many recordings designed for ESL present the learner with unrealistic and/or artificial examples of natural speech. In my opinion, exposure to various accents and varying types of enunciation can only help an ESL student prepare for using and listening to English outside the language lab.

Slowing speech down somewhat in a text that gives instructions, for example, is fine. Slightly slower speech may also be desirable for beginners. However, even in texts that are read a little more slowly and perhaps enunciated a little more clearly than ususal, I don't think the way words are linked in normal speech should be lost.

Martin's recording was also nice. I'd be interested in knowing how he would categorize his accent.
.
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Native speakers wanted! #18 (permalink) Mon Sep 01, 2008 18:00 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

Stew just has unusual prosody and a couple of regional vowel pronunciations, and it's not really that he's slurring his words (at least in his mind or mine). Things just don't fall together with the rhythm that most foreign learners or native speakers would expect. Notice that the American man has a moment or two of that also.

However, because Stew's pronunciation is so different from the General American or RP usually used in textbook recordings, his speech could be confusing to foreign learners if there's nothing to read along with. So much for the frequent claim of students with bad listening comprehension that "British English" is easier to understand. :D

Stew's recording reminds me of a podcast I found for learning Spanish. My reaction upon first listening to the speaker was, "I can't understand WHAT the hell this woman is saying!" Listening to her while reading the transcript made me realize she was Argentinean, and I decided to pay for a subscription to the podcast so that I could get all the materials and really learn to understand that accent. However, it wasn't two months before the management yanked that lady and replaced her with two crystal-clear Mexican speakers. The whole thing lost its advantage for me!

It's interesting to notice that the two Americans have pronunciation that displays what is called the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. It is most noticeable when they pronounce [æ] as [iə], so cat would be something like [kiət]. This is very common, but it's not standard broadcast pronunciation.
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Native speakers wanted! #19 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:55 am   Native speakers wanted!
 

Hi guys, and thanks for the feedback.

Yankee, I honestly do not know how to categorize my accent. I don't usually speak the way I did in the recording, I just sorta scrubbed it clean. My normal accent's a mix of different regions, most probably because I grew up with different people (Black, Hispanic, Californians, New Yorkers and Texans).

Jamie, uhm I'm actually not American. I'm Filipino :).
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Native speakers wanted! #20 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:47 am   Native speakers wanted!
 

stew.t. wrote:
Hi

Thks Alan for your compliments, flattery gets you everywhere.

As for mumbling Ralf, care to point out the mumbling that causes incomprehension?
You know my speech is not unaccented or clear as a bell, but I don´t fake a stronger accent for effect either. :shock:

Hi Stew,

Thanks a lot for your taking part in this project. I think your recording sounds pretty natural and that's what makes listening to it so interesting. The big drawback of the vast ESL audio materials is that they are usually artificial. That's why you hear students say the following all the time: "I learned English at school for 7 years but I don't understand much because I was taught 'school English'." Now, our goal is to produce materials that feature authentic speech rather than "ESL speech". You are an educated native speaker who runs his own company. If somebody doesn't understand you, they have to listen to the recording again. That's what's going to happen in 'real life'. Let's say you are a German who finds a job in the US or the UK. Would you really expect from everyone you get in contact with to start speaking excatly the way all those people on your ESL materials spoke? In other words, if you don't understand native speakers you shouldn't blame them. Blame yourself and improve your listening skills.

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Native speakers wanted! #21 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:44 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

martino wrote:
My normal accent's a mix of different regions, most probably because I grew up with different people (Black, Hispanic, Californians, New Yorkers and Texans).
Thanks for the feedback, Martin. That's an interesting mix. :D
.
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Native speakers wanted! #22 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 13:30 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

Ralf wrote:
Hi,

The sound quality of all three clips can easily be improved by using software filters, but I think the only suitable recording (for learners) so far was Brandee's. I also think that Stew hasn't yet exploited his full auditory phonetics potential since I know for a fact that he doesn't usually mumble all that much :).

I think that Brandee's record is ideal for beginners, I concur with Amy that she's treacherously easy to understand.
On the contrary, Stew's speech is closer to reality, he sounded like a British person to me. People sometimes speak much more unintelligibly. For example, not long ago I listened to the comedy "Office" (a British comedy, and there's a link to it on youtube somewhere on this forum), and with frustration I realised I could not understand everything, even after playing back a few times.
I hold that as a learner learns more and more about the language, he/she needs to take up more difficult assignments, listen to more "unintelligible" speech.
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Native speakers wanted! #23 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 13:37 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

Hi Alex,

I think you find "British English" more difficult to understand because you primarily have been exposed to American English. For example, if you google "Amy MacDonald interview", you will find a youtube clip that features two speakers of Scottish English which might sound very unusual and "unintelligible" to you. But this dialect is not unintelligible to other native speakers of English at all because they get much more exposure to a variety of accents than an average ESL learner.

Let me know what you think.
Спасибо,
Torsten

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Native speakers wanted! #24 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 14:15 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

lost_soul wrote:
I think that Brandee's record is ideal for beginners, I concur with Amy that she's treacherously easy to understand.
On the contrary, Stew's speech is closer to reality, he sounded like a British person to me.

How is Brandee's speech not close to reality? She speaks the way people in my neighborhood do.

Is speech "close to reality" if it's hard to understand and "not close to reality" if it's easy to understand?
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Native speakers wanted! #25 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 17:08 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

I'd say it's important to take the particular learner's level into consideration. I usually speak quite fast, and I often have to restrain from talking nineteen to the dozen in class. People in lower classes tell me to slow down because they find it hard to follow in my wake - I do as I'm told, and things fall into place.

A2 speakers need a slower pace, but of course no snail's pace.

BTW, learners of the English language, what do you make of David Bowie?

Some may argue he sounds as clear as bell.

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Native speakers wanted! #26 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 22:54 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

Torsten wrote:
Hi everybody,

If you are a native speaker of English you might be interested in working with us. We are looking for people who want to create audio versions of our written materials. Maybe you are not a native speaker of English but you know somebody who is? Then you should ask them what you they think of this.

Many thanks,
Torsten

I have a Bangladeshi friend who was born and brought up in Kuwait, and with primary and secondary education in an American international school in Kuwait, followed by university in the USA. Would she be of interest to you for your audio recordings?
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Native speakers wanted! #27 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 22:58 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

‘native speakership is neither a privilege of birth nor of education, but of “acceptance by the group that created the distinction”’

Claire Kramsch, 1999.
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Native speakers wanted! #28 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 23:30 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

Quote:
BTW, learners of the English language, what do you make of David Bowie?

Some may argue he sounds as clear as bell.

I'd like to hear him pre-drama school days. Anything out there?

Note the "when they used to cometheshows" (7:25 mins) and other, probably, Brixton influenced gems:


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Native speakers wanted! #29 (permalink) Tue Sep 02, 2008 23:38 pm   Native speakers wanted!
 

"I have a Bangladeshi friend who was born and brought up in Kuwait, and with primary and secondary education in an American international school in Kuwait, followed by university in the USA."

I can't speak for others, but that sounds pretty interesting to me. I wonder where she picked up her accent -- Kuwait or America?

Or is it a Kuwaiti rendering softened by her years in America? (or hardened/given an edge, depending on where she studied here)
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Native speakers wanted! #30 (permalink) Wed Sep 03, 2008 0:15 am   Native speakers wanted!
 

I love those students who have gone to American international schools in the Middle East. Their English is generally no better than that of students who had, say, four years of ESL, but their assessment of their own English is MUCH higher.

Typically, they walk up to the instructor several times during the semester and tell him in a heavy foreign accent something like, "I gotta get outa dis ESL! I was English educated in Leb'nun!" and proceed to fail nearly every test all semester. Things never get better, because their conviction that their English is "perfect" also convinces them that they don't need to study.

They often think they can negotiate a deal for a grade.
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