Does pronunciation matter?

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Benocrates

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Does pronunciation matter?
« on: February 07, 2011, 05:19:16 PM »
Does pronunciation matter?

I just watched an episode of The Agenda with Steve Paikin (great TVO show) and an expert on Middle Eastern media (white, or at least not Arabic), who seemed very intelligent, insightful, and well spoken, but pronounced hyperbole as hyper-bowl. I was shocked. Should I have been?
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Sean

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 05:23:04 PM »
Yes pronunciation matters, no you shouldn't have been shocked.
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Benocrates

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 05:29:38 PM »
why does it matter?
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Sean

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 05:36:47 PM »
Because if your pronunciation is way off you may have difficulty communicating.
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Benocrates

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 05:44:35 PM »
But I knew what he meant by hyper-bowl through context, I lost none of the meaning.
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Sean

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2011, 05:52:55 PM »
You figured it out in this instance, so it doesn't matter ever?
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Benocrates

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 05:55:08 PM »
If the context were clear, which I would contend that it mostly is concerning mispronunciations, should it matter?
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Trekky0623

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 05:56:12 PM »
It should matter. Even though the meaning is the same, it is akin to a misspelling. Your meaning does not translate to the words if you pronunciate something wrong.

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Benocrates

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 06:05:02 PM »
but in the case I've cited, the meaning was transferred, and I think most - if not all - people who knew of the word 'hyperbole' would have gleaned it from that context.
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Trekky0623

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2011, 06:07:33 PM »
but in the case I've cited, the meaning was transferred, and I think most - if not all - people who knew of the word 'hyperbole' would have gleaned it from that context.

That doesn't mean it doesn't matter. Only that you were able to gather what he meant from his mispronunciation.

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Tausami

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2011, 06:12:33 PM »
It makes you sound like an idiot. Pronounce anxiety 'anksity' in public and see how many funny looks you get.

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Benocrates

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2011, 06:14:02 PM »
but if the meaning is transferred in trivial mispronunciations, such as 'arctic' and 'nuclear', or phrases that are misconstrued, such as 'all intents and purposes = all intensive purposes', what does it matter? If nobody can reasonably claim confusion, what is the harm?
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Benocrates

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2011, 08:50:16 PM »
ITT:

A - Why?
B - Because.
A - Explain why.
B - JUST BECAUSE!
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Around And About

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2011, 10:55:21 PM »
If your question is "Does pronunciation matter in the specific example I cited?" then the answer is evidently no. If you actually meant to ask if it matters in general, then obviously the answer is yes. English in particular seems to be pretty troublesome when it comes to pronunciation, and if you arbitrarily mispronounced every word in a sentence there would be little chance of successful (or, at the very least, clear) communication.

You certainly seem preoccupied with pronunciation, though, considering you don't seem to think it matters.
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Mr Pseudonym

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2011, 11:01:11 PM »
Does pronunciation matter?
Yes, if you are going to make FES threads about it.
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Benocrates

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2011, 11:13:29 PM »
If your question is "Does pronunciation matter in the specific example I cited?" then the answer is evidently no. If you actually meant to ask if it matters in general, then obviously the answer is yes. English in particular seems to be pretty troublesome when it comes to pronunciation, and if you arbitrarily mispronounced every word in a sentence there would be little chance of successful (or, at the very least, clear) communication.

You certainly seem preoccupied with pronunciation, though, considering you don't seem to think it matters.

I didn't say it didn't matter, I'm busting out some elenchus on this topic. I made this topic after the last one on my name because the one led into the other.

But what I'm trying to get at is common mispronunciations, particularly like 'all intensive purposes'. It's obvious that if every word was mispronounced it would disrupt communication. But I want to know is why any pronunciation should be favoured over another if the meaning is still present, like in nuclear and arctic.
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Pongo

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2011, 11:15:53 PM »
It doesn't matter.  It's how languages change and evolve.

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Around And About

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2011, 11:28:30 PM »
Oh, fair enough...well corrupting phrases just means you can approximate the pronunciation of a word or short phrase and still communicate successfully. If I took a longer phrase or sentence and randomly replaced words with approximations it might not be so straightforward. But the quality of the vowels is critical regardless of length; note that there's a big difference between hyperbole and hyper-bowl (which doesn't even have the same number of syllables or location of stress) compared to "all intents and purposes -> all intensive purposes", in which only one syllable is really being changed.


But for the record...I do think that common mispronunciations and corruptions, while they may hurt our ears, are a normal part of the evolution of wonderfully imperfect languages and ultimately there's nothing wrong with that.

Edit: Haha, yeah...jussst what Pongo said.
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Chris Spaghetti

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2011, 01:48:10 AM »
Well, it depends on the word. Nulear and Nucular aren't really matters of concern but if someone wants to axe something, should you run or be prepared to answer questions?

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Wendy

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2011, 02:45:43 AM »
Well, it depends on the word. Nulear and Nucular aren't really matters of concern but if someone wants to axe something, should you run or be prepared to answer questions?

I like how you managed to misspell "nuclear." Good job.

As to the topic at hand, I agree that pronunciation is important, but if an otherwise skilled and intelligent debator mispronounces the word "nuclear" or pronounces "archetype" as "arc type," it doesn't really matter as long as the meaning gets across. It is a pet peeve of mine to take not of these things, and I'm sure the same is true of any academic or nerdy person, but in truth, if the context is clear and the person's pronunciation is otherwise accurate, I'd just let it go. If we're starting to get into the territory of something like the film Nell where you have to decode everything the other person is saying, then there's a problem.
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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2011, 02:59:18 AM »
Yes it matters and yes you should be shocked. All acts of ignorance should cause shock. How can the man expect to be taken seriously when he can't speak?

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Benocrates

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2011, 08:54:11 AM »
Yes it matters and yes you should be shocked. All acts of ignorance should cause shock. How can the man expect to be taken seriously when he can't speak?

This is what gets me the most. The interview that I mentioned was on the Arab Al Jazera, and it was a really solid discussion. I was super impressed until the hyper-bole. I think what I'd want to ask now is, should it be considered rude when you correct someone's pronunciation? I've always thought it was doing a favour, and appreciated when someone corrected me. Obviously if you laugh at someone or are rude about it, it would be rude. But what about a polite correction? Is it warranted/necessary?
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Space Cowgirl

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2011, 09:39:31 AM »
That seems like the kind of mistake someone might make if they were reading the word out loud.
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Mrs. Peach

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2011, 10:04:30 AM »
That seems like the kind of mistake someone might make if they were reading the word out loud.

Agreed and so I would just assume he was a non-native speaker. Of course pronunciation mistakes would be made and should be politely overlooked unless and until correction is asked for. Even then, I'd give it a pass unless it was my job to correct someone.

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Marcus Aurelius

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2011, 10:14:13 AM »
English is a funny and confusing language.  I tried to explain to a co-worker speaks english as a second language how to tell the difference between the word "live", and the word "live".  Two separate words, spelled the same, yet pronounced differently.  For example:

1.  I'm sorry, you only have about 6 months to live.

2.  Live from New York it's Saturday Night!

Confused the hell out of him.

Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2011, 10:32:01 AM »
Yes it matters and yes you should be shocked. All acts of ignorance should cause shock. How can the man expect to be taken seriously when he can't speak?

This is what gets me the most. The interview that I mentioned was on the Arab Al Jazera, and it was a really solid discussion. I was super impressed until the hyper-bole. I think what I'd want to ask now is, should it be considered rude when you correct someone's pronunciation? I've always thought it was doing a favour, and appreciated when someone corrected me. Obviously if you laugh at someone or are rude about it, it would be rude. But what about a polite correction? Is it warranted/necessary?

It's a tricky one because if you say something you risk causing embarrassment, however if you don't say anything you'll spend the next 5 minutes not listening anyway because you're thinking to yourself "did he, no.......did he just say hyper-bole? I think he did. HE DID, HE SAID HYPER-BOLE. And HE wants me to take him seriously"

It could have been worse, he could have said pacific instead of specific. Sometimes i gag a bit when people say that.

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Mrs. Peach

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2011, 10:41:45 AM »
English is a funny and confusing language.  I tried to explain to a co-worker speaks english as a second language how to tell the difference between the word "live", and the word "live".  Two separate words, spelled the same, yet pronounced differently.  For example:

1.  I'm sorry, you only have about 6 months to live.

2.  Live from New York it's Saturday Night!

Confused the hell out of him.

Which brings us to  how to pronounce 'long-lived.'  Perhaps a majority pronounce it as if it stems form the verb but the stem is from the noun.  Even native speakers get confused.  ;D

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Benocrates

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2011, 10:52:41 AM »
English is a funny and confusing language.  I tried to explain to a co-worker speaks english as a second language how to tell the difference between the word "live", and the word "live".  Two separate words, spelled the same, yet pronounced differently.  For example:

1.  I'm sorry, you only have about 6 months to live.

2.  Live from New York it's Saturday Night!

Confused the hell out of him.

Which brings us to  how to pronounce 'long-lived.'  Perhaps a majority pronounce it as if it stems form the verb but the stem is from the noun.  Even native speakers get confused.  ;D

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Nolhekh

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2011, 10:55:01 AM »
It could have been worse, he could have said pacific instead of specific. Sometimes i gag a bit when people say that.
I had a professor once who would've pronounced it "espicific."  Half was 'hap.'

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EnigmaZV

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Re: Does pronunciation matter?
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2011, 11:57:49 AM »
Sounds like he may have originated in the Philippines.
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