iMovie Ain’t Got Speechcheck

Something I’ve noticed since I’ve been doing video reviews, is that speaking in public (well, sorta) is a bit different than writing. I know some of you do voice work professionally. Dear Lord, the thought just occurred to me that what *I* do might be considered professional. Heh. Anyway, it amazes me how much I struggle with pronunciation.

I’m talking about more than tomato and tomato. (See? It doesn’t really translate to text) But product names, company names, etc. can be crazy. Add that to regional differences, and I either sound like an uncultured hick (largely true), or a snooty Yankee (eh, not so much).

Have you ever thought about pronunciation? It’s a funny beast.

13 thoughts on “iMovie Ain’t Got Speechcheck”

  1. Corporate customer facing presentations are always fun to screw up.

    I had my department head call me once and say:

    “Kate, you have to redo the last slide on this training course.”
    “Because you, uh, sorta, give up.”
    “Yeah, you’re going along fine, and all of a sudden, you get exasperated and just say, “Fuck. Whatever.”


    How embarrassing. I thought I re-recorded after that little mess up, but apparently it either didn’t take, or I filed it away to be done again and never got back to it. It was a really long speech, like 3 minutes, and if you’re reading from a script, 3 minutes is like an eternity. Couple that with bad writing full of technical stuff, and your tongue tends to get twisted.

    I make sure to double check everything now.

  2. OMG, don’t get me started! Too late.

    As I Texan with educated parents, most people can’t tell where I’m from, until I throw in a stray y’all or two. My sister is married to a Central Texas Rodeo guy, and I can hardly understand them, sometimes. Her accent was like mine, until she got married. Now I’m living in Boston, and I miss a good third of some conversations because I don’t know what words they’re using. Accent is only part of pronounciation. Enunciation is another, that is sadly lacking in the NorthEast and South, especially. Then there’s screwing up the vowel sounds. A good example is Pheel Seems (Phil Simms) who is always long-e’ing the I. A weather announcer here in Boston says rate instead of right. My name is pronounced with 2 sylables by some Bostonians, Tu-om.

    Which pronunciation error are you concerned about?

  3. I much prefer it when regionalism is apparent. Can’t stand how homogenized ‘murican speech is getting.

    BTW, did you redesign the comments page. It hurts a little. (weird contrast)

  4. I always have fun trying to pick up on accents and regionalisms. Canadians are my favorite.

    Having grown up with the generic West Coast American accent (with family influences from Iowa, Texas, Wyoming, and PBS) I’m intrigued with/by accents. Working at a university was the best – people from all over the world and all over the USA.

    One day I looked in a physical oceanography class being taught by a Polish scientist. He was teaching students from Argentina, South Korea, Japan, and Illinois. English was a second or third language for four out the five people in the room, but they managed to work with each others accents. Still makes my brain hurt, thinking about the students and Ziggy figuring out each other’s versions of English.

  5. I always joke with people that the Northern Michigan accent is the right one, because every national news anchor sounds like us. πŸ˜‰

    That’s not always true, but relatively speaking, we enunciate well…

  6. I have terrible problems pronouncing things, but not, surprisingly, because of a regional accent. My father is from Baltimore, and my mom from, well, all over (A.F. brat). So I have almost no discernible regional accent unless I want to. (When I’m drunk is usually when my brain drags out the Southern WV accent.)

    However, I’m an avid reader, and so my reading vocabulary is a LOT larger than my speaking vocabulary. Which means that I sometimes don’t know how to pronounce some relatively common words, if I’ve never seen them in both written/spoken context at the same time.

    Funny thing, is that because I listen to a lot of public radio, I know to pronounce a lot of names/words that I can’t spell.

    So I basically have a gap in my mind, where I know how to pronounce words, and I recognize/spell words, but those two mental files aren’t always linked. For instance, it was years before I realized that “military junta” and military hoonta were the same thing.

    As far as names, strangely enough, if I take my time and can figure out their country of origin, I can sometimes suss out a close pronunciation.


  7. My VA accent has flattened considerably over the years. I have spent over 15% of my adult life outside the US, and I regularly work with foreigners, so I try to speak in the standard American accent with them (which is Ohio, Shawn, not Upperese). It helps that I went to college in Indiana.

    My accent gets stronger when I go home and talk to people I grew up with. My daughter has a slight Southern accent due to my influence (we live in the NE and speak Mandarin(mostly) at home).

    Where I stumble is in pronouncing foreign words in languages that I speak. Hearing someone call a guy name Boris “BOR-is” grates on my nerves – it’s “bor-EES”. But I use the ‘Muricanized pronunciation with Americans because they think it’s a different guy if I don’t. Or the city of NA-go-ya. People say “where?”, then say “Ooooh. na-GO-ya.” But my brain skips a beat when I come to those words because I work so hard to get the pronunciation right in the foreign language it causes my mental gears to grind to say it the wrong way.

  8. Reminds me of a middle school social studies teacher I had. He was very fond of saying “Yellow Huang He River” (where “Huang” was pronounced rhyming with “clang” and “He” was “Ho!”). “Yellow Hwang Ho! River!” he’d enthusiastically say. Huang in Mandarin is “yellow” and He is “river” so … “Yellow yellow river river.” :p

    Of course on the flip side, one time I was on a plane next to a lovely couple that didn’t speak any English at all (the wife was very good at saying, very clearly, “I don’t speak any English!”). They said they were going to “Bah shing! tong.” (first tone, fourth tone, second tone, for John’s edification). It took me a good long while to figure out that they meant “Washington.” So it goes both ways. πŸ˜‰

  9. It’s not that big of a deal if you pronounce something a little off. It’s actually a bit of fun if you do it in public audio and a discussion starts from it. I never really knew how to say Ubuntu until the guy on the Linux Reality podcast said it in an odd way. That started an email / forum storm and some listener audio that he played so everyone knew how to say it correctly.

    That said I still pronounce it the way I always have regardless of hearing how an actual native speaking African says it.

  10. That actually brings up a second issue I have. I speed read almost everything, so I tend to look at words as a whole rather than individual letters. Therefore I often rearrange the letters in the middle.

    So it wasn’t until just now that I realized it is NOT spelled unbutu.

    Which tells you how I would pronounce it, wrongly.


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