Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

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Iversen
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby Iversen » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:43 am

Being able to sing a song in a totally foreign language with a reasonable good pronunciation isn't a bad thing to be able to do. It may just be mimicry, but you need to do a lot of mimicking to learn a language, and if you are able both to absorb the foreign sound system AND reproduce it (i.e. mimick) then you obviously have an advantage .. but only if coupled to an excellent memory (short, mid and long term). If you can remember a whole song when you have heard it six times then you must have a good memory - but you might still be unable to reproduce the sounds correctly because your brain didn't really analyze the sound system.

By the way .. do foreign opera singers really sing Rusalka in Czech?? I know that those guys often sing in Italian and German and French and English, but would they sing in Czech at Covent Garden or the Met or la Scala? Or at the Большой, for that matter?

A Disney Rusalka.jpg
A Disney Rusalka.jpg (8.47 KiB) Viewed 439 times
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Cavesa
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby Cavesa » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:13 am

Iversen wrote:By the way .. do foreign opera singers really sing Rusalka in Czech?? I know that those guys often sing in Italian and German and French and English, but would they sing in Czech at Covent Garden or the Met or la Scala? Or at the Большой, for that matter?


Yes, it is sung in Czech. I don't know about any different version (while for example some opera's by Mozart have both a German and Italian version, since their creation). My source: my singing teacher, a professional opera singer. It is possible to hear various singers on youtube, the foreigners have even changed some of the habits (in pronunciation) of the native singers over time. I highly doubt Met or la Scala would be so unprofessional to try to make a modern and artificial translation to classical operas. It is up to the singers, to deal with it.
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby golyplot » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:43 pm

Listening can help with pronunciation, but it isn't sufficient. Even if you can hear more or less how things are supposed to sound in your head, that doesn't help much if you don't know how to produce those sounds yourself.


It's funny because when I'm watching foreign TV and a character shows up with a noticeable American accent, I cringe, because it sounds so wrong... and yet I doubtless have a horrible American accent when I try to speak it myself.
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby Cavesa » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:02 am

golyplot wrote:Listening can help with pronunciation, but it isn't sufficient. Even if you can hear more or less how things are supposed to sound in your head, that doesn't help much if you don't know how to produce those sounds yourself.


It's funny because when I'm watching foreign TV and a character shows up with a noticeable American accent, I cringe, because it sounds so wrong... and yet I doubtless have a horrible American accent when I try to speak it myself.


I don't know how else to write it, so that it is absolutely clear:

I haven't said anywhere, that not trying the pronunciation yourself is better. Nor do I know, what is the "hear more or less in your head" doing here.

The claim coming from this video is absolutely simple: the people, who add tons of listening to a bit of practice are likely to succeed much better than those who don't. They are likely to even have better pronunciation, than people settling only for their active practice opportunities.
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby Kraut » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:44 am

Gabriel Wyner

Dropping Barriers: What opera singers study, and how it can help you learn languages easier

https://www.fluentin3months.com/opera/
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby golyplot » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:24 pm

Cavesa wrote:The claim coming from this video is absolutely simple: the people, who add tons of listening to a bit of practice are likely to succeed much better than those who don't. They are likely to even have better pronunciation, than people settling only for their active practice opportunities.


I guess the difference is that I take it as a given that a learner is doing tons of listening practice anyway. But I'm sure there are people out there who don't, so the advice would be helpful for them.
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby Cavesa » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:02 pm

golyplot wrote:
Cavesa wrote:The claim coming from this video is absolutely simple: the people, who add tons of listening to a bit of practice are likely to succeed much better than those who don't. They are likely to even have better pronunciation, than people settling only for their active practice opportunities.


I guess the difference is that I take it as a given that a learner is doing tons of listening practice anyway. But I'm sure there are people out there who don't, so the advice would be helpful for them.


Most people are not!

Vast majority of people in classes doesn't do much of extra listening, and they are not even being recommended to do it by their teachers (the usual recommendations are vague and rare mentions of listening to the radio :-D I was told to do more listening at home perhaps twice in my life, and I had to spend many years in language classes). When studying in between their lessons, most people remember to review the vocabulary, do some exercises, or perhaps reread something in their coursebook. The CD coming with the coursebook is one of the most undervalued tools. In their classes, they get rare bits of audio recordings, they listen to the teacher, and then they hear their classmates (which is more of an obstacle than asset).

You're right that people on this forum may not be making this mistake, but I simply wanted to share a nice example of what we all know. But the normal learners simply don't realise this. They trust their teachers, they limit their listening to the lessons, they are not being told to do it otherwise. And since they pay the teachers to guide them, they tend to trust the advice blindly.
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby AnthonyLauder » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:28 pm

Cavesa wrote:I really hope this short video is not geoblocked:

https://www.televizeseznam.cz/video/jak ... t-63956061

<snip>

Marco, a brazilian musician, succeeded completely. He is easy to understand and would be the star of any campfire singing with this performance (which is the appropriate setting, in which his chosen song is usually sang. Everybody around such a campfire will know it).


I just watched this. Thanks so much for sharing it. Marco really was the star performer. Obviously, nobody would mistake him for a native speaker, but that was part of the charm. His accent was superb, and his minor wobbles actually made it all the more impressive.

His "listen at least 100 times" advice clearly worked well for him. However, I am astonished by his claim to have only to have sung the song 6 times (including the recording on video). If true, it is mind-bogglingly impressive. Just the physical positioning of the tongue, the shaping of the lips, and so on, all require practice to reproduce unfamiliar sounds. Very few, I am sure, could achieve high-levels of reproduction of unfamiliar sounds without lots of production practice (in addition to all the listening).
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby Neurotip » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:47 pm

Cavesa wrote:It is even weird, that a few syllables in the aria in this video are now normally sung in a more German way, and a Czech actually speaking it correctly (which is not technically possible for everybody and actually shows a skill) is perceived as wrong :-D

Is that right? I know it's off topic but I would be really interested to know the details. Is it the ř sound you're referring to?
(Credentials: I learned a tiny bit of Czech as a teenager in order to understand Janáček, and have accompanied a soprano in the aforementioned Song to the Moon and am pretty familiar with the words (and the sometimes odd syntax).)
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Re: Listening as the key to pronunciation-a practical example

Postby Cavesa » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:09 pm

Neurotip wrote:
Cavesa wrote:It is even weird, that a few syllables in the aria in this video are now normally sung in a more German way, and a Czech actually speaking it correctly (which is not technically possible for everybody and actually shows a skill) is perceived as wrong :-D

Is that right? I know it's off topic but I would be really interested to know the details. Is it the ř sound you're referring to?
(Credentials: I learned a tiny bit of Czech as a teenager in order to understand Janáček, and have accompanied a soprano in the aforementioned Song to the Moon and am pretty familiar with the words (and the sometimes odd syntax).)


No, ř is not the main problem. It is actually not that common in the language and it is not hard for a song maker to avoid it, if they want to. It is about the vowels. Ř is funny, but it is not the main problem for anybody. You can mess it up every time and be understood, nobody will think less of you. The vowels matter much more.

Recently, somebody on another forum was even calling me an idiot for claiming that ř is not the main problem of non native Czech speakers, that the vowels seem to be a more important problem of the learners. (His argumentation "English has more vowels, so it is nonsense the Czech ones would be a problem and you are stupid to disagree", he wasn't a polite person. My argument: "Yeah, English has more vowels, and that's why its natives put the wrong ones on the wrong places in Czech")

In singing, the vowels carry the sound, as you probably know even better than me. (In speaking too. I remember a few lecturers, who didn't manage to be understood in a not that big room just because they were messing up the vowels. Really, either they should learn to speak properly, or not be allowed to "teach") They matter a lot, the consonants just adapt the sound a bit, and the listener is used to some imagination being required for the comprehension.The vowels also need to be adapted to the technique, some are harder in the higher tones, you need to change them a bit in various situations, and everything also depends on your dispositions and training.

The example my teacher gave was the first word: "Měsíčku". The typical czech Í is rather difficult to sing that high. So, something like AE is often sung. And these days, majority of the world is used to hearing AE, that an exceptional singer with the correct pronunciation is actually perceived as wrong :-D
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