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rlogan

Enunciation - get some

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
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One of the most frustrating things for me in the seven years I have been with my lovely wife is the near-zero success rate in reproducing Tagaolog or Visayan words. She isn't alone with this: many Filipinos will say a word, I ask them to repeat, and repeat, and repeat - yet I am laughed at for not pronouncing it right. Ultimately I will ask my wife to spell the word. Lo and behold, she is not actually enunciating all of the letters.

Instead, she does what is called in linguistics the "glottal stop". It is particularly severe for consonants at the ends of words, but that isn't the only place. Were she to pronounce the words "tip", "tin", or "tick", every one of them sounds the same: "ti". The glottal stop is where you stop the airflow from going through the vocal chord so that it is silent.

So her lips will be closed to make the "p" sound, but since she has stopped the airflow with the glottal stop, there is no sound. In English an example of the glottal stop would be "uh-oh", where the dash represents the glottal stop. It is not a sound. It is silence. That silence has kind of an abrupt feature about it, since what is happening is the closing off of the airflow sharply. Same thing with "t" or "p" or "k": you just try to pronounce those letters with no airflow through the vocal chord. It cannot be done. Because correct pronunciation requires that air be flowing through the vocal chord.

My wife, God bless her, is trying. Having identified what it is she's doing helps. It isn't enough to ask someone to enunciate better and pronounce all of the letters. Because they think that they are. You have to identify what it is they are doing so that you can train them out of it.

While we are here, I have some tips that are nearly a lecture I have to give to people that seem to have zero empathy for a foreigner trying in earnest to learn their language. What commoners seem to do is look away from you, speak rapidly and softly, without enunciating the individual letters of the words. Without separating words so that you can't tell where one word ends and another one starts. Como esta becomes "comsta" for example. For me, it is instinct to slow down, separate words, enunciate all of the letters, speak loudly and clearly enough, and look at them directly so they can see your mouth and mimick better. With some people it goes beyond lack of empathy - they actually enjoy frustrating you. Because you are a rich Americano and this is one thing they can hold over you. I have never once in my whole life laughed at someone who did not pronounce something I was teaching them, but to go so far as to not enunciate myself and then laugh at them for mimicking me - it is unthinkable. To me.

Different vowel sounds are tough on my wife. A, E, I, O, and U have different sounds in Spanish, the origin of so much Tagalog or Visayan, so "Ship" becomes "sheep" for example. "Ball" becomes "Bowl". My wife has a good attitude about being corrected, but sometimes can't help herself in getting defensive. I remember the first Filipina wife I met almost 30 years ago, who had such a bad attitude that when I tried to help her with her pronunciation she would clam up and refuse to speak at all. I wasn't making fun of her. In fact, the whole point was to PREVENT anyone from making fun of her because people can be real savages about it with rude comments and put-downs. Her husband's name was "Hank". Everyone in the Filipino community was calling him "Hang" because she was doing the glottal stop and not pronouncing the "K". It would have helped if I knew about the glottal stop, but helped even more if she wasn't so defensive about it.

Another curiosity is inserting sounds where they don't belong. An example is the Filipino habit of putting an "e" in front of every "s". So "stop" becomes "estop". I had to train her to say "SSSSSSSSSSSSS, and then pronounce the word as she is already in the middle of doing the SSSSSSS, which prevents the "e" from being pronounced.

Frankly, a lot of this comes down to sheer laziness. Lack of effort. How much effort does it take to pronounce "P" instead of being lazy and ending the word before the "P" starts? It takes almost no effort at all! Yet, for some people this is some kind of Herculean effort. But to pronounce words correctly isn't asking something extraordinary out of someone. It is NORMAL BEHAVIOR and what is EXPECTED of a speaker: to be heard clearly is your OBLIGATION to a person who is stopping what they are doing in order to listen to you. So don't cop an attitude that this is some big extra effort on your part to enunciate words the way they are supposed to be pronounced.

Edited by rlogan

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Filed: Other Country: Philippines
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I have not found that issue regarding "glottal stop" as you refer to it. Difficulty I find is how my asawa pronounces words using letters that were not in the Philippine alphabet prior to 1976, (c, ch, f, j, ll, ñ, q, rr, v, x and z.) and not implemented in the schools until 1987. Hard to know how to pronounce letters you were not taught their pronunciation ;)

As for you learning to speak tagalog, try this:

L-Lingo.com ;)


Hank

"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

 

 

HandArrow.gif       Visa Process at USEM for the Philippines;  https://www.visaconnection-philippines.com/us-embassy-usem.html

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I have not found that issue regarding "glottal stop" as you refer to it. Difficulty I find is how my asawa pronounces words using letters that were not in the Philippine alphabet prior to 1976, (c, ch, f, j, ll, ñ, q, rr, v, x and z.) and not implemented in the schools until 1987. Hard to know how to pronounce letters you were not taught their pronunciation ;)

As for you learning to speak tagalog, try this:

L-Lingo.com ;)

Oh really? You should try studying a little Tagolog, Hank. ;) Here is one of the many presentations of the glottal stop as an important feature of Tagalog:

http://learningtagalog.com/videos/tagalog_pronunciation_glottal_stops.html

When it is such a prominent feature of a language that is nearly nonexistent in another, problems will arise. I spent almost five months in the Philippines this year alone. Years cumulatively since the early 90's. My own term for this was "swallowing" letters when I was repeating terms like "Wala", which has the glottal stop at the end. I didn't know the formal term for it. The fact it comes so many times at the end of words in my wife's native language (Visayan) exactly like that means it is rife for problems.

French is probably the most famous example of not enunciating the letters at the ends of words, and many African languages are the same. That's why my friend who is married to a lovely lady from Ghana has some difficulty, and I have helped them with this. English is the spoken language there, yet it is difficult to understand because they both do this and have a habit of putting the accent on different syllables.

I realize you needed to get some put-downs in this post of yours. ;) I do not accept in myself the excuse you just used above. I speak fluent Spanish, conversational Visayan, and enough working knowledge of Korean and Japanese to get along alone in both places. A little French, and very limited Chinese. I didn't say "Oh, there are no rising and falling tones in English like there are in Asian language groups... it's just too hard". Or pretend that the rolling "r" is some kind of difficult thing. Or the French "J".

You should be aware that there are many languages spoken in the Philippines Hank. ;) I'm not much interested in Tagolog as compared with Visayan, which is not on L-lingo.com ;). Nor is Ilokano, Waray-Waray, Kapampangan, etc. I did not ask for help in learning a language, that was you taking the opportunity for a put-down. So here is the same back to you:

It sounds like your wife has a lot of problems with English, so try this: http://www.everythingesl.net/inservices/elementary_sites_ells_71638.php

;) ;) ;)

Edited by rlogan

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I am aware there are many dialects spoken in the Phils. I have little interest in a glottal stop as it isn't something I find issue with, so a waste of my time watching a video on it.

I was not putting you down, where did you get that from? :unsure::huh:

I mentioned issues I have with my asawa and provided info on why she has pronunciation issues with some letters

.

You mentioned how you get laughed at for pronouncing something wrong... I just offered a link to a website. I guess you read things different than I do...


Hank

"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

 

 

HandArrow.gif       Visa Process at USEM for the Philippines;  https://www.visaconnection-philippines.com/us-embassy-usem.html

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It is hard to pronounce some words of foreign language. I speak english, bahasa, filipino, mandarin, and spanish.

Your enunciation, i think, depends on your mother tongue.

Take for instance:

Sara mo nga yung pinto (conversational tagalog)

TRANSLATION: Close the door.

When an indonesian says that filipino sentence, it would be like: sara mo n-ga yung pintu.

When a native english speaker says that, it would be serah mo n-ga pintow.

They difficulty with the letter ng because they don't have it in their alphabet. The filipino sentence above should be speak as you write it.

Ni hao ma?

Translation: how are you?

When a filipino says ni hao ma, it would be ni-haw-ma. But when a native chinese says ni hao ma, it would be nee-haw-muuuh?

Como te llamas?

filipino would be: komo te liyamas?

Americans would say water (fast way that you would hear t as d or r)

Filipinos be like: wahter

indonesians be like: woter

Indonesians would say aku cintai mu (a-ku chintay mu)

Filipinos be like: aku sintay mu

Filipinos would say pera

chinese be like peh-la

Native english speakers be like: perra

Spanish be like: pe(rolling r)a

Americans be like droowr (drawer)

Filipinos be like draw-wer

You cannot just teach a foreigner to say a certain word in just 1 or 2 or 4 times of teaching him of your language the way you enenunciated that word.

It's like british having problems with american accent and vice versa. You cannot tell the british to say leisure as leeshuur despite he would say lie-sho (leisure). Theatre for them is theatuuh.

For a person to have the accent as you have, it needs practice not just 5 times but everyday. It's like having it as a habit.

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Class dismissed.


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I am aware there are many dialects spoken in the Phils. I have little interest in a glottal stop as it isn't something I find issue with, so a waste of my time watching a video on it.

I was not putting you down, where did you get that from? :unsure::huh:

I mentioned issues I have with my asawa and provided info on why she has pronunciation issues with some letters

.

You mentioned how you get laughed at for pronouncing something wrong... I just offered a link to a website. I guess you read things different than I do...

I learned a little Cebuano last month and plan to continue. However the easy solution is for all of them to speak English in our presence at all times. In fact I demand it. However all I get is a laugh and a whatever LOL

The number one mistake made by all Cebuano speakers ?? I don't care how fluent they are, they mix up him and her

Class dismissed.

Proper English makes my head hurt. How much more all that

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When Filipinos are speaking English I hear that quite often mixing him and her, or niece and nephew ... and when try to speak Tagalog I mix everything up... good for a laugh for sure.


Hank

"Chance Favors The Prepared Mind"

 

 

HandArrow.gif       Visa Process at USEM for the Philippines;  https://www.visaconnection-philippines.com/us-embassy-usem.html

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