Author Topic: sound bites criticism/suggestion  (Read 904 times)

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Offline tsrräfkxätu

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sound bites criticism/suggestion
« on: January 12, 2010, 02:59:14 pm »
Hey,


I'm new to this whole thing, and before I present my case, I'd like to say a big thanks to every contributor (and especially Sebastian Wolff) for creating this great site, and filling it with great content.

The reason for this post (and the end of my lurking days) is the recent addition of the sound bites to the dictionary section. While I think it's a great idea, the execution is somewhat lacking. Please, don't take this the wrong way, I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, or question their best intentions, but there are lots of mispronounced sounds, incorrectly stressed words, and a predominant English accent -- all of which seem to defeat the whole purpose of a talking dictionary.
I'm a linguist (though nothing even remotely comparable to Dr. Frommer), and quite used to reading and pronouncing IPA symbols, and I also speak several languages (including my mother tongue) that contain some of the non-English sounds of Na'vi. I would like to offer my help in correcting the mistakes either by posting the (more) correct pronunciation of some of the words, or in any other way that you deem meaningful.


Cheers,
blueme

ps: For those of you who are wondering how I can claim to know how these words are pronounced, I can say that IPA is a very rigorously defined system (unlike the more easy to read, but also more ambivalent equivalence examples.) Also, if you listen to Dr. Frommer's Na'vi (e.g. in the Hunt Song), you will notice that not a hint of his English can be detected in it (which, unfortunately, cannot be said of the actors in the movie -- not even those who personify native Na'vi characters.)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 06:05:35 pm by blueme »
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Offline Erimeyz

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Re: sound bites criticism/suggestion
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2010, 09:49:57 pm »
I think your comments, and especially your offer to help, will be greatly appreciated.  I recommend posting a reply to this thread: http://forum.learnnavi.org/audio/spoken-na'vi-words/  Go ahead and point out anything you think could be improved, and be specific.  The people making the recordings are very eager to make improvements whenever possible.

Having all the discussion about the sound clips in a single thread will help keep everything well-organized.

  - Eri

Offline Erimeyz

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Re: sound bites criticism/suggestion
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2010, 10:35:28 pm »
Also, if you have any suggestions for the community at large about how to improve our Na'vi pronunciation and shed our regional accents, please post them as a new thread in the Pronunciation / Phonetics board (a sub-board in the Beginners section).  I know I would be very interested in your comments, both for my own edification as well as for the "Pronunciation Guidance" page I'm working on on the Learn Na'vi wiki; I'm sure others would be as well.  If possible, examples and advice without using IPA would be best - I know IPA is more precise and succinct, but the vast majority of Na'vi learners are not going to have any experience with IPA and would probably have a hard time learning it just to be able to do better at Na'vi.

And finally, if you haven't already, take a look at the Phonetics and Phonology sections of Taronyu's grammar document, http://content.learnnavi.org/taronyu/NaviGrammar.pdf .  He's rendered his own opinions on the subject, and I'm sure he'd be interested in your thoughts.

  - Eri

Offline Taronyu

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Re: sound bites criticism/suggestion
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2010, 10:54:36 am »
And finally, if you haven't already, take a look at the Phonetics and Phonology sections of Taronyu's grammar document, http://content.learnnavi.org/taronyu/NaviGrammar.pdf .  He's rendered his own opinions on the subject, and I'm sure he'd be interested in your thoughts.

Indeed. I'm not the best at pronouncing, but I like the truth, or as near as we can make it. I think that a lot of Frommer's notation, including the IPA transcriptions we've been using, has some errors. Read that and get back to me. This is the thread for responses to it.

Offline tsrräfkxätu

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Re: sound bites criticism/suggestion
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2010, 07:16:28 pm »
Hello Taronyu,

I have read your document, and I applaud you for the great work. In the phonetics section you give accurate descriptions of how to produce some of the most difficult sounds (for English speakers at least), and if anyone is interested in actually hearing them, they can head over to http://www.yorku.ca/earmstro/ipa/index.html, and indulge themselves. There isn't much else I can do, beside maybe recording some of the actual words I believe to be incorrect, and posting them somewhere.

On a slightly different note, however, I couldn't help but come under the impression that you are trying maybe too hard to recreate the language, instead of simply collecting what is known about it, and putting it into an accessible format. Again, I mean no offense by saying that, and must admit that your are doing a very convincing job of it, but there's a little too much (if educated) guesswork going on in that document for my taste (besides, I find it hard to believe that Dr. Frommer doesn't know his IPA.) While I acknowledge that there are numerous blank spots that many of us are eager to fill, I'd rather wait for some more concrete information from the primary source. I am not sufficiently familiar with Dr. Frommer's work to spot any such discrepancies (I simply accepted his post on the Log as "the truth"), but if you have reason to believe that even his own notes are of questionable integrity, then it would probably be wiser to wait for confirmation on those dubious issues, before making any theories public. I for one would surely hate to go through the pains of having to shed bad language habits and relearn the correct ones.

Anyway, this is just a caveat, I don't mean to discourage you from your undertaking. :)

Cheers,
blueme

ps: I just realized that I might have started out on the wrong assumption here, thinking that there was a (from a grammatical standpoint) complete Na'vi language somewhere, the details of which would be released to the public as soon as the license holder and the creator managed to work out the copyright issues. If that is not the case, and the language is a WiP, then you can completely disregard my rant above.

edit: Sorry for not replying in the topic you referred me to. I wanted to, but I forgot.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 07:27:51 pm by blueme »
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Offline Taronyu

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Re: sound bites criticism/suggestion
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2010, 07:33:25 pm »
Hey Blueme. I linked that pronunciation site, I think, in the next version. Trying to finish up another section before I post it.

You're right, you know. I am trying to recreate the language. Well, recreate might not be the right word. I want to wring it dry. I want to find every little hole we can find. Like the [a] to [ɑ] bit - I include that because I feel that there is a discrepancy in the original text that Frommer gave us. He has admitted elsewhere to using an old version of IPA ( I believe! I may be wrong. ) I'd be very interested if you would tell me what, specifically, you have issues with. I know that I may be wrong on some points. Many of them are drawn from the wikipedia, by the way, which itself may have errors. I don't think I've taken any liberties yet to fill in my own information where Frommer hasn't provided any: I may fill in theories as to how the language works, but I shouldn't be putting in facts. I'll make a larger caveat to note this: If you find the opposite, please, rutxe, let me know. The language is a work in progress: the many issues with the publications, specifically the Survival Guide, but also the movie pronunciations, go against what Frommer has posted in several ways. I do believe that we'll see some change in the future. I am merely trying to pre-empt it. I think william, one of the few here who can understand my lepidum novum libellum, also has some hesitations about it. I'm still curious as to what these are.

I thank you, ma tsmukan. I'll be extra-careful from now on to cite where I make suggestions for the language, where the texts show inconsistencies, and where I think I can fill them in. Or, indeed, leave them be. I won't try to fill in a trial form until we get it, for instance. Nor will I pretend that we have an optative marker, or use of lu to mean have, for instance.

No worries about being off-topic. Let's try to keep it in the other thread for now on, though. I think your question is answered? If so, let me know, and I'll lock this.

Offline Erimeyz

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Re: sound bites criticism/suggestion
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2010, 08:31:37 pm »
Well, recreate might not be the right word. I want to wring it dry.

LLOL!

Offline Ftiafpi

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Re: sound bites criticism/suggestion
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2010, 10:09:21 pm »
Since I'm the guy who does (most) of the spoken dialog I'm surprised this took me so long to find this. In any case, I am certainly no linguist, just a Na'vi enthusiast. I feel that having spoken Na'vi words would be a powerfully useful tool. However, I agree 100% that if it's done it MUST be done correctly. Please, please provide any help you can by going to this thread (or the one indicated by Taronyu) and helping proof the pronunciations.

Also, you are correct, I do have a predominantly American accent, probably because I've been speaking English for 20+ years and Na'vi for 20+ days. I'm pretty good with accents though so I expect these to get better. That said though, this project is definitely a work in progress, the only reason I have it out for public use is I figure that's the best way for people to find errors if they're actually using it.

All that said though, I'm pretty sure that I have the pronunciations more or less right. If you do find an error though let me know, I have the whole thing setup so that making changes are quite easy. Also, if you want to contribute your own spoken Na'vi words then, by all means, please do!

Irayo ma tsumukan.

 

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