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Pronunciation critiques

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Pronunciation critiques

Postby jeidsath » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:42 am

Here are mp3 and m4a files of my reading the first page of Xenophon's Anabasis. Please let me know about any pronunciation issues that you notice.

I plan to begin recording all of the Anabasis so that I can play it back to myself and listen to improve my fluency.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B23NN- ... sp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B23NN- ... sp=sharing
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby Σαῦλος » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:39 pm

I think your audio demonstrates that you have a higher than average potential ability to read Greek.
The phonetical sounds were consistent.
Amazingly free of stumbles.
Accents were misplaced here and there.
It sounded to me like the reading wasn't done with comprehension (beyond the first sentence).

I think you can better improve fluency in a different way.

I once read an article about piano playing. They studied the way the best players practiced and found that they actually practiced fewer hours than those who did more poorly. They studied how the best players learned. When the best players would come to a mistake, they would stop and fix it once and for all. Then they would start over at the beginning.

I adopted this when reading Greek. If there is one word I stumble over, I stop, fix it, and start over at the beginning of the section I'm reading. I've found it to be very helpful.

Then, when I have learned to pronounce a text entirely fluently, then I ensure I can understand the text.

After I can understand and fluently read the text (if I am using the text to learn Greek) I start to "communicate" the text. This can be done in various ways, even if a person is alone.
    Perhaps the easiest way is to read with emotional tones you would use in your mother tongue. Ramping it up, you can use (even plan) gestures as you read. A further step might be reading it with expression and gestures to someone else (video taping has the same effect on me as having an actual person to talk to... it makes my brain think it's communicating). Perhaps the pinnacle of learning the text is to tell it in paraphrase to someone else.
This is a VERY slow process, but does certainly increase comprehension of Greek.
I will babble until I talk. ετι λαλαγω...
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby Markos » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:02 pm

Thank you, Jeidsath, for entering the public fray with your audio. Even though the Anabasis is the standard second year text, as far as I know, your recording is the first one offered publically (outside of Roberto's audio of the simplified text; more on this below.) You have done us, therefore, a fine service. And I happen to think you are on the right track in recognizing the importance of audio in increasing reading fluency.

I would second Paul's comments. Your pronunciation scheme seems consistent. The main problem I have with your audio, as a resource that would potentially help me, is that the pace is too slow. Now, this might not be a problem for everyone; Different people, no doubt, benefit differently from different resources. But for me, the pace of an audio has to be just right. Many audios (particularly those done by native Greek speakers) are way too fast. But if the audio is too slow, I cannot internalize it. Actually, as Paul says, the key is to vary the pace according to comprehension, pausing at the right places and speaking fast, maybe, the portions of the audio that are easily understood, and then slowing down for less familiar vocab and syntax. Paul himself is really good at this in his audios.

The root problem is that, for me, anyway, for an audio to be useful, it must be 90% plus comprehensible. And most unadapted Ancient Greek texts, at least the way they are read on-line, are simply not comprehensible enough. A startling comparison, I think, is between your audio and Roberto's audio of the Phillpotts/Jerram adapted text:

https://archive.org/details/Esafx

Roberto's audio, which I have been listening to almost daily (while walking to work I alternate between this and sports talk radio,) is for me virtually 100% comprehensible and therefore supremely useful. It is much more comprehensible than your audio, of course, for two reasons. In the simplified text, the sentences are all short, the syntax is all simple, and the vocab is restricted. But also, Roberto reads the text as if (and I assume that he does) he understands it. He raises his voice at questions, pauses at the right moments, reads with emphasis and emotion. (I'm really looking forward to what he does with the θάλαττα! θάλαττα!) He reads at just the right pace. Also, while Roberto by no means follows precisely the tones and pitches, his reading has a basic tonal/musical quality that makes it very pleasant. Monotony, literally, is a problem that tends to affect readers of Ancient Greek (of sinners I am chief) and Roberto avoids this nicely.

It goes without saying, that I highly recommend that you listen to his audio. Your προφορά is close enough to his that I think you would benefit greatly.

But we also, I think, need good (better) recordings of the unadapted text, so I would follow Paul's advice and try to re-record it with more emphasis, better pacing, make sure that you understand what you are reading and read it in a way that WE can understand it. Correct the few misplaced accents. I agree with Paul that you have potential as a Greek reader, and we really need you. Greek audio is the only thing that there's just too little of.

Also, I would like to see Paul, who, again, is an outstanding reader of Ancient Greek take a stab or two at a few pages of the unadapted text. I would like to see how much of the comprehension issues are a result of the level of the text versus the way it is read. (I suspect it is more, the former.) Paul, if you do take on this project, maybe you should start by reading the simplified text, as it would be good to have a version of this with a Buthian/Modern pronunciation.
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby jeidsath » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:06 am

Attempt 2 (far more natural):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B23NN-fS5SQEQ2NCSmRzQURMUVU/edit?usp=sharing

Thanks so much for the comments! You are right that I couldn't understand what I was reading. While I can sight-read the first four chapters of Xenophon book 1 with understanding, my comprehension goes way down when I try to mentally vocalize the words (especially the accents!). This was part of the reason behind the exercise.

My understanding while reading seems to have far improved though. I woke up with a much better feel for chapter 1. Above is the recording redone this afternoon. I'm afraid there are a couple of stumbles (I had to duck out of work for a few minutes to make this), but everything should sound much more natural.

The trick (beyond the magic of a night's sleep), was as recommended above. On Caltrain this morning, I tried to vocalize the meaning behind each word, and if I couldn't do that, went back to the beginning of the phrase to try again. I was able to go through the first chapter like that, and feel that it added a great deal to my comprehension (I feel like I went from 95% to 99%).
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby Markos » Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:51 am

Yes, the second attempt is much better. It really flows. I got about 85% of it after listening to it a few time. I will have to go back and reread (and maybe try to write out) the text a few times, and then I should get to 100% comprehension.

I'm going to put your recording on my MP-3 player along side of Roberto's which you should take as a compliment given what I think of his recordings. :D

I notice that sometimes your αὐ sounds like ow and sometimes like av, and sometimes like something in between. I don't have a problem with that, since my own profora, while essentially Erasmian, for whatever reason also pronounces αὐ like Modern Greek av.

εὐχαριστῶ σοι!
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby Σαῦλος » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:17 pm

jeidsath wrote:Attempt 2

Much better. I, personally, don't have any problem with and occasional stumble. It's a part of normal everyday communication, too. It doesn't interfere with comprehension for me.

Markos, I always learn something from your posts. Thanks for your encouragement to record. I would love to do an Anabasis recording. But it would take too much effort for me to really comprehend the text so as to read it and learn from it (I think even the simplified version). My long-term comprehension text has been the gospel kata Mark, much easier for me. I've been interrupted several times, and am now on hold as I try to absorb Revelations in 2 months flat. But Mark is the book I want to fully internalize and then record it. I would probably do short segments and couple it with a matching audio with questions and answers in Greek.

Jordan Day, by the way, said his Greek took a great leap forward when he worked doggedly at comprehending Acts, never going forward until he could read with full understanding. It took him about a year.
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby bedwere » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:19 pm

Markos wrote:
I'm going to put your recording on my MP-3 player along side of Roberto's which you should take as a compliment given what I think of his recordings. :D


εὐχαριστῶ σοι!


Χάριν πολλὴν ἔχω σοι, ὦ βέλτιστε, διὰ τοὺς ἡδεῖς λόγους σου. :D
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby jeidsath » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:07 am

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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby jeidsath » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:32 am

I have made a YouTube video of myself reading Anabasis 1.1: http://youtu.be/cioTkfCH1Ao

My reading has become more natural the more that I have practiced. I have a number of audio recordings of other chapters in Anabasis, and plan to add new chapters to YouTube over time.

My other project is to record many of the model charts in Crosby and Schaeffer's Introduction to Greek so that I can learn them by listening.

The version that I am reading is a (Unicode) HTML copy of Anabasis that I created from the Perseus XML file: http://goo.gl/AIgLrY
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby Markos » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:02 pm

jeidsath wrote:I have made a YouTube video of myself reading Anabasis 1.1: http://youtu.be/cioTkfCH1Ao


Very nice. It is comprehensible, which is the first, second and third factor in evaluating Ancient Greek audio/video. Your pace is good.

This makes a wonderful companion piece to Roberto's audio of the simplified Anabasis.

Keep it up.
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby jeidsath » Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:05 pm

Double post. Deleted.
Last edited by jeidsath on Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby jeidsath » Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:05 pm

Here are three new Anabasis recordings. The first two are of chapters that I am very familiar with. The third is of the chapter that I read through for the first time yesterday. So in the third recording, I am reading with about 80% understanding.

Anabasis 1.1 4-26-2014
Anabasis 1.2 4-27-2014
Anabasis 1.10 4-27-2014

Not to brag, but I got serious about learning Greek in December. I had played around with Greek a small before, but never really sat down to study it. As you can hear, my approach has been achieving tremendous results. I heartily recommend copious amounts of reading Greek aloud to anyone who wants to become fluent.
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby Godmy » Mon May 05, 2014 7:47 pm

(looking at the first recording in the post #1)

I presume you used the dynamic accent, right? But still you should make sure that the accent you employ will actually show in the pronunciation on the places that are marked by the orthography: that it will be heard. (note that that the grave accent doesn't have to be necessarily pronounced in any way, or at least it is not in the restituted pronunciation)

You could probably consider trying not to aspirate some stops (p,t,k) which are not aspirated (that is: not phi, theta, chi but pi, tau, kappa -> this is unnatural for an English speaker) and try more to do the trilled "r" :-)

Also the upsilon: it is either (in the traditional pronunciations, those I've seen so far) "i" like in "hit" or it in the restituted pronunciation (and some traditional pronunciation) it is like the German ü (that is "i" with your lips rounded)

Beware not pronouncing ksi as "zi" (in the Ἀρταξέρξης ).

I'm sending a short recording of me reading with the reconstructed pronunciation and the melodic accent accent the beginning of the Anabasis. (the melodic accent makes it sound a bit crazy, I know: but it's an essential part of the reconstructed pronunciation). Also some consonantal/vowel sound will be probably different than you are used to (like that "ei" is not actually a diphthong anymore in Attic and so on).

http://linguax.com/Xenophon-beginning_godmy.mp3

P.S.: Try not to upload .WAV files: they are too big (and not used to share data on the internet). You can export/save (compress) it as/to OGG or MP3 and make it only few MBs.
Last edited by Godmy on Tue May 06, 2014 5:18 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby Godmy » Mon May 05, 2014 8:10 pm

(I've just redone the recording and removed some *mistakes* for those who downloaded it already: the link now leads to the new version)
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby jeidsath » Sat May 31, 2014 11:08 pm

Thanks so much, Godamy. I've been working fairly hard on pronunciation for the past 6 months, and here is where I'm at now. I've recorded just the section that you did:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B23NN-fS5SQENWVtcVIwRVJiZlE/edit?usp=sharing

At the moment, I feel that I still need to work on basics like quantity, accent. I'm dissatisfied with my pronunciation of υ and χ. And I'm not sure about my extended ευ yet either.
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Re: Pronunciation critiques

Postby Markos » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:32 pm

Thanks, guys, for doing this. It is cool to have different versions of the same audio.

I like both versions, but I have to say that Joel's (jeidsath's) is a little easier to understand. Godmy's version has some historical interest to me, but Joel's (and even more so Roberto's) has for me higher pedagogical value in helping to learn to read the language. But, again, I like both versions.
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