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Pronounciation of songs

DrugCrazed 05 Apr 11 - 10:53 AM
DrugCrazed 05 Apr 11 - 10:54 AM
Bert 05 Apr 11 - 11:04 AM
Silas 05 Apr 11 - 11:19 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Apr 11 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,mg 05 Apr 11 - 03:32 PM
Marje 05 Apr 11 - 03:51 PM
Dave MacKenzie 05 Apr 11 - 04:02 PM
Noreen 05 Apr 11 - 04:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Apr 11 - 04:04 PM
Gibb Sahib 05 Apr 11 - 04:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Apr 11 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,mg 05 Apr 11 - 04:35 PM
PoppaGator 05 Apr 11 - 05:10 PM
Bert 05 Apr 11 - 05:47 PM
maple_leaf_boy 05 Apr 11 - 06:14 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Apr 11 - 06:27 PM
Leadfingers 05 Apr 11 - 07:03 PM
keyofzed 05 Apr 11 - 07:04 PM
Dave MacKenzie 05 Apr 11 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Gerry 05 Apr 11 - 07:37 PM
Jack Campin 05 Apr 11 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,Seonaid 05 Apr 11 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,999 05 Apr 11 - 08:17 PM
Jack Campin 05 Apr 11 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,999 05 Apr 11 - 08:51 PM
FloraG 06 Apr 11 - 03:47 AM
GUEST,999 06 Apr 11 - 03:57 AM
harmonic miner 06 Apr 11 - 04:59 AM
Jack Campin 06 Apr 11 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,999 06 Apr 11 - 09:31 AM
Dave MacKenzie 06 Apr 11 - 10:09 AM
Crowhugger 06 Apr 11 - 02:12 PM
GUEST,999 06 Apr 11 - 02:27 PM
FloraG 06 Apr 11 - 03:06 PM
Crowhugger 06 Apr 11 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,999 06 Apr 11 - 03:45 PM
Mysha 06 Apr 11 - 05:39 PM
DrugCrazed 06 Apr 11 - 07:01 PM
DrugCrazed 06 Apr 11 - 08:09 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 06 Apr 11 - 11:55 PM
DrugCrazed 07 Apr 11 - 03:32 AM
FloraG 07 Apr 11 - 06:59 AM
harmonic miner 07 Apr 11 - 10:59 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 07 Apr 11 - 12:19 PM
Marje 07 Apr 11 - 01:01 PM
DrugCrazed 08 Apr 11 - 09:40 PM
SPB-Cooperator 09 Apr 11 - 05:43 PM
Genie 09 Apr 11 - 09:46 PM
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Subject: Pronounciation of songs
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 10:53 AM

Good evening,

I'm trying to learning a few non-english folk songs and can't work out how to pronounce things. There's some Norwegian stuff which I'm managing to get down (since it follows fairly standard rules), but I'm stuggling with Gaeilge. Anyone able to give me the rules for Gaeilge?

(In case you're interested I'm trying Mhorag's Na Horo Gheallaidh and Knut liten og Sylvelin. I have recordings but I struggle with them, mostly because Gåte are inconsiderate and sing too fast)


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 10:54 AM

Just to clarify, I'd like to know the rules of play but if you happen to have phonetic versions of the 2 mentioned it'd make my life a lot easier. My Norwegian friend will hit me for Knut Liten either way.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Bert
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 11:04 AM

Yes we should make a rule that any song posted if a foreign language has its pronunciation posted along with it, if possible.

We'd ALL like to be able to sing these songs.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Silas
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 11:19 AM

Suggest you look at the perpetuated errors thread.

Some of us have enough trouble doing the words in English...


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 02:45 PM

I think it highly inapt to sing a song in a language you don't speak.

I also think it highly inapt to mis-spell "pronunciation".


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 03:32 PM

I think it is good to try to sing in other languages, apologizing for the mispronunciations etc. I certainly would not want to keep anyone from singing in English or Latin and would excuse their mistakes. I have an absolutely terrible ear for languages myself, but others are quite capable of doing an OK job. I would like to be able to sing a few songs in Gaelic..I know I would botch them terribly and would have to do it in a written-out phonetic system..which would be painful for native or trained speakers to listen to I know..but it doesn't mean I shouldn't try. But I have sung (painfully badly) in Welsh, German, probably not too badly in Spanish...French..but that is probably my worst attempt. mg


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Marje
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 03:51 PM

Personally, I wouldn't try to sing in a language I don't speak, apart from the odd phrase or refrain or something. I don't see how you can give the words any expression, or even stress them properly, if you can't understand them.

If people are posting words in a foreign language, it's worse than useless to try to post a phonetic pronunciation. Because English is not phonetically written in the first place, there is no univerally understood way of writing out sounds in a way that will approximate to the correct pronunciation. In addition, many languages have sounds that don't occur in English. If you've ever tried to use a foreign-language phrase book you'll know the problems.

The only sensible way is to post the original words and leave it to the reader to find out how they should sound, possibly by linking with Youtube videos or using a translation program that includes pronunciation.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 04:02 PM

Most languages are written phonetically, so if you know the pronunciation rules, you can read (or sing) them. It does help if you can understand what you're singing though.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Noreen
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 04:03 PM

Why do you want to sing these songs, DC?

I don't see the point in singing something when you don't understand what you're singing, to me it shows disrespect to the song, and to those who do understand what the words mean.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 04:04 PM

No uns gonna lisen enyhow, lessen you tie em down.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 04:21 PM

Singing songs in foreign languages is one of the best ways to learn those languages.

I am a language teacher (I teach Punjabi), and I make my students learn songs. I have sung songs in Spanish, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Arabic, Low German, High German, Norwegian, Yiddish, Hebrew, French, and got the "feel" for some other languages from ditties. There's absolutely no reason not to try it. It's not as if you're trying to become the native voice of the Irish people or something.

The quasi-phonetic Anglophone renderings of pronunciation can be really useless at times, but also very helpful if one uses them as a sort of Rosetta Stone, for clues that otherwise are not being explained well.

However, the OP asked for a more sophisticated list of pronunciation rules. These are a bitch for Irish. Even if one learns the rules, there are many exceptions, which is why the Rosetta Stone of (multiple) "phonetic" renderings helps to clarify. After that, one tries imitation, which is what language learning is.

Gotta crawl before you can walk; sing before you can talk.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 04:32 PM

Most languages are written phonetically

I find it hard to believe that. Some languages are more regular in their spelling, and that makes it easier to use their spelling as a guide to how to pronounce words, once you know that language's spelling conventions, which conventions won't be the same as holds for many (if any) other languages.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 04:35 PM

I have no idea why singing a song in fractured Enlgish or whatever shows disrespect to the song or the language speakers...of course I am assuming that you have a translation of the song and know a bit of its history etc...to make sure you are not singing something offensive or sacred or very political...

But just a pretty nature song or true love song? Why ever not?   And many of us sing more for the tunes than the words anyway.

I think it is respectful to sing songs of other countries and languages and leads to more interconnections globally and attempts to speak other languages and perhaps pick up on common words..mi corazone gor ma chroe..well, can't spell it..mg


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 05:10 PM

I don't mind singing in a foreign (or "dead") language, or hearing someone else do so, but only if the singer understands the meaning of the words, at least in some general sense.

If it's nothing more than an exercise in phonetic imitation, I'd just as soon make do with an instrumental interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Bert
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 05:47 PM

Why do we want to sing those songs.

Er, 'cos they are good songs and
'cos singing is supposed to be fun.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 06:14 PM

When learning other languages, songs are a good way to help. It's good
for developing vocabulary, grammar, sentence structures, learning to
speak poetically, and it makes learning the language fun. You might find that language courses commonly use traditional songs
to help teach the language. It would be better if you know what the
lyrics mean first, so you can get a feeling of the song.

For "dead" languages, I think it's nice to sing those songs to keep
the memory of them alive. It can also be a way to bring those languages
back into common use, if you're trying to do so. I've heard tell of
languages becoming dead and re-emerging.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 06:27 PM

Can't remember much French from school days but I can remember the songs.
Sur le pont d'Avignon
Frere Jacques
Il etait un petit navire
Allouette. (from folk clubs) With action songs just about anybody can follow.

I'd quite like to learn a version of The Diver.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 07:03 PM

Reminds me of the lad who came to London to improve his English . He was really having trouble with all those words that were spelt the same and pronounced differently , or spelt differently yet pronounced the same . He gave up and went home after walking down Shaftesbury Avenue and seeing a Theatre Billboard that said " CATS ! Pronounced Success!!!"


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: keyofzed
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 07:04 PM

I agree with bert and maple leaf boy; it's fun and helps to learn languages. To Steve's list I'd add:
À la claire fontaine
Michelle (sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble)
Wooden Heart (Muss i' denn)


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 07:23 PM

You agree with me, then, McGrath.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 07:37 PM

DrugCrazed asked for help with Gaeilge. No one has offered any (nor can I), preferring instead to hijack the thread and make it a discussion of whether one should sing in a language one doesn't speak. Good topic for a thread, but may I suggest starting a new one devoted to that topic?


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 08:02 PM

The Gaelic song is actually in Scottish Gaelic - Gaidhlig rather than Gaeilge. They are sorta mutually comprehensible but no way the same.

A long time ago I found this song in Maud Karpeles's "Folk Songs of Europe". It has a great catchy tune, and I learned to sing it and never forgot it. Karpeles provides the gist but nothing that would explain how the Basque text is put together. Fortunately Basque (despite its insane syntax) is very phonetic; I'd never heard it sung before looking it up on YouTube just now, and it seems I got it phoneme-perfect 30 years ago. I couldn't do anything like that for Gaelic, even though I know what far more of its words mean.

Aldapeko
subtitled version with weird actions
very slow and articulated version with male pin-up photos

(there are a lot more versions out there)


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,Seonaid
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 08:09 PM

Best way to learn pronunciation in any variety of Gaelic:
Find someone who knows the language (knows it *really* -- not just someone who studied it briefly!) and pester them mercilessly, record them singing and speaking, then do what primates do best and imitate. Later, take your efforts back to your mentor and ask for help polishing the result. I was very lucky to find a true Gaelic scholar in my neighborhood; he was tremendously helpful with songs, and even knew various dialects.
Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 08:17 PM

Totally blind singing teacher needs translation of song urge ...


Google that site. There is AN answer there but for Irish, not Scot.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 08:37 PM

Google says there are lots of people out there offering Skype lessons in Gaelic. Presumably the first few would get you up to speed on the pronunciation. (I don't think it would be a good idea to take on both Irish and Scottish Gaelic simultaneously - pick one).

GUEST 999, that phrase gets astonishing results out of Google. Gnosticism, Nietzsche, numerology, Rilke, Christian fundamentalism and spyware on the Blackberry, all on the first page.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 08:51 PM

Sorry.

I have copied what was there to this thread.

Thanks for the heads up, Jack.


CHORUS:
[The lyrics I found]:Him ò ì og ì ò
[What I hear from Clannad]: (hem oh ho kee oh)

[The lyrics I found]: A Mhòrag 's na ho rò gheallaidh
[What I hear from Clannad]: (hew reppo ho re yommi)

[The lyrics I found]: Him ò ì og ì ò
[What I hear from Clannad]: (hem oh ho kee yo)

Verse 1, sung by males:
[The lyrics I found]: Mhorag Bheag a'chul dualaich
[What I hear from Clannad]: (Mhorag veg gackool duwalli)

[The lyrics I found]: Gu de dh'fhag an gruaim air t'aire
[What I hear from Clannad]: (koochay gaggen groo ammer tarra)

CHORUS:
Him ò ì og ì ò
A Mhòrag 's na ho rò gheallaidh
Him ò ì og ì ò

Verse 2, sung by females:
[The lyrics I found]: 'G iomain a chruaidh-laoidh gu buaile
[What I hear from Clannad]: (yim onya cree wee go bwall ya)

[The lyrics I found]: 'S nach fhaic mi mo luaidh a dh'fhearaibh
[What I hear from Clannad]: (snahag mammo loo ah ya yarra)

CHORUS:
Him ò ì og ì ò
A Mhòrag 's na ho rò gheallaidh
Him ò ì og ì ò

{LOL! I bet some of you are really really laughing by now! Hahahahaha!}

Verse 3, sung by males and it's kinda the same as the last verse but slightly different I think:
[The lyrics I found]: 'G iomain a chruaidh-laoidh gu airidh
[What I hear from Clannad]: (ggim onya cree wee go ah ree)

[The lyrics I found]: 'S nach fhaic mi mo ghradh a dh'fhearaibh
[What I hear from Clannad]: (snahag mammo rahala yarra)

CHORUS:
Him ò ì og ì ò
A Mhòrag 's na ho rò gheallaidh
Him ò ì og ì ò

Verse 4, sung by females:
[The lyrics I found]: Suithadaibh luadhaibh an clo
[What I hear from Clannad]: (shoo too vlwa yivan clogga)

[The lyrics I found]: Gu deise phosaidh dha mo leannan
[What I can hear from Clannad]: (jisha for see larmo l'yah anan)

CHORUS:
Him ò ì og ì ò
A Mhòrag 's na ho rò gheallaidh
Him ò ì og ì ò

Verse 5, sung by males:
[The lyrics I found]: Tha te ur am buth an tailleir
[What I can hear from Clannad]: (hachay ooren brooken talya)

[The lyrics I found]: 'S thig i an duigh na 'maireach dhachaidh
[What I can hear from Clannad]: (sicki joo na marra gar whee)

CHORUS:
Him ò ì og ì ò
A Mhòrag 's na ho rò gheallaidh
Him ò ì og ì ò

{Hahahahahahaha! I really need help don't I! LOL!}

Verse 6, sung by females:
{The lyrics I found]: Chan eil mo leannan-so ga h-iarriadh
[What I can hear from Clannad]: (an al mul yanan sugga h'ya ree)

[The lyrics I found]: Tha te liath aige's te thartain
[What I can hear from Clannad]: (hachay lee ya gairshty harshta)

CHORUS:
Him ò ì og ì ò
A Mhòrag 's na ho rò gheallaidh
Him ò ì og ì ò


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: FloraG
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 03:47 AM

we know that foreigners only speak foreign when we are there. As soon as we leave they return to speaking English - so we may as well get our own back by singing in foreign.

Ha gu ma

FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 03:57 AM

I feel that way when people come to Canada. Well said, Flora.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: harmonic miner
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 04:59 AM

I always pronounce it 'SONGS'!

But seriously, while I have reservations about singing in a language you don't understand or speak, the only way to do it is to LISTEN to the song. Better still take lessons in the language. How can you learn pronunciation from a page? While Guest999's 'translation' above has clearly took some work, there's no way you could use it to sing that song. And if you did, I'm not sure Clannad would recognise it


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 05:30 AM

The spelling 999 quoted is very similar to the orthography of Manx Gaelic. If you'd heard the song, it probably would help.

(BTW I didn't mean to give the impression that 999's suggested search string failed - it got the right site on the first hit. But you don't expect to get quite such an exotic selection of secondary suggestions).


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 09:31 AM

LOL

Jack, I thought the link was causing spam to happen.

Harmpnic miner, I wouldn't understand Gaelic if it bit me. That's from an Irish site. Proud of their language are the Irish.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 10:09 AM

Most of my Irish-speaking friends are from Ulster (the nine counties), and they say that the Irish taught in schools is nothing like what is actually spoken. Guest 999's transcription of Clannad's singing is close to what I would expect from my knowledge of Gaelic, and I find that Donegal Irish shares a lot of it's pronunciation with Gaelic, eg dubh pronounced doo rather than duv. Similarly, Argyll Gaelic has frequently been berated for its 'Irishisms'.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Crowhugger
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 02:12 PM

Singing in other languages, or any sincere attempt to communicate in someone else's mother tongue, tells the native speaker that you'll reach out and meet them more than halfway. That's certainly how it was taken when the chorus I sing in performed a verse of a song in Russian when performing in St. Petersburg, RU. Despite coaching by a native speaker, our pronunciation was tenuous at best, yet our effort was thunderously appreciated. Comparable efforts were similarly appreciated when the other chorus touring with us sang a Russian folk song in its original language.

And this is also how it's been taken here at home when I perform French-language (well, Québécois or "Fr'Ontarien", really) songs, despite the fact that I often mess up elisions and pronunciation of final e's among other things. When singing in a language not my own to an audience that won't or may not understand the words, I feel a strong responsibility as an entertainer to make doubly sure the emotional story behind the words is very clear.

Re: ««...we know that foreigners only speak foreign when we are there. As soon as we leave they return to speaking English...»»
I tried to bite my tongue on this one, but that didn't stop my fingers from tapping a reply in spite of myself: Huh? I find this remark thoughtless at best, but mainly presumptuous and perhaps xenophobic. I suppose that's because in my country, native-born people may speak any number of languages, including but not limited to English, French, a slew of First Nations tongues, as well as parents' tongues such as Urdu, Italian, Polish and on and on. Maybe the remark was meant to be funny, but obviously that boat sailed without me.

Re: ««...there is no univerally understood way of writing out sounds in a way that will approximate to the correct pronunciation...»»
Have you checked out the International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA for short? It's those unfamiliar letters & symbols found in dictionaries, for example upside down e (schwa). Usually it's studied by linguists, but learning a few letters can be invaluable for recording sounds that don't exist in your mother tongue.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 02:27 PM

My post to Flora was tongue in cheek. Well said, Crowhugger.

The IPA can be googled. There are various sites including one that will make the sounds of what each letter (symbol) makes.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: FloraG
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 03:06 PM

crowhugger

you missed the fact that part of my reply was in phonetic gaelic as the original Q was about the gaelic song. I spelt it as I think you would pronounce it. Personally I think it sad that many minority languages are disappearing. The Government of the USA at one stage had a policy of only teaching cajun children only in English as did the GB Gov in Wales and Scotland. Today, many of our children speak Urdu, but the English Government have just changed the rules yet again on what is to be taught ( and thus valued ) by limiting the foreign languages that count towards what is deemed a good school - and urdu is not amoung them. Sad.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Crowhugger
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 03:11 PM

I hoped I missed something...now I know what. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 03:45 PM

Ditto.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Mysha
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 05:39 PM

Hi Crazed,

Nice song, that Knut Liten og Sylvelin. I tried YouTube, and I noticed there's also a version by Folque. They seem a bit easier to follow. I didn't check whether the words are exactly the same, though.

The lyrics aren't in the Digital Tradition, so I tried to Google for them: There seem to be a lot of verses; they may sing different selections.

Bye,
                                                                  Mysha


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 07:01 PM

Norwegian is slightly easier for me to learn since I have a norwegian friend. It's also harder to sing in it because I know that she knows how to make napalm and loves the dialect.

@999 THANK YOU SO MUCH! That'll go a nice long way into learning that.
@Mysha I'll have a look at that link, thanks an awful lot. Tbf, I was asking for it when I was listening to Gaate (a folk-rock-experimental band).
@Marje I'm singing in other languages because they're nice songs. I do the same for them as I do with English songs, and find out as much as I can about them. Thanks to looking at Norwegian transaltions, I've learnt that in Norwegian fairy tales, the King lives on a farm as opposed to in a castle. I find searching for the lore of a song one of the great things about learning folk songs.

There's also a standard for phonetics if I recall correctly which I never understood, but my PC does.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 08:09 PM

@Noreen My reasoning is basically "Pretty song. Me like pretty song". It just adds an extra section to the 3rd part of rehearsing for me.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 11:55 PM

Gaelic was the mother tongue of both of my parents. Until his death when I was six my grandfather lived with us and, although he was fluent in English, he would speak to me in Gaelic, so that I would learn it. After his death I had lost and forgotten much of what I had learned. As an adult I am trying to re-learn what I have lost. I live in a part of the world (Cape Breton Island) where there still dwell fluent Gaelic speakers. Therefore I will not sing phonetically but only if I understand and comprehend every word because people know the difference. The phonics of Gaelic are much different than English and the written word is full of a different lenition. All that being said I almost always sing in English.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 03:32 AM

Sadly I'm not lucky enough to have any fluent Gaelic speakers nearby (though I could probably find one if I looked with any degree of effort). Unless anyone here lives in the Sheffield area and wishes to teach me?

I'm fully with you with the singing phonetically by the way. Gaelic has different "rules" which I can't yet understand, whereas the Norwegian follows rules I can get my head around (WHERE DID THE Y SOUND IN "gheallaidh" COME FROM!?) and I always have Norwegian Ladyfriend to check. I'm treating these in the same way I treated French speaking at GCSE, which was "Learn the rules, learn the words". It meant I could go into that exam with the vague notions of what I could be asked but with answers I could invent on the spot.

Long and short is that if I don't feel like I'm doing it justice then I won't sing it, especially since I'll have to teach it to other people.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: FloraG
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 06:59 AM

There are some courses on you tube - can seo - very dated but content ok and speaking our language. You will find these help. They explain the letters you don't pronounce and aspiration.
FloraG.

Me - I like to sing a gaelic song for one of the dances I do. It stops me playing it too fast - which I tend to do if I use an instrument. It also means I can demonstrate it on the floor and sing it as I do it. It helps with the strathspey step.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: harmonic miner
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 10:59 AM

Thanks Guest999, I sort of gathered that you'd got it from somewhere. In my case, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. My Irish used to be fairly good and now is less so, but I have a few songs that I can sing in Irish. By the time I've learned a song, I understand it but I'd need to see the lyrics written down. A good way to increase vocabulary when you're learnign a language. To me, Donegal Irish (as used by Clannad?) sounds as different from Munster Irish as Scots Gaelic does.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 12:19 PM

"WHERE DID THE Y SOUND IN "gheallaidh" COME FROM!?"
That is lenition where the "H" changes the sound of the consonant before it. Gh becomes a "Y" sound. Sometimes the consonant is just softened and sometimes it is muted.
Something similar happens in English where the "H" changes the "P" to an "F" in telephone.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Marje
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 01:01 PM

There is indeed an International Phonetic Alphabet that would help to offer a proper pronunciation guide, but most people wouldn't know how to use it or to read it, so it's probably not a practical way of conveying pronunciation on a forum like this. I don't know how accessible the symbols are on a computer anyway.

I've never said that other people shouldn't sing in languages they don't understand. I just explained why I prefer not to do it, and why I don't think "phonetically" written versions of other languages are enough. Learning from hearing other speakers/singers is a far better way, especially if accompanied by some attempt to understand the individual words.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 08 Apr 11 - 09:40 PM

@Sandy These sort of things are mostly what I'm after. The "rules" of pronouncing are much more important to me than the phoenetics. I'm getting there with Norwegian (ish) by just learning things like å is an "oh". It's how I blagged French and the French lady who came in every now and again asked if I was fluent...


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 09 Apr 11 - 05:43 PM

If you want to learn songs in other languages, I would advise learning the language's alphabet and diphthongs.

Rewriting in English pronunciation can only be an approximation, and as such you would be learning an approximate sound of the words.


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Subject: RE: Pronounciation of songs
From: Genie
Date: 09 Apr 11 - 09:46 PM

What Gibb Sahib said!

I agree that singing songs in other languages is one of the best ways to learn those languages, especially if you have some experience with or study of those languages. Singing often allows you to slow it down and focus on proper pronunciation. (OK, French is partly an exception, in that the French often pronounce words that end in"e" differently in song than they do in speech.   

As to why you would want to sing a song in a foreign language, even if you're far from fluent in it, you do it because of the event (e.g., an opera or an Oktoberfest program) and/or because of your audience (e.g., people who want to hear songs in their native languages and don't often get the chance to hear them live.) For example, I play and sing regularly at several Jewish retirement and nursing communities, and am encouraged to sing songs in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino, and even Russian. (I understand the Yiddish and Ladino better than the other two because I have some background in German and in Spanish.) I also provide music for a number of communities that have a lot of Hispanic residents, and they love to sing along with me when I sing in Spanish.
Early on, I got some constructive criticism of some of my pronunciation, and that helped me improve rapidly. I also make it a point, when possible, to understand what I am singing. But sometimes clients are thrilled just to have someone sing one of the songs from "the old country," even if it's not perfect.
Many of the American Jewish people who sing along with me don't speak Hebrew any better than I do, but they have learned the songs — and basically pronounced them well and know, if not word-for-word, what they mean.

I would agree that it's wise not to put a song on a commercial CD if your pronunciation is laughable (Nat King Cole's "O Tannenbaum," anyone?) and/or you haven't a clue what you're singing. (Note that pronunciation skill and comprehension may not be highly correlated with each other.)   But in casual situations, I think it's great to expand your linguistic and cultural horizons by learning and sharing songs from other languages.

Should you not try to speak Spanish when in Mexico or Spain just because you're not yet fluent?    How are you going to develop your fluency with that rule in place?   Personally, I'm much more comfortable singing a song in a foreign language than I am trying to converse in it, precisely because I sing the songs much more skillfully than I converse in those languages.   (Repetition of the lyrics promotes fluency, and since singing is usually slower than speech, the singing is easier to master.)

But it's true that trying to figure out how to pronounce something (even in your own language) works a lot better with auditory info and feedback than with attempts to "write it out phonetically."


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