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Do you generally feel confident figuring out how to pronounce new words and names?

  • I’m usually pretty good at figuring out how to say an unfamiliar word or name.

    Votes: 33 80.5%
  • I’m usually a bit flustered when trying to pronounce an unfamiliar word or name.

    Votes: 7 17.1%
  • I don’t even bother attempting it and just skim over or ask someone to pronounce it for me.

    Votes: 1 2.4%
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Discussion Starter #1
Not counting words or names that follow pronunciation rules from other languages that you don't know, do you generally feel confident making a guess at how something would be pronounced?

As you read do you bother to try to hear a new word or name in your head or do you just skim over and remember it by looks, or first letter only? (such as 'that guy that starts with T')

I doubt this is closely related to type, but I thought it was an interesting question none-the-less. One of my friends and I have talked about it a fair bit concerning writing stories and reading. She's always complaining that she never has a clue how to say characters names, and I'm always saying it looks pretty obvious to me.

An aspect I find interesting is that for the most part I think people subconsciously learn rules of how sounds or letters interact in their language, and the patterns of which syllables should be stressed. Dealing with new words or names would rely on applying those subconscious rules. But perhaps some people learn pronunciations more as individually memorized things, and don't as naturally draw connections between them? I suppose it also makes a difference how much it matters to you whether you know how to say something or not? (I'm not really sure why it does matter to me, but I do automatically try to figure it out).

I'd be interested in hearing any theories or personal stories others might have regarding this. :)
 

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Not counting words or names that follow pronunciation rules from other languages that you don't know
Oh so you mean in my own language? It's highly improbable that I don't know how to pronounce a word, given that italian is pretty straightforward as for pronunciation, when you know the basic rules. We don't have words like food and blood, that have the same combination of letters but different pronunciations, for example. The biggest difficulty could be where the stress goes. The majority of words are plain and those that aren't should have a written accent. Like ancora: "again" - plain word with implied, not written accent on the O (penultimate sillable) and àncora: "anchor" - it's not a plain word, therefore to differentiate the two words we put a graphic accent on the stressed sillable.

With english and other languages I like to guess how a word is pronounced. Now I'm thinking about enunciating a character's name or a place in my head while i'm reading a book. I find it annoying when I can't decide on how to pronounce a word and I am also a bit disappointed when I find out the name of a character or place has a different pronunciation than i thought.
 
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I'm very good in it. Even with unfamiliar languages like French, English (and even with languages i barely know), italian/german/icelandic i always can guess what for pronouncation the word would have. :) I'm good in mimic accents too. I speak English in an American way :p

And with my native language: i would feel ashamed if i couldn't pronounce it good. I think it is extremely easy to pronounce words in dutch correctly.
 

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I'm actually pretty good with pronunciation, I thank all the books I've read in my life.
 

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I am one of the worst pronouncers of words of all times. I read a great deal and somewhere I read that people who read more than they speak or learn words from reading instead of listening to people speak sometime have trouble knowing what words sound like. I have no idea where I read this but it seems true in my case. Or maybe I just suck at word pronunciation and will latch on to whatever excuse I can find.
 

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Unless the name is a language I'm completely unfamiliar with, generally I can figure it out. If not, there's no shame in asking. Half the time I don't remember names anyway.
 

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I'm pretty good, since I know Cantonese and Spanish (also, I know Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Italian, etc pronunciation tendencies pretty well) beyond just English. So, I just apply my knowledge to figure out different pronunciations.
 

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Not counting words or names that follow pronunciation rules from other languages that you don't know, do you generally feel confident making a guess at how something would be pronounced?
Not counting words derived from the rules of other languages, I'm generally quite confident in my ability to estimate the correct pronunciation of unfamiliar words.

As you read do you bother to try to hear a new word or name in your head or do you just skim over and remember it by looks, or first letter only? (such as 'that guy that starts with T')
If I'm unfamiliar with the word, I'll search it up on Google. If the pronunciation is baffling, I will use the audio from Google to get a grasp of how it's pronounced. Generally though, the way I learn words has little to do with audio or visual remembrance. Rather, I remember words by conceptualizing them and relating them to my internal schemas. For example, I recall what the word "furtive" means because I relate it strongly to the suspicious, motive-concealing expressions and behaviors of the inhabitants of Dunwich in Lovecraft's, "The Dunwich Horror." I recall what the word "coronation" means because of the ceremony it described in Shakespeare's, "Hamlet." Rather than attempting to memorize any particular string of sounds or visual symbols, I try to think of what the word means and what concrete things it can accurately describe. That's how I learn words.


Also, I do agree that the rules of language are largely subconscious as we learn them largely at a young age through exposure and imitation.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am one of the worst pronouncers of words of all times. I read a great deal and somewhere I read that people who read more than they speak or learn words from reading instead of listening to people speak sometime have trouble knowing what words sound like. I have no idea where I read this but it seems true in my case. Or maybe I just suck at word pronunciation and will latch on to whatever excuse I can find.
Given that people tend to use fewer words in common conversation than are often found in books, it makes sense that 'readers' often learn words without having any reference to how it sounds aside from their imagination. While I'm generally good at figuring out pronunciations, there have definitely been words that I thought sounded completely different and have been confused when finally hearing them spoken. Several of my friends have mentioned the same.
 

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Almost never. I studied Latin in HS so I can figure out any romance language.

I also studied Japanese which oddly enough, sounds similar to Swahili so I have no trouble with either of those

I do have a hard time with Madarin. Even though written Japanese is based on Chinese writting, they are pronounced very differently.

In general, I am very good at linguistics so if I know the origion of a word I can usually figure it out.
 

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I'm kind of good at pronouncing foreign things since I researched the languages that use them (e.g. Polish place names, some Chinese words (exc. the tones); probably some Arabic. I've never really learnt those languages to the point of knowing their grammar). I happen to have a knack for it due to my interest in languages, but I lack any discipline and motivation to actually learn how to speak one fluently. However, I doubt I could pronounce anything Gaelic and Welsh, and there are some user names I feel like I can't pronounce, such as this particular INFP Finn whose name starts with a p.
 

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Meh...depends on the word.
 

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Sometimes and other times.


My own language (English) I can usually do pretty well with. Linguistics is not my thing however, I barely scraped by in Spanish in HS because when it came to listening to somebody naturally speaking the language I can't decipher shit from it because it all sounds like gibberish; I can't even tell the break between words, it all just bleeds together.
 

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I am one of the worst pronouncers of words of all times. I read a great deal and somewhere I read that people who read more than they speak or learn words from reading instead of listening to people speak sometime have trouble knowing what words sound like. I have no idea where I read this but it seems true in my case. Or maybe I just suck at word pronunciation and will latch on to whatever excuse I can find.
It's definitely true. I read and use words in my own writing all the time which I would never rise to say in conversation because I have no idea how to say them and I don't hear others using them either; which likely has to do with the music I listen to and the people I keep company with. So I try to keep my vernacular very simple. As far as I'm concerned it's better to sound like a simp and be underestimated by all, than it is to butcher the pronunciation of complicated words because then it sounds like you're just trying to act smart.
 
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