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Author Topic: Can you speak slower?  (Read 581 times)

Calach Pfeffer

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Can you speak slower?
« on: May 15, 2016, 08:45:42 AM »
I mean that literally: can you speak slower? After years in China I know for sure my classroom speech is slower. but I know for sure that not all of it is. I slow down for important points, usually main or summary points, and enunciate carefully.

But I've just now come back from being Foreign Voice #A in an interpretion competition. There was me with a script, a Chinese speaker with a script, and a stream of different students, twelve in total, sitting between us being the interpreter. And I feel bad right now for the interpreters. Aside from the fact all bar one were students I see in my Biz classes, they all had to try coping with just how hard I find it to slow down my speech.

Sure, I can enunciate more clearly. But English has communicative speed features. A native speaker will, by and large, deliver grammar structures fast and blurry in a rush to the slow boat information words. That's how we get the k'new for can you and the dunno for don't know and gonna for going to. Grammar is rushed on the assumption that everyoneknows grammar, while whatever words is delivering the content of your speech is slower and more clear because that's what's different in your sentence from any other sentence of the same grammatical form. Right?

Wha'tsya name? Wha'tsya shoe size? Etc.

Aside from the fact my script had a lot of sentences that would look fine in print but never be spoken, I knew I was going too fast. But who can slow down ever anyway?
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old34

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Re: Can you speak slower?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2016, 01:59:14 PM »
But English has communicative speed features. A native speaker will, by and large, deliver grammar structures fast and blurry in a rush to the slow boat information words.

It's called elision. The verb is "elide".

One of my most favourite lessons. I offer to buy lunch for anyone who can answer my question: j'ya i:jyet.

Never lost. They usually guess I'm saying teacher.

If I'm lucky, I'll have another American teacher walk by and call him/her into the room without a setup, and they always respond/understand.

Then I ask the kids what do you say when greeting someone in China?

"chi fanle ma?"

In English? "Did you eat yet?"

Exactly!

Did you eat yet. Didja eat yet. j'ya i:yet.

Blows their minds.

I stress that this isn't a pronunciation lesson. Ie, they don't have to speak like this, but it's more important for their listening skills as in watching English movies is too difficult because everyone speaks too fast.

"No they're not speaking fast, they're just eliding."

Chinese has the same feature which seems to help them understand the concept: Chi fan le ma becomes chi le ma, and ni you shenme shiqing? becomes You shi ma?

The scales seem to fall from their ears and minds when when they hear this.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.

LadyGamymede

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Re: Can you speak slower?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2016, 11:42:53 PM »
Thank you. I'm going to try this in my classes.

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Can you speak slower?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2016, 10:19:44 AM »
Did you eat yet. Didja eat yet. j'ya i:yet.

Blows their minds.

I'm probably presenting it differently, but a class today were totes blaise. Also they thought I was trying to say Chinese, specifically "ji dian le". But then, I introduced the point by - slowly and carefully - saying "ni you shenme shiqing" and then "you shi ma". I wanted to say first up that China has an example of two equivalent sentences, one which is shorter and one which is longer, the shorter being understood because, duh, everyone totes knows what you mean. (Students btw claim those two sentences mean different things; works though with ni chi fan le mei you and chi le ma.)

Anyway, the fact that English speakers can and do drop some sounds and alter some others to produce shorter, seemingly faster expressions for communicative effect left them formally unimpressed.

I don't actually know the practical lesson we can learn from knowing that elision exists. Does it mean I could say "yo, listen for the clear, more carefully enunciated words - they're the ones sending you information - and guess the rest." Or does it mean I could say, "yo, checky tout, English speakers use sound and rhythm to convey meaning - you should pick up the beats! Where speaker hits hardest is where the key words be."

That is, since elision makes hearing distinct grammatical content literally impossible, work off beats and context?
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old34

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Re: Can you speak slower?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2016, 01:49:05 PM »
Did you eat yet. Didja eat yet. j'ya i:yet.

Blows their minds.

I'm probably presenting it differently, but a class today were totes blaise. Also they thought I was trying to say Chinese, specifically "ji dian le". But then, I introduced the point by - slowly and carefully - saying "ni you shenme shiqing" and then "you shi ma". I wanted to say first up that China has an example of two equivalent sentences, one which is shorter and one which is longer, the shorter being understood because, duh, everyone totes knows what you mean. (Students btw claim those two sentences mean different things; works though with ni chi fan le mei you and chi le ma.)

Anyway, the fact that English speakers can and do drop some sounds and alter some others to produce shorter, seemingly faster expressions for communicative effect left them formally unimpressed.

I don't actually know the practical lesson we can learn from knowing that elision exists. Does it mean I could say "yo, listen for the clear, more carefully enunciated words - they're the ones sending you information - and guess the rest." Or does it mean I could say, "yo, checky tout, English speakers use sound and rhythm to convey meaning - you should pick up the beats! Where speaker hits hardest is where the key words be."

That is, since elision makes hearing distinct grammatical content literally impossible, work off beats and context?

And stress. Sentence, word and syllable stress.
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. - B. O'Driscoll.
TIC is knowing that, in China, your fruit salad WILL come with cherry tomatoes AND all slathered in mayo. - old34.