Simple site launched to help educate on pronunciation

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by andyjeffries, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. Anarax

    Anarax Black Belt

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    The purpose of language is to communicate. When two people are communicating and both know exactly what the other person is saying and means then that's successful communication. I can approach it one of two ways. 1) I can have seamless communication with someone and pronounce the words we both know and understand, or 2) be a stickler and "correct" every Latin, Greek, German and Arabic rooted word they use and tell them they are pronouncing them "incorrectly".
     
  2. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    Agreed. The problem arises when a native speaker of the language no longer understands what is being said. The limit of intelligibility has then been reached.

    This happens with quite small modifications to sounds in Korean, especially vowels. Take the name of the colour belt form set, Taegeuk. If the eu vowel ㅡ is mispronounced as u ㅜ, which frequently happens in Europe and the US, you no longer have the meaning "great infinite", you have "Thailand". That's quite the difference.

    Applying that same principle to 8 out of 10 Taekwondo terms used in a typical dojang, and it can be quite difficult for Koreans to understand what the heck we are talking about.

    I've yet to meet a non-Korean Taekwondoin who can actually pronounce even the numbers one to ten correctly so that they are intelligible to a Korean native speaker.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Anarax

    Anarax Black Belt

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    Let me add some context to what I said. Obviously it would be an English speaker not a native Korean speaker that would be pronouncing the Korean words "incorrectly". Meaning an English speaking Tae Kwon Do student isn't going to converse with someone in fluent Korean if they can't speak Korean. If the native English speaking student knows fluent Korean then they will already know they are pronouncing the terms "incorrectly". If you have two English speakers, for example two tae kwon do students, who are pronouncing a term "incorrectly" to each other, yet they both know what the other is saying then does it matter?
     
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, it does. If you're not going to try to pronounce the Korean words correctly, just use the English words instead.
     
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  5. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    At their first contact with a Korean trainer, then yes, it will matter. Not teaching students the correct pronunciation of Korean terminology is doing them a disservice if they later decide to take their training more seriously and travel to Korea.

    In the age of the Internet it's not exactly difficult to find out how the words should sound. Making the sounds correctly and being able to differentiate between what to us are similar sounds is more difficult.

    I guess it just depends on a person's own appetite for foreign languages and 'correctness'.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
     
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  6. Anarax

    Anarax Black Belt

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    I disagree. That means that everyone should say "empty hand" oppose to pronouncing it karate and create confusion? The most difficult thing in all of this is where to you draw the line? It means pronounce everything with the original pronunciation or pronounce it where people will understand what you mean. I had a native Korean tae kwon do teacher when I was a kid, he taught us to pronounce it the "incorrect" way. If a 6th degree black belt native of Korea teaches it like that, I don't see a problem with it. He obviously didn't see it as ruining anything nor disrespectful to pronounce it that way.
     
  7. Anarax

    Anarax Black Belt

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    If they travel to Korea wouldn't they want to learn more than a few TKD terms before going there? If an non native English speaker traveled to an American boxing gym and pronounced rope a dope "incorrectly" I doubt people would think he lacked commitment or was less of a student. Even with "incorrect" pronunciation I'm sure a Korean teacher will know what you mean. I had a native Korean tae kwon do teacher when I was a kid, he taught us to pronounce it the "incorrect" way. If a 6th degree black belt native of Korea teaches it like that, I don't see a problem with it. He obviously didn't see it as ruining anything nor disrespectful to pronounce it that way.
     
  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is my personal approach. I'm not sure it's universal, though, DD. I think a lot of folks are quite comfortable with the Korean (or Japanese, or Chinese, etc.) terms, however they are pronounced, so long as everyone in the room understands them.
     
  9. Anarax

    Anarax Black Belt

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    I try to pronounce the terms as close as an American can ;). I'm not against the "correct" pronunciation, but I am against when someone criticizes others because they feel they are ruining something or being disrespectful by not pronouncing it perfectly.
     
  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    You seem very tied up in this being an overbearing thing. The whole tone of the site the OP put up is fairly light and respectful. He used the word "ruin" once, in what I interpreted as a half-tongue-in-cheek way. You've posted over and over about that use of the word and what you perceive as his arrogance and disrespect. It's not nearly that bad, man.
     
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  11. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Is this discussion making us smarter or dumber? just taking a quick pulse check here.
     
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  12. Anarax

    Anarax Black Belt

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    I was making counter-arguments to the overall concept of mispronunciation, not only his post. Some people I have trained with thought that it was disrespectful to mispronounce terms, I stated why I disagreed with the overall concept of it. I don't think he's been disrespectful nor has he called anyone disrespectful. He more so sounds annoyed by it.
     
  13. Martial D

    Martial D Master Black Belt

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    So you pronounce taekwondo like AM-air-a-doe-tay?

    Thanks for the lesson, I've been doing it wrong!
     
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  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Of that, I'm not certain, Steve. Parts of it are intellectually engaging. Other parts, not so much.
     
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  15. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    Not necessarily, and that's the point of using Korean terminology in the first place - it allows Taekwondoin to at least train together even if the don't fully speak each other's languages. They have a basic shared vocabulary in Korean.
    Not the same - there is much more bandwidth in English before intelligibility is lost.
    How sure are you? My Korean pronunciation is relatively good, and I have spent a lot of time on it. My Korean friends don't always understand what I mean. Sometimes they correct my pronunciation in a way where I can't even hear a difference. That's the problem.
    I doubt very much that a native Korean used incorrect pronunciation deliberately. More likely is that the students in his class were not able to hear the difference and he never corrected it.


    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
     
  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Out of purely intellectual curiosity, can you expound on this?

    How old were you when you started working on it? There's some evidence that we stop being able to learn to hear/distinguish new phonemes (parts of words) after our late teens. I have this problem when my wife tries to teach me Russian sounds. There's one that sounds to me very much like the sound in the French word for "eye" (<<oeil>>), but she insists that sound isn't all that close. This is why people can come to the US in their 30's, and 40 years later still have a heavy accent in their English.
     
  17. TrueJim

    TrueJim 3rd Black Belt

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    (Stealing liberally from Wikipedia here...)

    I suspect that Gnarlie's referring to the fact that there's a lot of redundancy in English, on multiple levels. Here's one example:
    • That man is a soldier.
    • Those men are soldiers.
    In the second sentence, plurality is indicated in three different ways: (1) men/men (2) is/are (3) soldier/soldiers. A less redundant language would express the second sentence as something like "That man is soldiers" and still be grammatically correct. This means you can make multiple mistakes in English and still be understood. The redundancy in English is so extreme that you can even words out and people still understand what you mean. Do people realize that even punctuation marks are a form of redundancy. And dno't get me setratd on our atiliby to raed selbmarcd secnetnes. :)

    Also, at the level of phonemes, English phonemes always differ in multiple ways, so that even if you get one or two ways "wrong" the other differences in the phonemes are still enough of an indicator for a listener to distinguish the phonemes. For example the way the sounds /p/ and /b/ are pronounced in English use different voicing, aspiration, and muscular tension. The corresponding sounds in other languages might differ only in voicing, for example, or only in aspiration, making precise pronunciation more crucial.

    When I took anthropology class in college, we were taught that humans can't learn new vowel sounds past about 8 months of age. There's a famous experiment where a woman gave infants treats when she pronounced the sound "oh" rather than the sound "oh" (the two vowels sound the same to you and me). Before month 9 infants were able to learn to distinguish the two "oh" sounds -- but after month 9 they couldn't. (The woman was an Inuit; the Inuit apparently have subtle shades of "oh" sounds.)
     
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  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, many languages lack articles - it's something I've never managed to understand in Russian. And don't get me started on their foolishly loose approach to the past tense! Oh, and you missed the that/those cue. :p

    Especially when the start and and letters are correct - an interesting effect I've not heard a great explanation for yet.

    I hadn't thought of that.

    That is apparently true of some sounds, though in general children in their early years can become essentially native speakers of a new language. The later into their teens they get, the less likely they are to develop native pronunciation. Perhaps it is more of an issue with vowel sounds than with consonants, because in most languages there's a bit of "give" in how vowel sounds are heard as "right" (more variability between similar dialects). The consonants seem to be the hard part. Learning the French "r" and "ble" sounds seem particularly hard for American adults to pick up, but kids (and even teens) seem to do okay. And of course there's the common issue for some Asians learning English with the "l" and "r" sounds.
     
  19. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Working with the public on a daily basis gives some interesting observations. Especially concerning language. Certain words aren't used any more, apparently becoming passée. While newer terms have become accepted because of everyday usage.

    What I've noticed, and it's about as subtle as a baseball bat, is parents no longer use the word "no" with their children. And, from what I've seen over the last year, it isn't limited to any one country or ethnic background.

    But it's probably okay. What could possibly go wrong?
     
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  20. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    My favourite is people mispronouncing Taebaek as more like Daebak (slightly harder start and not identical vowel sounds). That changes the meaning from the name of a South Korean mountain to the slang for "awesome!".

    I look forward to meeting you one day ;-) Seriously though, as I've been learning Korean for 3 years I'd hope to be able to achieve at least that :-D
     

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