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The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe => Podcast Episodes => Topic started by: Steven Novella on January 27, 2018, 04:01:37 am

Title: Episode #655
Post by: Steven Novella on January 27, 2018, 04:01:37 am
Interview with Richard Saunders; What’s the Word: Altricial; News Items: CES 2018, Space Lasers, Rainbow Dinosaur; Your Questions and E-mails: Denying Depression; Science or Fiction
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Belgarath on January 27, 2018, 11:24:59 am
Steve,

It appears that the premium feed cuts off after 5 minutes.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: brilligtove on January 27, 2018, 11:47:39 am
Yup. 4:18 to be 'pendantic' har har har. /dadjoke
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on January 27, 2018, 02:52:03 pm
The entire ad free file is there now.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: lonely moa on January 27, 2018, 06:36:29 pm
Blue Planet II was amazing.  Especially narrated by Sir David himself. 
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on January 28, 2018, 07:28:19 am
Is it just me, or does the most recent episode not show up on the website?
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: bimble on January 29, 2018, 08:55:45 am
listening to the Richard Saunders interview, and as they were talking about the si-fi/conspiracy movie where the world is actually flat, but the conspiracy is that it's really round just reminded me of the Terry Pratchett book 'Small Gods' which is based upon a flat earth, but the main religion of the nation that is the topic of the book preaches that the world is round...

The Turtle Moves...  ;)
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: hic erro on January 29, 2018, 12:03:00 pm
I don't think "altricious" needs to be insulting.  You could use it to refer to "late bloomers", either who just needed some time to get their life in order, or who achieved success later in life.  E.g., "Leonard Cohen was an altricious singer-songwriter."
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: mrhall on January 29, 2018, 12:22:16 pm
Heard Cara mention having visual migraines today.  I believe that is something I've been dealing with the past 5 or so years (since I started working at a computer full time).

I get these blind spots in my field of vision surrounded by a zig zagging flashing rainbow.  Sometimes the flashing zig zags surround the entire blind spot, sometimes they only cover one side.  Sometimes they start off small and grow in size, other times they start off large.  When I researched it, I came accross the term visual aura which are associated with occular migraines/absent migraines.  Searching images for "visual aura" was pretty compelling for me, the images that come up depict pretty accurately what I experience (some more than others).  I would guess a "visual migraine" is the same thing?  There has never once been any headaches or pain of any kind when this happens and I don't get any other forms of migraines.

I've never had it checked out because my research suggested they are mostly harmless, as Cara mentioned.

If anyone has any further information that I might find interesting on this topic, feel free to share.

Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: 2397 on January 29, 2018, 12:26:50 pm
Is it just me, or does the most recent episode not show up on the website?

This (https://www.theskepticsguide.org/podcast/sgu/655)?

It's on the front page for me. Maybe a refresh issue.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: gebobs on January 29, 2018, 01:23:56 pm

I've never had it checked out because my research suggested they are mostly harmless, as Cara mentioned.


I think you should go to a neurologist and see what he/she thinks.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Friendly Angel on January 29, 2018, 01:35:03 pm
I had a hard time picturing what the Milky Way Rings were:

(http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/galring2.jpg)

Still don't know what they are, but at least I know what they're talking about.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on January 29, 2018, 05:36:22 pm
Is it just me, or does the most recent episode not show up on the website?

This (https://www.theskepticsguide.org/podcast/sgu/655)?

It's on the front page for me. Maybe a refresh issue.

It's just that when I go to the frontpage, episode 654 shows up at the latest. I've tried to remove cookies, but it didn't help.

However, now when I tried to visit the site in IE (I usually use Chrome), episode 655 shows up as the latest on the frontpage.

 :-\
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: 2397 on January 29, 2018, 07:02:21 pm
Clear browser cache, DNS cache.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: PabloHoney on January 30, 2018, 07:47:40 pm
Unlike the Milky Way, if you look at me from the side, I'm perfectly straight with a bulge in the middle.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: godbomb on January 31, 2018, 02:11:38 am
I had a hard time picturing what the Milky Way Rings were:

(http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/galring2.jpg)

Still don't know what they are, but at least I know what they're talking about.

the picture in the show notes is very different

(https://d3jkudlc7u70kh.cloudfront.net/interesting-milky-facts.jpg)

edited for size
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Swoop on February 01, 2018, 12:19:25 am
fact or fiction choice #1 also seems wrong about the thickness. According to the fact retriever.com link, the central bulge is 10,000 light years thick (fact 25) and the disk itself is remarkably thinner (fact 29), resembling a frisbee disk the thickness of a sheet of paper. Perhaps you meant to include the central bulge in the thickness value, but the thinness of the disk would have been an interesting point to mention.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Quetzalcoatl on February 01, 2018, 02:40:57 pm
Clear browser cache, DNS cache.

Thanks, will try.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: daniel1948 on February 03, 2018, 07:10:37 pm
Does one of the rogues (I can't tell Jay, Bob, and Evan apart) really think that all we need is self driving car technology in order to have hotel rooms that detach themselves from the building, pick you up at the airport, bring you to the hotel, and then lift themselves back into the building??? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. If such a concept were remotely possible, we'd have them now with human drivers. Self-driving technology is NOT the barrier to hotel rooms that detach themselves and drive on city streets.

I'm still out of town but I had to stick my head back in here to comment on this bit of complete detachment (pun intended) from reality.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: 2397 on February 04, 2018, 03:22:57 am
It was Bob. Being a little hyperbolic, as usual. But the one big advantage to a self-driving car in terms of space, is that you don't need a driver's seat, steering wheel, etc. Hypothetically you could put a bed in there. Though I'm not sure they'll ever be safe enough that that won't lead to a much higher risk of injury.

Or it could be more like a taxi without the front row. One central seat with a variety of smaller amenities surrounding it. As long as it doesn't add up to more weight than a driver and the other seats, it won't cost more in terms of fuel/electricity. And whether it's worth it in the long term depends on the driver's salary vs. additional build and maintenance costs.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: arthwollipot on February 04, 2018, 02:14:22 pm
Heard Cara mention having visual migraines today.  I believe that is something I've been dealing with the past 5 or so years (since I started working at a computer full time).

I get these blind spots in my field of vision surrounded by a zig zagging flashing rainbow.  Sometimes the flashing zig zags surround the entire blind spot, sometimes they only cover one side.  Sometimes they start off small and grow in size, other times they start off large.  When I researched it, I came accross the term visual aura which are associated with occular migraines/absent migraines.  Searching images for "visual aura" was pretty compelling for me, the images that come up depict pretty accurately what I experience (some more than others).  I would guess a "visual migraine" is the same thing?  There has never once been any headaches or pain of any kind when this happens and I don't get any other forms of migraines.

I've never had it checked out because my research suggested they are mostly harmless, as Cara mentioned.

If anyone has any further information that I might find interesting on this topic, feel free to share.

This?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scintillating_scotoma

I've been having occasional or semiregular scintillating scotomas for as long as I can remember. From the research I've done, they're a symptom either of nothing at all, or of serious brain damage.

Thanks, Dr Google.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: werecow on February 04, 2018, 08:45:43 pm
I get these blind spots in my field of vision surrounded by a zig zagging flashing rainbow.  Sometimes the flashing zig zags surround the entire blind spot, sometimes they only cover one side.  Sometimes they start off small and grow in size, other times they start off large.  When I researched it, I came accross the term visual aura which are associated with occular migraines/absent migraines.  Searching images for "visual aura" was pretty compelling for me, the images that come up depict pretty accurately what I experience (some more than others).  I would guess a "visual migraine" is the same thing? 

Yeah, afaik they're the same thing. I get auras/ocular migraines too, but they typically precede a headache. The first time I got a weird blind spot in my eye and then the scintillating scotoma, I thought I was having a minor stroke. So naturally I did not call the doctor or the ambulance like a normal person might have, but instead decided to go to bed, and woke up with a full blown migraine headache. I rarely get them any more since I quit smoking, but when I do it is actually an advantage of sorts, since, if I take a paracetamol there and then, the headache will be only very slight.

This simulation comes pretty close to my experience, except the blind spot never gets as big and the "lines" are thinner and more jagged and they wave a bit more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVFIcF9lyk8
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Thordale on February 10, 2018, 11:13:41 am
I am struggling with the way Cara pronounced "Attenborough" as in Sir David Attenborough.

She was not correct.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: arthwollipot on February 10, 2018, 08:44:46 pm
I am struggling with the way Cara pronounced "Attenborough" as in Sir David Attenborough.

She was not correct.
Atten-burrow?

Americans tend not to do schwas.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Thordale on February 12, 2018, 06:13:09 am
I am struggling with the way Cara pronounced "Attenborough" as in Sir David Attenborough.

She was not correct.
Atten-burrow?

Americans tend not to do schwas.

They are going to have to  learn then and should at least pronounce it correctly - Atten-brer - like Edinburgh, like anything but Atten-burrow!

Fer cryin' out loud, they even have a segment on words, definitions and how to ruddy well say them correctly!

(can you tell, this is driving me mad?!)

Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Fast Eddie B on February 12, 2018, 07:37:21 am
I would guess a "visual migraine" is the same thing?  There has never once been any headaches or pain of any kind when this happens and I don't get any other forms of migraines.

I've never had it checked out because my research suggested they are mostly harmless, as Cara mentioned.

If anyone has any further information that I might find interesting on this topic, feel free to share.

Ocular Migraine. I’ve had 3 or 4.

The first was while watching our big screen TV. There was a flickering above and to the left of the screen. I looked to see what might be causing it, first to see if the ceiling fan was on. It wasn’t, and the flickering stayed just above and to the left of wherever I was looking.

I was quite concerned. I tried covering each eye individually, but the effect remained for each eye. That made me think it was a brain problem rather than an eye problem, and I was thinking mild stroke in progress or brain tumor. Anyway, it passed in about 15 minutes, as ocular migraines are wont to do. I think it was Google that led me to the images that were mostly spot on.

Anyway, it’s happened two or three times since over maybe 5 years. Apparently it’s just a visual processing “hiccup” that’s not generally a sign of any underlying disorder. But it IS scary the first time.

As a data point, I don’t think I’ve ever had a “real” migraine, and only very rarely get headaches of any sort.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Swagomatic on February 12, 2018, 12:11:01 pm
There seems to be an alarming rise of pendantic comments in the episode threads lately.   :laugh:
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: RMoore on February 14, 2018, 12:52:57 pm
I am struggling with the way Cara pronounced "Attenborough" as in Sir David Attenborough.

She was not correct.
Atten-burrow?

Americans tend not to do schwas.

Perhaps people from Missouri would do better.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: daniel1948 on February 16, 2018, 12:51:11 am
I am struggling with the way Cara pronounced "Attenborough" as in Sir David Attenborough.

She was not correct.
Atten-burrow?

Americans tend not to do schwas.

They are going to have to  learn then and should at least pronounce it correctly - Atten-brer - like Edinburgh, like anything but Atten-burrow!


Here in America we say Ed'n'burrow. People pronounce words according to their own concept of how the letters sound. People who have not grown up speaking a language cannot pronounce words of that language the way native-speakers do. There's no way I'm going to produce a Scottish brogue when I say the name of a city in Scotland. Sorry about that. Pigs will never fly and I will never be able to pronounce Edinburgh correctly.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Sawyer on February 16, 2018, 01:08:27 am
I am struggling with the way Cara pronounced "Attenborough" as in Sir David Attenborough.

She was not correct.
Atten-burrow?

Americans tend not to do schwas.

They are going to have to  learn then and should at least pronounce it correctly - Atten-brer - like Edinburgh, like anything but Atten-burrow!


Here in America we say Ed'n'burrow. People pronounce words according to their own concept of how the letters sound. People who have not grown up speaking a language cannot pronounce words of that language the way native-speakers do. There's no way I'm going to produce a Scottish brogue when I say the name of a city in Scotland. Sorry about that. Pigs will never fly and I will never be able to pronounce Edinburgh correctly.

We're not just pronouncing letters or phonemes as we expect; the word "burough" is right smack there in his name.  And I'm pretty sure it's not one Americans have bastardized:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borough

Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: arthwollipot on February 16, 2018, 06:26:04 am
I am struggling with the way Cara pronounced "Attenborough" as in Sir David Attenborough.

She was not correct.
Atten-burrow?

Americans tend not to do schwas.

They are going to have to  learn then and should at least pronounce it correctly - Atten-brer - like Edinburgh, like anything but Atten-burrow!


Here in America we say Ed'n'burrow. People pronounce words according to their own concept of how the letters sound. People who have not grown up speaking a language cannot pronounce words of that language the way native-speakers do. There's no way I'm going to produce a Scottish brogue when I say the name of a city in Scotland. Sorry about that. Pigs will never fly and I will never be able to pronounce Edinburgh correctly.
It's not that hard, and you're not physically incapable. There's no excuse other than laziness.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: daniel1948 on February 16, 2018, 12:21:00 pm
I am struggling with the way Cara pronounced "Attenborough" as in Sir David Attenborough.

She was not correct.
Atten-burrow?

Americans tend not to do schwas.

They are going to have to  learn then and should at least pronounce it correctly - Atten-brer - like Edinburgh, like anything but Atten-burrow!


Here in America we say Ed'n'burrow. People pronounce words according to their own concept of how the letters sound. People who have not grown up speaking a language cannot pronounce words of that language the way native-speakers do. There's no way I'm going to produce a Scottish brogue when I say the name of a city in Scotland. Sorry about that. Pigs will never fly and I will never be able to pronounce Edinburgh correctly.
It's not that hard, and you're not physically incapable. There's no excuse other than laziness.

I don't need an excuse to pronounce foreign place names in a manner that will be understood by the people I'm speaking to. When speaking to an English speaker about the city I lived in when I was in Spain, I make it rhyme with Bill. And if writing, I spell it Seville. When speaking to a Spanish speaker I pronounce it Se-veea and spell it Sevilla. If I gave it the correct Spanish pronunciation when speaking to an English speaker, he would not understand what place I was talking about.

When speaking of North Dakota while in Mexico, I could insist that the Mexicans should pronounce it as we do here, but it makes more sense to say it as they do: Dakota del Norte.

Different regions have different pronunciations, and it's arrogant to insist that others must pronounce our place names exactly as we do. Heck, Mexicans pronounce my name (Daniel) in their own distinctive way. When in Mexico I adopt their pronunciation of my name.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: MTBox on February 16, 2018, 01:50:17 pm
"People who have not grown up speaking a language cannot pronounce words of that language the way native-speakers do"

"It's not that hard, and you're not physically incapable. There's no excuse other than laziness."

Why is this digressing into such pettiness? Even "native speakers" cannot say things "right."

Bush stated "nucyuler" all the time. I taught adult literacy classes; one student from the Southern US stated "shar" every time we showed a picture of a chair. A watermelon was a "Walla melon" because here in the Pacific Northwest, he learned that they are grown in Walla Walla, Washington.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Ah.hell on February 16, 2018, 02:16:42 pm
One more on the side of sometimes its near impossible to say things the "correct" way or as the natives might.  As noted, not all native speakers even pronounce all words the same.  I suppose Asian speakers are just lazy when they can't Rs and Ls right?

Edit, as for Attenborough, I had know idea it wasn't pronounced like its spelled until now, though I'm not surprised.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on February 16, 2018, 02:46:31 pm
...People who have not grown up speaking a language cannot pronounce words of that language the way native-speakers do. There's no way I'm going to produce a Scottish brogue when I say the name of a city in Scotland. Sorry about that. Pigs will never fly and I will never be able to pronounce Edinburgh correctly.
It would take a lot of work to draw nearer to that Scottish brogue. But there are outliers. The British actor who played House, M.D. never sounded other than American to me. His accent was very good. Stuart Jay Raj is said by Thai natives to speak Thai very close to natively. And so forth. I think you are correct for the most part. But I am intrigued by the exceptions to the rule.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCITee_8ZnU (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCITee_8ZnU)
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on February 16, 2018, 02:49:30 pm
I suppose Asian speakers are just lazy when they can't Rs and Ls right?
I've seen Japanese students of English practising their Rs and Ls diligently. I'd never call them lazy.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: werecow on February 16, 2018, 02:52:13 pm
"nucyuler"

(https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6Zta3GHWlBxtAW7m/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Fast Eddie B on February 16, 2018, 02:57:06 pm
"nucyuler"

(https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6Zta3GHWlBxtAW7m/giphy.gif)

Especially so when an expert is testifying before congress and mispronounces it.

Have they never been told of the mistake? Or they just don’t care? Or is an intentionally folksy pronunciation?
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Swagomatic on February 16, 2018, 03:12:13 pm
"nucyuler"

(https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6Zta3GHWlBxtAW7m/giphy.gif)

Especially so when an expert is testifying before congress and mispronounces it.

Have they never been told of the mistake? Or they just don’t care? Or is an intentionally folksy pronunciation?

I've heard that is it the common way of pronunciation in military/defense circles.  Jimmy Carter also had a funky way of saying it, kind
of like "nuke-eel-er"
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Ah.hell on February 16, 2018, 03:47:46 pm
Spoiler
"nucyuler"

(https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6Zta3GHWlBxtAW7m/giphy.gif)

Especially so when an expert is testifying before congress and mispronounces it.

Have they never been told of the mistake? Or they just don’t care? Or is an intentionally folksy pronunciation?
[close]

I've heard that is it the common way of pronunciation in military/defense circles.  Jimmy Carter also had a funky way of saying it, kind
of like "nuke-eel-er"
He was a Navy Nuke officer who passed Rickover's standards.  I'll defer to Jimmy on that pronunciation. 

I suppose Asian speakers are just lazy when they can't Rs and Ls right?
I've seen Japanese students of English practising their Rs and Ls diligently. I'd never call them lazy.
That was sarcasm meant to ridicule the notion that inability to pronounce words in a foreign language is just laziness.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on February 16, 2018, 03:54:46 pm
I suppose Asian speakers are just lazy when they can't Rs and Ls right?
I've seen Japanese students of English practising their Rs and Ls diligently. I'd never call them lazy.
That was sarcasm meant to ridicule the notion that inability to pronounce words in a foreign language is just laziness.
I know, it was a good comment.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Friendly Angel on February 16, 2018, 03:58:45 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9NKyBiu6FM

I love accents and regional dialects... I love trying to learn them myself and I try hard... including when I'm speaking foreign language phrases to say them as well as possible.

When other people don't make the effort, I secretly think they're lazy and uninteresting.

Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: brilligtove on February 16, 2018, 07:44:45 pm
I am struggling with the way Cara pronounced "Attenborough" as in Sir David Attenborough.

She was not correct.
Atten-burrow?

Americans tend not to do schwas.

They are going to have to  learn then and should at least pronounce it correctly - Atten-brer - like Edinburgh, like anything but Atten-burrow!


Here in America we say Ed'n'burrow. People pronounce words according to their own concept of how the letters sound. People who have not grown up speaking a language cannot pronounce words of that language the way native-speakers do. There's no way I'm going to produce a Scottish brogue when I say the name of a city in Scotland. Sorry about that. Pigs will never fly and I will never be able to pronounce Edinburgh correctly.

When I lived in the UK in 15 or 20 years ago I spent a lot of time in Glasgow and surrounds. My fiancee was at school in a town called Milnegavie.

Pronounced 'Mul-Guy'.

Edinburgh was more 'Ednbruh' though with ephemeral 'u's between the dn and nb.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: brilligtove on February 16, 2018, 07:48:44 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9NKyBiu6FM

I love accents and regional dialects... I love trying to learn them myself and I try hard... including when I'm speaking foreign language phrases to say them as well as possible.

When other people don't make the effort, I secretly think they're lazy and uninteresting.
Too bad our brains prune out sounds we are not exposed to as kids, making it almost impossible to really get the accents and pronunciations correct.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: werecow on February 16, 2018, 08:01:19 pm
When other people don't make the effort, I secretly think they're lazy and uninteresting.

Admittedly I only did a tiny bit of research when I worked at the phonetics department at the UvA, but I think laziness is not really the issue.

Your brain is wired to learn different parts of language at different ages. Phonetics comes early on. From research into phonetics, it appears that very young infants can distinguish all sorts of vowel sounds, but they lose that ability rapidly as they age in accordance with the language they grow up with. In very early childhood, your brain learns to cluster different sounds together as a single sound, and you lose the ability to distinguish those sounds as different letters. This is obviously great for understanding your native language, but it takes a lot of effort to learn to distinguish new sounds, if you can do so at all, and that gets you nowhere close to being able to produce them. Even at one year of age, an infant may have lost the ability to distinguish many vowels or consonants from each other. Different languages have different sounds and even different numbers of sounds. For example, in the work I did we modelled second language vowel acquisition of native Spanish and Portuguese speakers who were trying to learn Dutch. Spanish has five main monophthong vowel sounds whereas Dutch has twelve. Since all Spanish vowel sounds are roughly included in the twelve Dutch vowel sounds, it is much easier for a Dutch person to learn Spanish vowels than vice versa.

I remember one of the linguistics profs I worked with who told a story about a time that some Japanese colleagues of his visited his lab. One of them asked him whether the word "drama" was pronounced "durama" or "dorama". When he told him it was simply "drama", the response was "ah, so it's durama, thank you!". His colleague literally could not perceive the difference in sounds because, growing up Japanese (which is a language that tends to alternate vowels and consonants pretty consistently), his brain had never been trained to recognize "dr" as a valid sequence of sounds. IOW, his brain literally filled in the missing vowel for him. Skeptics talk a lot about the extent to which our perception is manufactured by our brains. I think this is actually a really good example of that particular concept.

Another anecdote: Right now, a Guatemalan friend of mine is trying to learn Dutch. The Dutch vowel "ui" is really difficult for her (and most other Dutch learners) to pronounce. The other day she told me "I want to practice onion". Onion is ui in Dutch, but it took me a while to figure out what she meant, because she kept saying "ow" (au or ou in Dutch). She says she can hear the difference between ui and ou, but right now she does not have the verbal motor skills to make the pronunciation fit, and her "ui" sounds like an "ou" to me. Here is the difference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQtveNgDVvA

They sound completely different to me, but some people at the "Dutch Conversation Night" I go to every Wednesday assure me they are the same sound. "ui" and "eu" are probably even more similar. I think since she can hear the difference, she at least has a chance at getting there, but in some cases even that is a struggle. Some people are clearly better at this than others, but it is a well known fact among phoneticists that even learning to distinguish different vowel sounds can be very difficult after a certain, very young age. And actually forming them is much more difficult still. My uncle, who has lived in the Netherlands for at least 40 years, still has a British accent, even though he has spoken nothing but Dutch in decades other than the occasional trip back to the motherland. His Dutch is very good, but he is noticeably not from here. I don't think that should be put down to mere laziness.

One more anecdote: I myself have an Indian friend who is named "Sayan". The last vowel in his name is some form of Bengali "o", and for the life of me I cannot pronounce it no matter how hard I try. Luckily I am not alone in this. Apparently I am overpronouncing it, but I really do not hear the difference between what I'm doing and what he's doing. When I listen to youtube pronunciation guides it just seems like a length issue to me, but shortening it apparently does not do the trick. I kind of want to plot that vowel in the vowel space and compare it to what I'm doing to see if I'm at least getting the sound right in terms of the F1 and F2 formants, but perhaps that would be overdoing it.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Harry Black on February 16, 2018, 08:07:05 pm
I dont mind if people get stuff wrong.
But when people are willing to try for one group of people (for example spanish speakers) but not another group, it does smack of laziness and a lack of respect.

Most people try not to pronounce the 'J' in Juan but seem to not to care when mispronouncing other peoples names unless they have become famous (as with Saoirse Ronan or Domhnall Gleeson).
Messing up is part of the fun of learning, but to just give up and not try to say a persons name correctly seems rude.

Fwiw- 'borough' is best pronounced 'burra'. Definitely counter intuitive and fine to mess up. But unlikely that its a sound english speakers have not heard before.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Friendly Angel on February 16, 2018, 08:15:53 pm
Another anecdote: Right now, a Guatemalan friend of mine is trying to learn Dutch. The Dutch vowel "ui" is really difficult for her (and most other Dutch learners) to pronounce.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQtveNgDVvA


Uitstekend.

I have tuned my ears and trained my mouth to distinguish these sounds.

I remember baseball announcers butchering names like Jesus Martinez  (HAYsus MARTnezz)... that's what I call lazy and not even trying.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on February 16, 2018, 08:59:03 pm
Here's someone who arrived in Canada from China at age 20. I can't, but some people can learn another language late with near native prosody. (speaks English at around 0:42 )

https://youtu.be/RVMX2bdTxK0 (https://youtu.be/RVMX2bdTxK0)

Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: daniel1948 on February 16, 2018, 11:27:07 pm
I visited Scotland for a hiking trip. We started in Glasgow, where I literally could not understand anything said by the natives, no matter how many times they repeated themselves, and we ended up in Edinburgh, where they speak with one of the loveliest accents I've heard. I met a Canadian woman from there and I'd have married her just to listen to her speak. (Though she was very attractive also.) I also love a Carolina accent, but I find a Texas accent ugly in the extreme. My favorite accent in the world is Castilian: the way Spanish is spoken in the central part of Spain. But the Spanish spoken in Andalucia, the southern-most province of Spain, is the ugliest Spanish in the world. (Andalucia prides itself on the beauty of its women and the intelligence of its horses. I know nothing of the horses, but there are some spectacularly beautiful women there, as the result of 500 years of Moorish occupation. It's quite a clash when a breathtakingly beautiful woman opens her mouth and that ghastly Andalucian Spanish comes out.)

Even when everyone in a country ostensibly speaks the same language, the differences between regions can be as extreme as if they spoke two completely different languages. I contend that Andaluz and Castilian are actually separate languages, even though they are written the same.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on February 16, 2018, 11:44:57 pm
I don't think there's an ugly Spanish, surely Daniel you must be joking. I enjoy the sound the Cuban/Canary Island dialects. Also enjoy Southern Cone Spanish. Love Puerto Rican Spanish. When authors from those places and others are interviewed on RNE in Madrid there are no problems of understanding. It's all Spanish. I thought maybe the Spanish of Equatorial Guinea might be an outlier, but no, an author from there on an RNE podcast sounded pretty peninsular.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Thordale on February 17, 2018, 10:49:34 am
I don't think pronouncing Sir David Attenborough's name correctly is a matter of dialect or accent - just basic good manners, really.

It is not as though he is an unknown who has just burst onto the screens.  This man is a living legend, a national treasure.  One of top 100 Greatest Britons ever!

How difficult can it possibly be?
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: daniel1948 on February 17, 2018, 12:25:08 pm
I don't think there's an ugly Spanish, surely Daniel you must be joking. I enjoy the sound the Cuban/Canary Island dialects. Also enjoy Southern Cone Spanish. Love Puerto Rican Spanish. When authors from those places and others are interviewed on RNE in Madrid there are no problems of understanding. It's all Spanish. I thought maybe the Spanish of Equatorial Guinea might be an outlier, but no, an author from there on an RNE podcast sounded pretty peninsular.

When I visited Madrid after living a while in Seville (and after studying Spanish for three semesters at NDSU, and then living in Mexico for 4 1/2 years studying Spanish formally and then informally) I commented on my confusion that I was able to understand the madrilenos easily but could not understand the sevillanos at all, the folks in Madrid told me "Don't worry. We can't understand them either." Cuban Spanish sounds very like Andaluz Spanish to me, and both are ugly and very hard to understand, except that educated Cubans are bilingual, in that they can speak the ugly Cuban Spanish, and also speak proper Mexican or Castilian Spanish that I could understand without difficulty. Two very different languages.

Yes, this is a matter of taste. I hate eggplant. Some folks love it. You might love Caribbean and Andaluz Spanish. I find it ugly and unintelligible.


I don't think pronouncing Sir David Attenborough's name correctly is a matter of dialect or accent - just basic good manners, really.

It is not as though he is an unknown who has just burst onto the screens.  This man is a living legend, a national treasure.  One of top 100 Greatest Britons ever!

How difficult can it possibly be?

I'm not sure I've ever heard David Attenborough's name spoken by a Brit or a Scotsman. And I've never learned the formal pronunciation symbols used in dictionaries. So, no, it's not a matter of manners, any more than I'd have regarded it as bad manners when Mexicans pronounce my name in the Mexican manner.

Now, if I met the man, and he asked me to pronounce his name a certain way, then it would be bad manners not to try to do so. In fact, now that we've had this conversation, if I ever do meet him, I'll ask him how he pronounces his name, and I'll make an honest attempt to say it that way, though indeed, a Scottish brogue is a difficult thing for an English-speaker (even one who also speaks Spanish) to produce.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: DevoutCatalyst on February 17, 2018, 01:45:39 pm
I commented on my confusion that I was able to understand the madrilenos easily but could not understand the sevillanos at all, the folks in Madrid told me "Don't worry. We can't understand them either."
I don't know what to make of that. Were they humoring you with that statement? That's curious. The program I listened to on RNE back around 2007-2009 was called Un Idioma Sin Fronteras. There was at least one episode celebrating the varieties of Spanish -- it was a live presentation at a conference of some sort and it occurred to me then that people seem to find these differences amusing and enjoyable. As previously mentioned there were interviews in the early days of the show with novelists and poets from all over the Spanish speaking world, all went off without a hitch.

And yet it seems to me there are people who struggle with accents -- for example the English of foreigners trip up certain people I've met. I'll accept that as real. I guess I'm in the other camp that enjoys deciphering even the most broken of English of non-native speakers. I had a Puerto Rican neighbor who spoke his Boricua at an alarmingly rapid pace, intermixing English words seemingly at random -- pretty easy to understand and am sure little problem for the madrileños especially if he stuck exclusively to Spanish.

Over the years I've enjoyed Cuban movies and have noticed as you mentioned there is a standard Spanish used by radio and television announcers in Cuba much the way television English in the USA is standardized bland. But I still like the "ugly" Cuban register you detest.

Now, if I met the man, and he asked me to pronounce his name a certain way, then it would be bad manners not to try to do so.

In that Thai video I posted in this thread, I noticed the Australian guy told his Thai hosts that he preferred they pronounce his name with a low tone. My Chinese friends all have English names avoiding the issue of me struggling with their birth names pronunciation and tonality.

...a Scottish brogue is a difficult thing for an English-speaker (even one who also speaks Spanish) to produce.
Now I'm tempted to try. There are instructional videos on YouTube. Hmmm.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Thordale on February 17, 2018, 01:55:12 pm
Ok, what about his brother, Richard.

Huge in the international film industry.  Surely you've heard of him?

He's won Oscar's and Academy Awards. 

I doubt the Academy pronounced his surname wrong because they thought it was in "dialect".  I bet they made the effort to find out how to say it properly.

This is not rocket science.  Just basic good manners.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Harry Black on February 17, 2018, 02:13:45 pm
Its actually surprisingly hard to find the correct pronunciation by googling. Bizarrely, no one seems to have just taken a sample of him introducing himself?

Anyway, scroll down to the UK english pronounciation here:
http://www.pronouncekiwi.com/Sir%20David%20Attenborough

Its really easy.

Spelling in UK and Irish English is often a red herring.
My nieces name is Keeva because her mother realised that foreigners would never have a hope of figuring out how to pronounce Caoimhe.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: daniel1948 on February 17, 2018, 03:05:01 pm
I commented on my confusion that I was able to understand the madrilenos easily but could not understand the sevillanos at all, the folks in Madrid told me "Don't worry. We can't understand them either."
I don't know what to make of that. Were they humoring you with that statement? That's curious. The program I listened to on RNE back around 2007-2009 was called Un Idioma Sin Fronteras. There was at least one episode celebrating the varieties of Spanish -- it was a live presentation at a conference of some sort and it occurred to me then that people seem to find these differences amusing and enjoyable. As previously mentioned there were interviews in the early days of the show with novelists and poets from all over the Spanish speaking world, all went off without a hitch.

And yet it seems to me there are people who struggle with accents -- for example the English of foreigners trip up certain people I've met. I'll accept that as real. I guess I'm in the other camp that enjoys deciphering even the most broken of English of non-native speakers. I had a Puerto Rican neighbor who spoke his Boricua at an alarmingly rapid pace, intermixing English words seemingly at random -- pretty easy to understand and am sure little problem for the madrileños especially if he stuck exclusively to Spanish.

Over the years I've enjoyed Cuban movies and have noticed as you mentioned there is a standard Spanish used by radio and television announcers in Cuba much the way television English in the USA is standardized bland. But I still like the "ugly" Cuban register you detest.

Now, if I met the man, and he asked me to pronounce his name a certain way, then it would be bad manners not to try to do so.

In that Thai video I posted in this thread, I noticed the Australian guy told his Thai hosts that he preferred they pronounce his name with a low tone. My Chinese friends all have English names avoiding the issue of me struggling with their birth names pronunciation and tonality.

...a Scottish brogue is a difficult thing for an English-speaker (even one who also speaks Spanish) to produce.
Now I'm tempted to try. There are instructional videos on YouTube. Hmmm.

Throughout most of the Spanish-speaking world the differences are minor and easy to understand, but Andalucia is a very different matter. I do not believe the folks in madrid were just humoring me, though they might have been exaggerating. Clearly, they found the pronunciation there to be very bad. Specifically, they leave out about half the letters of the words as they say them. "Como estas" becomes "Cmota." Pretty much all words seem to suffer this treatment.

As I noted, after a year and a half at the university in Fargo, and 4 1/2 years in Mexico, I had no difficulty understanding the Spanish spoken in Madrid, in spite of their habit of speaking rapidly. In Seville I had to ask for repeated repetitions, and even after living there for a year and a half I had difficulty understanding them. Admittedly, I seem to have defective wiring between my ears and my brain, so that even in English on occasion I fail to grasp what word has been spoken.

I had the same difficulty in Cuba as in Seville, but elsewhere I have had no difficulty with the Spanish. Even speaking to Argentinians, who have a verb conjugation used nowhere else in the Spanish-speaking world, I have no trouble.

Ok, what about his brother, Richard.

Sorry. Never heard of him.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: brilligtove on February 17, 2018, 03:30:32 pm
My wife needs subtitles to watch movies and tv from the UK. Any strong accent gives her a ton of trouble.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: arthwollipot on February 17, 2018, 10:10:45 pm
I'm not sure I've ever heard David Attenborough's name spoken by a Brit or a Scotsman.
Then you have led a very sheltered life. Sorry to have to say it, but it's true, especially since...

=
Sorry. Never heard of him.
You've never seen Jurassic Park? The Great Escape? Miracle on 34th Street?

I believe that it is incumbent on everybody in a polite society to pronounce peoples' names as accurately as possible. I'm not that concerned with other words, but surely we can agree on peoples' names, right? If someone's name is Jose, you would pronounce it "hosay", not "joze". So would I. Continuing to insist that it is okay to pronounce it "joze" is not okay. You don't think it's okay, and I don't think it's okay.

Look, I understand why you say Attenborough's name wrong. You don't need to explain that. But now that the correct pronunciation has been pointed out to you (atten-burra) you really should start saying it right.

Actually it's not quite "atten-burra" because the last vowel is a schwa (ə), not an "a". It's more like "atten-burruh". The two are pronounced almost identically in my Australian dialect, but there's probably a difference in American. American English doesn't use the schwa very often, but it is extremely common in Australian English and in English English.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: werecow on February 18, 2018, 05:47:06 am
Its actually surprisingly hard to find the correct pronunciation by googling. Bizarrely, no one seems to have just taken a sample of him introducing himself?

Anyway, scroll down to the UK english pronounciation here:
http://www.pronouncekiwi.com/Sir%20David%20Attenborough

Its really easy.

It's also really ambiguous, given that that page has five different pronunciations all labelled UK.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Harry Black on February 18, 2018, 06:02:37 am
Its actually surprisingly hard to find the correct pronunciation by googling. Bizarrely, no one seems to have just taken a sample of him introducing himself?

Anyway, scroll down to the UK english pronounciation here:
http://www.pronouncekiwi.com/Sir%20David%20Attenborough

Its really easy.

It's also really ambiguous, given that that page has five different pronunciations all labelled UK.
I only see two at the bottom of the list. They are both correct.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: werecow on February 18, 2018, 06:13:04 am
Its actually surprisingly hard to find the correct pronunciation by googling. Bizarrely, no one seems to have just taken a sample of him introducing himself?

Anyway, scroll down to the UK english pronounciation here:
http://www.pronouncekiwi.com/Sir%20David%20Attenborough

Its really easy.

It's also really ambiguous, given that that page has five different pronunciations all labelled UK.
I only see two at the bottom of the list. They are both correct.

There are five on the page for me. But the lists appear to be sorted completely differently depending on whether I open it in firefox or chrome, so maybe your version looks different as well.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Harry Black on February 18, 2018, 06:35:44 am
Im viewing on a phone.
Interesting.
Anyway, the ones I meant have moved up to the top because they got some votes? And weirdly so did the welsh and american pronounciations.

What I find really weird is that some people made youtube videos on how to pronounce his name but did so incorrectly.
Dunning Kruger is a hell of a drug.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Thordale on February 18, 2018, 07:07:11 am
This is how you pronounce David Attenborough's name correctly.

http://myshetland.co.uk/attenborough/
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: daniel1948 on February 18, 2018, 01:10:30 pm
Sounds like we're making an awful lot of fuss over whether to say a schwa or an oh. Has David himself ever commented on his feelings regarding "correct" pronunciation of his name? When I meet people, if I am confused over the pronunciation of their name, I ask them. Much more often than not, they say anything generally close is fine. My last name is difficult for a lot of people, and some people even inexplicably add a letter that is not there when they say it. I understand this, and I usually say "that's close enough." And I say it for them if they want. I really don't care. It annoys me when people who dislike me intentionally say my name as though it were actually an offensive word (which requires completely changing everything but the first and last phonemes). But it does not bother me, and I do not consider it impolite, when people get it wrong. Very few people get it right.

I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that David Attenborough really does not care if Americans pronounce his name as it looks to us. I'm prepared to alter my opinion if anyone has a statement from him on the subject.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Harry Black on February 19, 2018, 07:32:16 am
I dont know Sir Davids opinion, but I know it does grate on a great many people with similar names or coming from oddly spelled places. I dont think they go home and cry into their pillows, but it just seems bizarre to me to know that I might be wrong about something so simple and take zero steps to address that.

I found this video and it does a good job of explaining some basic British pronunciation.
The woman in the video is an absolute delight to listen to so I think anyone who likes  the southern English accent will enjoy it. Only about 3min long.

https://youtu.be/u6q1dZpAgYI
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Thordale on February 19, 2018, 09:19:40 am
I expect, being the total gentleman he is, Sir David would smile benevolently, suck it up and put it down to "two nations divided by a common language".

It is common courtesy to at least make an effort to learn to pronounce someone's surname.  It is not as though he has just arrived on our screens.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: daniel1948 on February 19, 2018, 09:34:35 am
And yet neither he nor anyone he knows will ever hear me pronounce his name. I'm not sure I have ever said his name out loud until I saw this thread and said it to myself to see how it comes out. Must I learn to pronounce the name of every celebrity, because it would be rude to have, inside my head but never spoken out loud, an incorrect pronunciation? What about all those Welsh towns with names an American would never be able to pronounce based on their spellings? Must I learn them also because it would be rude not to?

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." My name is difficult for most people to pronounce. It does not bother me in the least, as long as they don't intentionally turn it into an insulting word, as little kids often do to each other (and as one prison guard did all the time). Outside of that, it does not bother me at all, and I would not dream of insisting they learn to pronounce my name correctly.

I do not feel it is rude for people to mispronounce my name, and I do not feel it is rude for people to not bother to learn to pronounce my name.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: arthwollipot on February 19, 2018, 02:03:20 pm
I do not feel it is rude for people to mispronounce my name, and I do not feel it is rude for people to not bother to learn to pronounce my name.
I do feel that it is rude for people to mispronounce my name, when the correct pronunciation has been provided. And I do feel that it is rude for people not to bother to learn to pronounce my name. I feel that it is very rude.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Harry Black on February 19, 2018, 02:28:27 pm
Again, mispronounciation is fine.
But at this point, if you have not clicked on any of the links or read any of the phonetic explanations we have provided, you are living in willful ignorance.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: gebobs on February 20, 2018, 02:17:17 pm
I bet Sir David mispronounces "jaguar" just like every other Brit.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: Fast Eddie B on February 20, 2018, 03:49:44 pm
I bet Sir David mispronounces "jaguar" just like every other Brit.

Around here, it often comes out as “JagWIRE”. Hard to imagine where that originated.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: God Bomb on February 21, 2018, 09:12:52 pm
Just don't end the name with a W sound and people will let it slide.  Same rule applies to Edinburgh.

At some point we just have to accept we will pronounce proper nouns differently depending on where we are from though.  How pretentious would it be if English speakers started dropping the S on "Paris", for example?  It would be correct.  But no one does it.  But like my above example people will complain endlessly about the pronunciation of Edinburgh and Glasgow.  I guess there are a lot of factors.  Is it an English name?  Is the difference because of an accent or a mispronounciation, etc.  For non-Americans we do it too, for years I never new how to pronounce "Arkansas" but after correction, I wouldn't mispronounce it again.  I would not then say "I don't care, this is how I say it."
I guess I don't have a point other than "It's complicated."
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: gebobs on February 22, 2018, 11:46:06 am
Just don't end the name with a W sound and people will let it slide.  Same rule applies to Edinburgh.

I usually forget the phantom fourth syllable in Ed-in-burr-uh. No lack of craziness in the English language, but, out of curiosity, is there some explanation for that other than that's just the way it's said?

Quote
At some point we just have to accept we will pronounce proper nouns differently depending on where we are from though.  How pretentious would it be if English speakers started dropping the S on "Paris", for example?


Folksvagon, for the win!

Quote
I never new how to pronounce "Arkansas" but after correction, I wouldn't mispronounce it again.

Why we pronounce Arkansas and Kansas differently...
http://www.businessinsider.com/why-we-pronounce-kansas-and-arkansas-differently-2014-2
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: brilligtove on February 22, 2018, 02:41:55 pm
I was in my early 40's when I found out that ar-KAN-zis and AR-kan-saw were the same place.
Title: Re: Episode #655
Post by: daniel1948 on February 22, 2018, 02:51:59 pm
Just don't end the name with a W sound and people will let it slide.  Same rule applies to Edinburgh.

I usually forget the phantom fourth syllable in Ed-in-burr-uh. No lack of craziness in the English language, but, out of curiosity, is there some explanation for that other than that's just the way it's said?

This may or may not apply in this particular case, but English underwent a significant change in pronunciation after the invention of movable type made printing common. Spelling became locked in while pronunciation remained fluid. There was the "great vowel shift," and probably other changes as well.

An interesting curiosity: Shakespeare and Cervantes were roughly contemporaries, but whereas most Americans have some difficulty reading and understanding Shakespeare, it is easy for a speaker of modern Spanish to read Cervantes. English has changed more than Spanish has in that period. I've read sixteenth-century Spanish with very little difficulty, once I got the hang of a few differences in orthography. (The stories of knight-errantry that Cervantes so excoriates really are as bad as he says.)