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Posts Tagged ‘pronunciation

You are (how you say) what you eat…

 

Bert Vaux, now at Cambridge University, created The Dialect Survey while teaching at Harvard.  Dr. Vaux and his colleagues asked scores of North Americans to pronounce several dozen common English words and phrases, recoded their pronunciations, and mapped the results– as for “pecan,” above.  The full list is at The Dialect Survey; each example clicks through to a set of maps like this one.

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As we mind our p’s and q’s, we might spare a thought for an extraordinary enunciator, Tammi Terrell; she died, aged 24, on this date in  1970.  Born Thomasina Winifred Montgomery, Terrell had begun performing at age 14, recording for Sceptre Records, then for James Brown’s Try Me label, before signing with Motown in 1965.  After two years as a solo artist, Berry Gordy teamed her with Marvin Gaye.  Their first release, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” was recorded by each separately, then mixed by Motown… and became a solid hit.  Their follow-ups, “Your Precious Love” and “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You” also charted Top Ten.

Terrell reportedly had a tempestuous love life (including relationships with Brown and The Temptation’s David Ruffin); but her relationship with Gaye, while extraordinarily close, was platonic (friends and colleagues Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson characterized it as “sibling-like”).  In October 1967, just six months after the release of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Terrell collapsed onstage during a performance at Hampton-Sydney College.  Motown kept the incident quiet– and the duo on the road.  Two-and-a-half years later, on this date in 1970, she died of complications from the malignant brain tumor that had caused her 1967 collapse.  Following Terrell’s death, Gaye refrained from live performance for three years; his 1971 album What’s Going On– an introspective, mature masterpiece– was in part a reaction to her passing.

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Written by LW

March 16, 2013 at 1:01 am

Sounding it out…

 

click here to hear pronunciation

On the heels of Tuesday’s almanac entry, several readers have wondered how to pronounce the name of Moctezuma’s capital, the Aztec metropolis overrun by Cortez…

More educational enunciation on Pronunciation Manual’s You Tube channel

click here to hear pronunciation

[TotH to EWW]

As we remember to roll our Rs, we might recall that Pronunciation Guide’s spiritual ancestor, Sesame Street, premiered on this date in 1969.

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Written by LW

November 10, 2011 at 1:01 am

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