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MMcG198574 posts since 14 Dec 2014
UTV Newsline
English dictionaries are descriptive, not proscriptive. "Most common" - or "closest to the home counties" - doesn't make any pronunciation right . I presume it doesn't annoy you when Kirsty Wark presents Newsnight, even though her pronunication should be, by those standards, atrocious.


When a "th" gets translated into "f" sound, I think we have a problem. If we deem that to be acceptable pronunciation, where do we draw the line? Every language has to have standards/rules for pronunciation, otherwise we'd have chaos. There is an internationally recognised pronunciation of "th" - and an "f" sound is not it. And no English lesson should be teaching a child to say "Fank you" rather than "Thank you". There are plenty of lessons in phonics online. And I doubt you'll find a single reputable source that advocates an "f" sound for "th".

Here's a link to a BBC tool, which covers a number of accents:

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/flash/phonics-tool/swf/phonics.swf

And no, Kirsty Wark's pronunciation does not "annoy" me. There is plenty of scope within accents to vary the sound of words. As I have said previously, it's only when these sounds deviate significantly from the standard pronunciation that we have a problem.
sjhoward489 posts since 21 Sep 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
When a "th" gets translated into "f" sound, I think we have a problem. If we deem that to be acceptable pronunciation, where do we draw the line?


By and large, at the point at which people are able no longer able to understand what is being said.

There is an internationally recognised pronunciation of "th" - and an "f" sound is not it. And no English lesson should be teaching a child to say "Fank you" rather than "Thank you". There are plenty of lessons in phonics online. And I doubt you'll find a single reputable source that advocates an "f" sound for "th".


I'm a bit baffled by this. If you look in any pronounciation dictionary (e.g. Routledge or Wells) you will see plenty of th-fronting described in a wide range of UK regional accents. If you take a pronounciation dictionary as guidance for how to speak English in a particular accent, then of course it would effectively advocate using th-fronting in accents where that is standard practice.

Even the guidance on the phonics tool you linked to acknoweldges this: "The Phonics tool does not aim to support a comprehensive range of accents, however we have chosen examples of five reference accents from nations and regions in the UK to demonstrate the principle of being aware of learners’ own accents when supporting them with reading."

As I have said previously, it's only when these sounds deviate significantly from the standard pronunciation that we have a problem.


So what about, say, Lucy Worsley's or Jonathan Ross's rhotaicism? Is that unacceptable on air?
sjhoward.co.uk
2
KELGE and bilky asko gave kudos
MMcG198574 posts since 14 Dec 2014
UTV Newsline
By and large, at the point at which people are able no longer able to understand what is being said.


Wow. Such high standards. Let's hope you don't get a job in teaching or teaching assessment any time soon then.

For a prestigious/high-profile vocal role such as a BBC One/Two announcer, I would expect a good standard of pronunciation. There's a wide variety of regional accents across BBC One/Two Network/NI/Scotland/Wales today - and it generally works well. Though there have been some recent additions which need to inject more charisma and writing skill - and sound a little less like they're reading a script. Oh and a good standard of pronunciation does not mean RP.

However, "And now the BBC News at Ten, wif Sophie Raworf" and "now, 'Keeping Faif'" - not to mention those various national lottery examples - don't cut it for me.

I'm a bit baffled by this. If you look in any pronounciation dictionary (e.g. Routledge or Wells) you will see plenty of th-fronting described in a wide range of UK regional accents.


Imagine my shock. Dictionary and BBC phonics tool acknowledging the existence of regional accents.

So what about, say, Lucy Worsley's or Jonathan Ross's rhotaicism? Is that unacceptable on air?


We're talking about accents - not speech impediments. And no, I wouldn't expect a speech impediment such as Jonathan's to prevent him presenting on radio and TV. Obviously, neither individual has done too badly.

But nice attempt at putting me into an awkward spot. I'm pushing for a good standard of pronunciation - not actively discriminating against those with genuine speech impediments.

As highlighted above, this debate centres around the role of the BBC TV announcer - where there ought to be much more emphasis on the quality of pronunciation, clarity and delivery. Scripting ability is also important - and I must say, there has been a notable drop in quality there in recent years. Some painfully bland stuff being churned out - with some notable exceptions.
Last edited by MMcG198 on 18 August 2018 6:43pm
RDJ2,462 posts since 25 Oct 2003
Central (South) Midlands Today
Phil Vowels name checking himself before !mpossible Celebrities.
“Saturday night on BBC One... Phil here.”

To think the only time we’d ever get a name check in the past always before Closedown.
Central News South
January 9th 1989 - December 3rd 2006
davidhorman2,025 posts since 8 Mar 2005
Channel Channel Islands
I thought his name was Thil.

Having thought about the pronunciation thing, one possibly objective distinction to be drawn is between prouninciation of vowels and consonants. Changing the latter is arguably more incorrect than the former, which are more to do with accent. Lloyd Grossman being a case in point - vowels all over the shop, but I doubt he ever got a consonant "wrong."
sjhoward489 posts since 21 Sep 2003
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
For a prestigious/high-profile vocal role such as a BBC One/Two announcer, I would expect a good standard of pronunciation... Oh and a good standard of pronunciation does not mean RP.


Forgive me, I simply don't follow. If a good standard of pronounciation doesn't mean RP but can't include standard regional variations such as th-fronting, then what is it?

But nice attempt at putting me into an awkward spot. I'm pushing for a good standard of pronunciation - not actively discriminating against those with genuine speech impediments.


Apologies again, I certainly wasn't trying to put you in an awkward spot, merely to understand. If someone had a speech impediment that made them unintelligible to the majority of viewers or listeners, I would certainly see that as a valid reason to not hire them as an announcer.

I was just wondering where the line is drawn for you, given that you see intelligibility as too low a bar and want people to have "a good standard of prnounciation". Presumably, some people I'd rule in would be ruled out by your standard.

Of course, intelligibility isn't the sole characteristic required - it's a skilled job that also requires a degree of charisma and panache. And for what it's worth, I'm in complete agreement with you about the often awful scripting and occasional bland delivery.
sjhoward.co.uk
MMcG198574 posts since 14 Dec 2014
UTV Newsline
Forgive me, I simply don't follow. If a good standard of pronounciation doesn't mean RP but can't include standard regional variations such as th-fronting, then what is it?


I think I've already adequately explained my objections to th-fronting. And when I said that a good standard of pronunciation doesn't equate to RP, I meant does not exclusively equate to RP. I think most people would've understood that, in the context of my accompanying statements, where I have commented positively about the range of accents across the BBC nations. I make no apology for objecting to th-fronting, which I believe crosses a boundary of acceptable pronunciation for such a prestigious and high-profile voiceover/announcer role.

I was just wondering where the line is drawn for you, given that you see intelligibility as too low a bar and want people to have "a good standard of prnounciation". Presumably, some people I'd rule in would be ruled out by your standard.


I don't believe I have ever suggested that th-fronting resulted in statements being unintelligible. I would imagine most people can easily decipher the meaning. However, just because it can be understood does not mean that it should be considered correct/valid pronunciation.

"I've just seen your offer of three free pens with that magazine..."

Mmmm.

Of course, intelligibility isn't the sole characteristic required - it's a skilled job that also requires a degree of charisma and panache. And for what it's worth, I'm in complete agreement with you about the often awful scripting and occasional bland delivery.


Glad we can agree on something.
Brekkie29,700 posts since 4 Jan 2003
HTV Wales Wales Today
I notice BBC One appear to be randomly burning off an episode of 'Wedding Day Winners' at 17:15. I take it it didn't finish its run earlier in the year after tanking in the ratings?

Have all of the Partners in Rhyme episodes now aired?

Not completely random - they only screened three episodes at the beginning of the year and the remaining three have aired since the World Cup (though not on air due to the European Champs over the last couple of weeks).

Good to see Impossible getting a Saturday night outing (and glad they gave it the Pointless slot over the summer), but having two celebrity versions of daytime quizzes back to back on a Saturday night, even in the middle of summer, seems a bit lazy.
Shouldn't that have been posted in the "John Logie Baird has Invented Television" thread?