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@?&®% Mispronunciations!
#1  issybird 04-25-2017, 10:12 AM
For a long time, I've rather wished that I'd started a list of egregious mispronunciations in audiobooks, but the thought was never sufficient motivation. My current listen, which I'll get to, has pushed me over the edge.

I identify three categories of mispronunciation:

It must be obvious how much this irritates me. One mispronunciation takes me right out of a book. Several have the power to send me into a simmering rage. I listen to a lot of non-fiction and I think that's part of the issue for me. For one thing, I think the incidence of mispronunciations is far higher, given specialized vocabularies and proper nouns. Unfortunately, with a novel I'd just abandon it, but with non-fiction if the book itself is worthwhile, I'll generally grit my teeth and keep on.

Off the top of my head, I'll name Xe Sands, Johnny Heller and Cassandra Campbell among others as prime offenders. I'll never willingly listen to a book by them again. And the current narrator who has set off this diatribe is Malcolm Hillgartner. I'm listening to a book about the culture of the Depression ( Dancing in the Dark by Morris Dickstein). It's 24 hours long; I wonder how many times, in the course of a book about the Depression, I'll be forced to hear "afFLUence" and "afFLUent"?
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#2  pdurrant 04-25-2017, 11:01 AM
Quote issybird
Nadia May's mispronunciation of Lady Mary Coke comes to mind. This one is understandable, but it still grates.
I'm intrigued. How should one pronounce it, other than the obvious?
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#3  dwig 04-25-2017, 11:31 AM
One I've encountered a few times would be a fourth class: A word that has multiple definitions each with different pronunciations and the narrator uses the wrong pronunciation.
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#4  issybird 04-25-2017, 12:03 PM
Quote pdurrant
I'm intrigued. How should one pronounce it, other than the obvious?
It's "Cook." Unless you think that's the obvious pronunciation and not like the drink! (May went with the drink.)
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#5  issybird 04-25-2017, 12:04 PM
Quote dwig
One I've encountered a few times would be a fourth class: A word that has multiple definitions each with different pronunciations and the narrator uses the wrong pronunciation.
Ouch! One I've not encountered and now I'll be on tenterhooks!
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#6  arjaybe 04-25-2017, 01:23 PM
Aren't there sites on the internet where you can look up (listen up?) pronunciations? Or do the narrators have specialized reference materials?
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#7  Catlady 04-25-2017, 02:25 PM
I am mellowing, I think; I'm finding that I'm less bothered by mispronunciations all the time.

For one thing, I have a much larger vocabulary of written words than spoken words, so for any less common words, I assume the narrator is correct and my mental pronunciation is incorrect. For another, I listen to a lot of British narrators, and with them I assume anything that sounds odd to my ear is simply a British thing.

One book I listened to recently, The Second Line of Defense, about women during WWI, had a lot of early missteps. The narrator would say "confounded," when clearly the context indicated the word intended was "co-founded," and make other mistakes like this, using a word that was just a letter or two off. Either the text had spellcheck-ish typos, or the narrator wasn't paying attention to sense, or both. Happily, since it was a fairly long book, the narration finally settled down. (Or else I became engrossed enough that I stopped noticing!)
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#8  issybird 04-25-2017, 03:05 PM
Quote Catlady

One book I listened to recently, The Second Line of Defense, about women during WWI, had a lot of early missteps. The narrator would say "confounded," when clearly the context indicated the word intended was "co-founded," and make other mistakes like this, using a word that was just a letter or two off. Either the text had spellcheck-ish typos, or the narrator wasn't paying attention to sense, or both. Happily, since it was a fairly long book, the narration finally settled down. (Or else I became engrossed enough that I stopped noticing!)
That's just appalling. I appreciate the heads up as does my blood pressure; the narrator is now on my never-listen list.

Frankly, I think the industry is getting away with a level of shoddy production that wouldn't be tolerated in a print book. It should be someone's job to listen to these things before they're foisted on innocent listeners.
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#9  Catlady 04-25-2017, 04:05 PM
Quote issybird
That's just appalling. I appreciate the heads up as does my blood pressure; the narrator is now on my never-listen list.

Frankly, I think the industry is getting away with a level of shoddy production that wouldn't be tolerated in a print book. It should be someone's job to listen to these things before they're foisted on innocent listeners.
But they may have been the author's/proofreader's mistakes, not the narrator's entirely. If the mistakes were in the text, does the narrator have the right to overrule the text and read what "should" be there?

This was a nonfiction book and did not require more than simply a straight reading--no dramatizing or vocal gymnastics. The narrator was adequate if not exciting, and I enjoyed the book.
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#10  issybird 04-25-2017, 06:43 PM
Quote Catlady
But they may have been the author's/proofreader's mistakes, not the narrator's entirely. If the mistakes were in the text, does the narrator have the right to overrule the text and read what "should" be there?
If the choice is between silently correcting an obvious error or willfully perpetrating an atrocity, I say to give the atrocity a miss.

It's a situation that probably occurs frequently, when the book and the audiobook are having a simultaneous release. I can't imagine that a professional narrator is supposed to say a misspelled word as written. Mistakes of that sort are harder and more expensive to correct, also.
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