If I stop being on good behaviour for a moment, my dark little secret is that I don't actually believe many people in the art world have much feeling for art and simply cannot tell a good artist from a weak one, until the artist has enjoyed the validation of others - a received pronunciation.
There is an old Italian proverb about the nature of translation: "Traddutore, traditore!" This means simply, "Translators-traitors!" Of course, as you can see, something is lost in the translation of this pithy expression: there is great similarity in both the spelling and the pronunciation of the original saying, but these get diluted once they are put in English dress. Even the translation of this proverb illustrates its truth!
Once, BBC television had echoed BBC radio in being a haven for standard English pronunciation. Then regional accents came in: a democratic plus. Then slipshod usage came in: an egalitarian minus. By now slovenly grammar is even more rife on the BBC channels than on ITV. In this regard a decline can be clearly charted... If the BBC, once the guardian of the English language, has now become its most implacable enemy, let us at least be grateful when the massacre is carried out with style.
I also think pronunciation of a foreign tongue could be better taught than by demanding from the pupil those internal acrobatic feats that are generally impossible and always useless. This is the sort of instruction one receives: 'Press your tonsils against the underside of your larynx. Then with the convex part of the septum curved upwards so as almost but not quite to touch the uvula try with the tip of your tongue to reach your thyroid. Take a deep breath and compress your glottis. Now without opening your lips say "Garoo".' And when you have done it they are not satisfied.
Jerome K. Jerome
I also think pronunciation of a foreign tongue could be better taught than by demanding from the pupil those internal acrobatic feats that are generally impossible and always useless. This is the sort of instruction one recieves: 'Press your tonsils against the underside of your larynx. Then with the convex part of the septum curved upwards so as almostbut not quiteto touch the uvula try with the tip of your tongue to reach your thyroid. Take a deep breath and compress your glottis. Now without opening your lips say "Garoo".' And when you have done it they are not satisfied.
Jerome K. Jerome
Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.
Jorge Luis Borges
Just like literature, wine takes time to learn. Before having access to the emotion of a stunning poem or to the vigor of a captivating novel, we all had to go through a long initiation. First, we need to learn the alphabet, the sound of each letter. In wine, that would be learning about the grapes and their characteristics. Then, once we master our letters, we need to learn the arrangements of letters, the pronunciation, the grammar, the structure of sentences. Now we can read. In wine, that would be the stage when we start noticing differences between two reds. You no longer drink wine: you start drinking this wine.
Keanu Reeves learned a lot, respecting the culture. I was surprised when I first met him. He knew a lot already and he learned a lot. And also he learned Japanese. It's incredible. On the set, switching between the Japanese and English, even for us, is very hard. It's complicated. But the first time Keanu spoke in Japanese it was a very important scene between us, and more than the dialogue's meaning, I was moved. His energy for the film, completely perfect Japanese pronunciation. It was moving, surprising, respecting.
In 1963, when I assigned the name "quark" to the fundamental constituents of the nucleon, I had the sound first, without the spelling, which could have been "kwork." Then, in one of my occasional perusals of Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce, I came across the word "quark" in the phrase "Three quarks for Muster Mark." Since "quark" (meaning, for one thing, the cry of a gull) was clearly intended to rhyme with "Mark," as well as "bark" and other such words, I had to find an excuse to pronounce it as "kwork." But the book represents the dreams of a publican named Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker. Words in the text are typically drawn from several sources at once, like the "portmanteau words" in Through the Looking Glass. From time to time, phrases occur in the book that are partially determined by calls for drinks at the bar. I argued, therefore, that perhaps one of the multiple sources of the cry "Three quarks for Muster Mark" might be "Three quarts for Mister Mark," in which case the pronunciation "kwork" would not be totally unjustified. In any case, the number three fitted perfectly the way quarks occur in nature.
Dearest creature in creation, Study English pronunciation. I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. I will keep you, Suzy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy. Tear in eye, your dress will tear. So shall I! Oh hear my prayer. Just compare heart, beard, and heard, Dies and diet, lord and word, Sword and sward, retain and Britain. (Mind the latter, how it's written.) Now I surely will not plague you With such words as plaque and ague. But be careful how you speak: Say break and steak, but bleak and streak; Cloven, oven, how and low, Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe. Hear me say, devoid of trickery, Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore, Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles, Exiles, similes, and reviles; Scholar, vicar, and cigar, Solar, mica, war and far; One, anemone, Balmoral, Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel; Gertrude, German, wind and mind, Scene, Melpomene, mankind. Billet does not rhyme with ballet, Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. Blood and flood are not like food, Nor is mould like should and would. Viscous, viscount, load and broad, Toward, to forward, to reward. And your pronunciation's OK When you correctly say croquet, Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve, Friend and fiend, alive and live. Ivy, privy, famous; clamour And enamour rhyme with hammer. River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb, Doll and roll and some and home. Stranger does not rhyme with anger, Neither does devour with clangour. Souls but foul, haunt but aunt, Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant, Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger, And then singer, ginger, linger, Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge, Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age. Query does not rhyme with very, Nor does fury sound like bury. Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth. Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath. Though the differences seem little, We say actual but victual. Refer does not rhyme with deafer. Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer. Mint, pint, senate and sedate; Dull, bull, and George ate late. Scenic, Arabic, Pacific, Science, conscience, scientific. Liberty, library, heave and heaven, Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven. We say hallowed, but allowed, People, leopard, towed, but vowed. Mark the differences, moreover, Between mover, cover, clover; Leeches, breeches, wise, precise, Chalice, but police and lice; Camel, constable, unstable, Principle, disciple, label. Petal, panel, and canal, Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal. Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair, Senator, spectator, mayor. Tour, but our and succour, four. Gas, alas, and Arkansas. Sea, idea, Korea, area, Psalm, Maria, but malaria. Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean. Doctrine, turpentine, marine. Compare alien with Italian, Dandelion and battalion. Sally with ally, yea, ye, Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key. Say aver, but ever, fever, Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver. Heron, granary, canary. Crevice and device and aerie. Face, but preface, not efface. Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass. Large, but target, gin, give, verging, Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging. Ear, but earn and wear and tear Do not rhyme with here but ere. Seven is right, but so is even, Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen, Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk, Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work. Pronunciation (think of Psyche!) Is a paling stout and spikey? Won't it make you lose your wits, Writing groats and saying grits? It's a dark abyss or tunnel: Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale, Islington and Isle of Wight, Housewife, verdict and indict. Finally, which rhymes with enough, Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough? Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!!!
Gerard Nolst Trenite
Hyperbolic Suggestion is-as one might infer from the term's literal interpretation-a method of suggestion induced upon the subject (or subjects), in question, through the blatant and immoderate invocation of hyperbole. Simply stated, excessive exaggeration induces a trance upon the recipient, rendering him or her remarkably susceptible to suggestion. Thus, through the use of a multitude of descriptive adjectives and superlatives, neural mechanisms and pathways are overloaded, as canals and bypasses are burrowed into the thick of the gray matter. The dendrites are, through this process, tuned to a predetermined frequency by which the seeds of suggestion can be sown. When this occurs, the subject becomes incredibly compliant to any orders given at a certain tone of voice. In some cases, orders need not be given. The subject's attitudes might well be so affected by the hyperbole as to affect his natural tendencies... Emmanuel silently wondered if there existed a perfect combination of words or phrases that could somehow-as in the case of Hyperbolic Suggestion-subvert even the most stubborn of wills. Then again, maybe it wasn't so much the words as it was how they were spoken: if he achieved exactly the most desirable intonation, rhythm, timing, pitch and pronunciation in his speaking, would his verbal appeals somehow make greater inroads in garnering their consent? There had to be some optimal combination of aspirated consonants, diphthongs, facial expressions and inflection he could somehow affect in order to persuade them effectively. But it seemed that to search for this elusive mixture of ingredients would only prove an onerous task, conceivably of little benefit. In view of this sobering reality, he decided instead to try out a completely different approach from those previous: it occurred to him that his attempts at persuasion might be slightly more effective if he carried them out as dialogues, rather than as monologues.