Recording yourself reading aloud
Introduction to Phonetics Fall 2012
Record yourself reading texts in various languages according
to the instructions below. This recording will be handed in by e-mail to
the professor. Keep this recording till the end of the semester, when
you will listen to it again to evaluate your progress.
This handout, a computer, a computer headset, i.e. earphones
and a microphone, and a printer. You will need to download and
install Audacity recording software. Export and save your files in MP3
format. You will need to install an extra LAME file to do this.
1. First, learn how to use Audacity, then record your name in
English and Chinese, and your student number. Also say where
you grew up (e.g. Taipei 台北, Changhua 彰化) and what your
native language is (e.g. Mandarin and/or Southern Min, aka
'Taiwanese'). Play back what you have said to check the recording
quality. Make sure there isn't too much background noise. Your
voice should not be too loud or too soft, and try to avoid saliva
sounds ('smacking'; water with a little lemon - but no sugar - helps),
and 'popping' (噴嘜), which is caused by too much aspiration.
Now record the Mandarin text. Read as naturally as possible,
just like you talk to your friends. Don't try to sound like a TV or radio
announcer, i.e. don't make a special effort to retroflex (捲舌), add-r
endings (兒化韻), or do other things you don't usually do when you
speak casually. And don't read too fast!
3. Next record yourself reading the English language text. You
may practice before you record, so that you are able to read smoothly,
but use your most usual and natural pronunciation. Do not try to do
anything "special" or "different" with your pronunciation.
Now read the text in Southern Min 閩南語 (Taiwanese) into a
new file, if you are a speaker of Southern Min, either natively or if
you have learned it as a second language. If you speak Hakka 客家語,
Cantonese 粵語, or other Chinese dialect, record that, too (or 'instead'),
saying before you start which subdialect you speak (e.g. 四縣 or 海陸
for Hakka), if you know it.
If you like, you may read any of the remaining 'second foreign
language' texts according to which languages you have studied,
using a separate file for each. This part of the assignment is optional,
but the more you put into this assignment, the more you stand to benefit
from it. You may add languages not included here, such as Malay or
Korean, if you know enough of the language to record a sample on
tape. You can look on the Internet for a suitable text to read, if you wish.
Finally, after you have finished reading all the texts you choose,
play back and listen to what you have recorded and write down how
you feel about your pronunciation in each language or dialect. E-mail
your audio (making sure you've exported and saved them in MP3 format)
and text files to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep a copy of your
comments in your pronunciation journal for future reference.
ROC Ministry of Education Mandarin online dictionary 漢典字典
鸚鵡也會跟著發聲， 有時哭得比小孩還大聲。 每天晚上
Merriam-Webster OnLine: Online English dictionary with audio files, General American
Howjsay: Online dictionary with Standard British English pronunciation
By Shi Mingqi, Taoyuan
China Times, April 18, 2005
and Mrs. Huang, a couple in Taipei county who run
a betel nut stand, had a pet parrot. You couldn’t help but love
this parrot. He was a friend of the neighborhood children,
and a group of students came to visit him every day after school
to play with him. This very smart parrot knew how to talk –
he would often call out “Mommy”, “Daddy”, “Hello”, and “Bye-bye”.
When a child laughed or cried, the parrot would imitate the sound,
sometimes crying even louder than the child. Every evening
when the garbage truck came by, this very responsible parrot
would begin to jump around wildly, urging his master
to bring the bags of garbage to the truck.
The Huangs’ lives revolved around this parrot as though
he were their own child, and he called them “Daddy” and “Mommy”.
But one day misfortune came to the happy family – the parrot was stolen.
Mrs. Huang was miserable to distraction. Every time she thought
of the parrot, the tears would stream down her cheeks. During the day
she would ride her motorcycle from pet shop to pet shop looking
for the bird. She couldn’t sleep at night. After a few days without
her beloved parrot, she asked to ride along with the garbage collectors
in their truck when they did their route, hoping for a miracle.
The kidnapped parrot became very sad and depressed
when he realized that his masters were nowhere to be found.
He wouldn’t eat or drink. Some days later, the Taoyuan county police
found and arrested the criminal ring responsible for the theft.
They brought the parrot to a pet shop for temporary safekeeping.
The pet shop owner said the parrot was very well-behaved,
and he called her “Grandma”. But he wouldn’t touch the fruit
and bird feed she brought him. She tried to force-feed him,
but he still refused to accept the food.
When Mr. Huang received notice from the police that their parrot
had been found, he and his wife immediately rushed over to the
pet shop in Taoyuan to bring their beloved parrot home. To their dismay,
they found that the parrot had lost a lot of weight, and his wings were injured.
The Huangs’ hearts ached when they saw all the birdseed stuck to his neck,
concrete proof that in their absence, he would rather die than accept food.
When he saw his masters arrive, the parrot, who was near death,
flapped his wings excitedly in greeting, and called out loudly, “Hello, Master!”
Mr. Huang was deeply moved. Heaven had not deserted him, his parrot
hadn’t starved to death, nor had he been sold. Having gotten their dear pet back,
Mr. and Mrs. Huang hugged each other tightly and cried tears of joy.
They kept repeating, “We are happier than if we’d won first prize in the lottery.”
Taiwanese/Southern Min online dictionary Hakka online dictionary 2 Cantonese online dictionary
Southern Min, Hakka, Cantonese, other Chinese dialects:
Try to tell the preceding Mandarin story in Southern Min, Hakka,
Cantonese, or whatever other Chinese dialect you speak, using your
own words don't read as though talking to a friend. You don't have
to include every detail or tell it in exactly the same way it is written
above just tell a fluent, coherent story with your most natural and
accustomed pronunciation and speaking style.
Spanish and French online dictionaries at WordReference.com
Este era un niño de 5 años que estaba con su mamá en la
parada del autobús y le dice la mamá al niño: Cuando nos subamos
al autobús le dices al conductor que tienes 4 años, para que no te
Entonces se suben al autobús y le dice el conductor al niño:
¿Cuantos años tienes?
Y le dice el niño: Cuatro.
Y el conductor le dice: ¿Y cuándo cumples los 5 años?
Y el niño responde: ¡Cuando me baje del autobús!
Le petit Alain était en train de combler un trou dans le jardin
quand un voisin se pencha au-dessus de la clôture, interessé
par l'activité du jeune garçon. Il lui dit alors:
"Mais que fais-tu donc, mon petit Alain?"
"Mon poisson rouge est mort", répondit tristement Alain sans
lever les yeux, "et je viens juste de l'enterrer."
Le voisin fit un commentaire: "Mais c'est un trou terriblement
grand pour un poisson rouge, non?"
Alain finit de tasser la terre et répondit: "C'est parce qu'il est
à l'intérieur de votre chat."
LEO German online dictionary with audio files
Die Schulklasse ist zusammen mit ihrem Lehrer fotografiert
worden. Der Lehrer empfiehlt seinen Schülern, sich Abzüge machen
zu lassen. "Stellt euch vor, wie nett es ist, wenn Ihr nach dreißig
Jahren das Bild wieder zur Hand nehmt und sagt: 'Ach, das ist ja der
Paul, der ist jetzt auch Lehrer; und das ist doch Fritz Lehmann, der
ist Bäcker geworden; und da steht doch der Heiner, der ist nach
Amerika ausgewandert...'" Ertönt da aus der letzten Reihe eine
Stimme: "Und das war unser Lehrer, der ist schon lange tot!"
Jim Breen's Japanese online dictionary
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