diction

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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Diane
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Postby Diane » Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:34 pm

Fljots, I am a page or so behind, but I used to live in Birmingham as a student. (Does the number 16 bus-stop by Rackhams still sway late at night, I wonder? I held that bus-stop up many a time. I hope it's still standing.) I like the Brummie accent, although I don't much care for the smell from the HP Sauce factory in Aston.

Noddy Holder of Slade is a famous Brummie. Here is a joke from him that gives a bit of an idea of the Brummie accent:
It's 1974 and I'm playing the Pop Star, shopping in a trendy boutique. I try on a pair of gold lame loon pants, and I'm admiring them in the mirror when the assistant asks if I'd like to try on a silver shirt too, which I do, and that looks fantastic too. The outfit's really taking shape. Then the assistant says "would sir like a kipper tie?" I reply "Not 'alf, I'm parched. Milk and two sugars, please."

The accent, all the way from Walsall - just north of Brum - turns 'cup of tea' into 'kipper tie'.
Do you speak like that, Fljots? We need to know in case we ever have cause to call in on you for a cup of tea.

btw, I think dear Geoffrey is talking tongue in cheek once again.

Diane
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Fljotsdale
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Postby Fljotsdale » Tue Jul 04, 2006 3:07 am

Rofl! :lol:

Hiya, Diane! No, I don't talk like that! That's Black Country, that is, not Brummie. :lol: I had a friend once, who was a black Black Country lad, and it always killed me to hear THAT accent with THAT colour face! It was a long time ago. There are many black Brummies/Black Country people who are born to the accents these days.
Brummie has similarities to Black Country, but Black Country is both sharper and richer in sound than Brummie. Brummies tend to sound stupid and a bit whiney. I take care that I don't! But all the same, you can tell I'm Brummie!

BTW, Birmingham has changed a lot. You may not recognise much of the city centre. I get a bit lost sometimes myself! Then I put on a vague look and a faintly foreign accent and ask an Asian person where I am! They always know!
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.
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~greg
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Postby ~greg » Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:30 am

Some of us are no longer young.

Some of us are apparently all of 6 years old
and know how to tie our own shoes.
And therefore we have need to make fun of 4 year olds
because they don't know how to tie their shoes yet.

But real adults like Geoffrey don't need to make fun of anybody.

He knows that we need to know why the sky is blue,
but are too shy to ask.
And that if we don't ask,
we never learn.

And although the question is no longer of real urgency to Geoffrey,
he can remember that it once was. And he knows that it still is,
to some of us, if not to others.

And therefore he gives us these elaborate answers.
Hair-brained, medieval, blasphemous answers.
But that's not their point.
Their point is to teach us to think for ourselves.

Because this is what good fathers do!

Children, - I believe the sky is blue
because it's covered with the road-kill of blue-birds.
So what do you think?

We are all Geoffrey's children.
And he gives us quality time.

G-d bless the codger!
--------------------------

However, "scapegoat" is a goat with the sins of
the people laid on its head, and allowed to escape
the city, thus taking the sins of the people away with it.

Dylan, in contradistinction to Geoffrey, knows
his bible well. Well enough to be free
to take liberties with such references.

The young girl, with sensitive instincts, was in fact
constantly scrapped around the floor and walls
and ceiling by the jealousy of others around her.
And they imputed she had a cloven foot, like a goat,
because she was the devil.

-------------------------------

Fljotsdale wrote:
lizzytysh wrote:Different pronunciations will vary by the region where one lives and the individual speaking. To have everything pronounced exactly as spelled by everyone who speaks that particular language would end up rather milk toast for me as a listener. The differences in pronunciation can be very charming.

~ Lizzy
Yes, I agree. And so long as you can understand what is said, the exact pronunciation of a word is not particularly important. We automatically mentally 'correct' pronunciation to fit with our own particular dialect/accent, anyway. For example, in a post or a letter, a person cannot hear the Birmingham (UK) accent in my written words, so they 'hear' me in their own accent. With the spoken word a person hears the accent but 'decodes' it to tally with their own - so we all understand with ease that (eg) 'ornjs' is oranges, and 'perscription' is prescription.

Another example, one drawn from the everyday experience of
speaking, can help us better understand how vocal materiality is lost
behind signification. Whenever someone speaks to us, the strictly
phonic aspect of the utterance tends to disappear behind the meaning
of what is being said. After a completely bilingual person has seen a
film, he may find himself unable to tell you whether he saw the original
or the dubbed version, especially if the question is asked some time
after the screening, after the pure resonance of the language of the
sound track is gone. On the other hand, he will have no trouble
recalling which version he saw if a bad dubbing called attention to the
specifically phonic dimension by failing to replicate the ambient sounds
of the original sound track, or by some other inconsistency that became
apparent as the film unfolded.

A similar phenomenon occurs with accent in language and the
dimension of jouissance that an accent can open up. Why is it that
when a regional accent is heard outside its own region, and so takes on
that slightly foreign ring, it tends to provoke laughter or value judgments
(this charming lilt, that broad drawl, etc.)? Is it that accents
evoke social or ethnic differences and the hierarchical values assigned to
them? Probably. Yet it is also because the accent tends to bring to the
surface vocal materiality, the vocal object as such; it becomes -as we
have seen- an object of jouissance and this intrusion of jouissance into
language subverts the signifying action of the spoken words


-from "The Angel's Cry: Beyond the Pleasure Principle in Opera"
- by Michel Poizat (translated by: Arthur Denner)
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Diane
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Postby Diane » Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:58 pm

Flottie, this not even knowing how people speak is one of the many frustrations of writing to people and not meeting them properly! I will say no more on that matter, which we have discussed before :wink:. Yes, I hear that the Bull Ring has been completely re-done and I'm sure Birmingham city centre is unrecognisable from when I was there 20 years ago.

Greg said:
although the question is no longer of real urgency to Geoffrey,
he can remember that it once was. And he knows that it still is,
to some of us, if not to others.
I don't think it is necessary to worry about Leonard's diction, for the reasons given; he has a Montreal dialect, and dialects often differ most in the phonological rules that convert words into pronunciations. It is not true that less well-educated people speak a coarser or simpler language, and that people who speak 'properly' are superior in their language skills.

Steven Pinker in The language Instinct says:
Language is not a cultural artifact that we learn the way we learn to tell the time or how the federal government works. Instead it is a distinct piece of the biological makeup of our brains. Language is a complex, specialised skill, which develops in the child spontaneously, without conscious effort or formal instruction, is deployed without awareness of its underlying logic, and is qualitatively the same in every individual.
It is not necessary to worry about protecting the English language from falling apart at the seams when the text book is deviated from. An unfamiliar dialect often makes people more interesting to listen to, as is said in the text you copied above, because it adds another dimension of interest to speech.

The differences in ability with what can be done with the language; the ideas that can be expressed, are more interesting than how it is pronounced. The evolutionary influences on our complex verbal ability and how it might have come about are also rather interesting. Anthropologists note how tribal chiefs are often both gifted orators and highly polygynous. Geoffrey, are you powerful as well as eloquent, and, if so, do you have lots of girlfriends? And what about you, Greg?

Diane
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lizzytysh
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Postby lizzytysh » Tue Jul 04, 2006 3:26 pm

Hi Greg ~

Well, very well, said on Geoffrey 8) . So true 8) .

Your quote is correct on the fact of the 'value' judgements that come alongside accents. We continually make 'value' judgements, as a natural sort of filter for what we include and exclude in our lives, what we appreciate and detest [hopefully, not much], what we'll accept and reject, and so on, as a means of being able to find our own way through this world of so many choices. Noting accents is a more benign form of value judgement for me. The one accent I used to have an aversion to, I now love. That's the southern [U.S.] accent. Accents tend to catch our ear and then the words catch our mind.

Interesting quote on the dubbed films.

Great posting, Greg. [Whoops ~ another value judgement :wink: .]


~ Lizzy
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Fljotsdale
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Postby Fljotsdale » Tue Jul 04, 2006 7:59 pm

Very good, ~greg. :) I enjoyed your last post a lot. 8)
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.
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Fljotsdale
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Postby Fljotsdale » Tue Jul 04, 2006 8:09 pm

Diane wrote:Flottie, this not even knowing how people speak is one of the many frustrations of writing to people and not meeting them properly! I will say no more on that matter, which we have discussed before :wink:. Yes, I hear that the Bull Ring has been completely re-done and I'm sure Birmingham city centre is unrecognisable from when I was there 20 years ago.
Yes, the internet has that disadvantage. But the advantages outweigh it, I think. It means you can get to know PEOPLE instead of being put off by various prejudices, such as...
'oh, fat, I don't want to know her/him';
'oh, ugly/deformed/disabled, I can't possibly talk to her/him because I won't know where to look';
'oh, Jewish...'
'oh, black... '
'oh, Muslim...'
'oh, white...'
'oh, male...'
'oh, female...'
'oh, old...'
'oh, a child...'

etc, etc.

On-line our prejudices are heavily filtered by not knowing anything not revealed by the other person, and that is good. :)
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.
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Diane
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Postby Diane » Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:18 pm

Hmm, I see what you mean, but I prefer to know people's entire personalities, and you get so much more information about people by communicating face to face.

But you are in Birmingham and I am in South Wales and we would almost certainly never have communicated at all were it not for Leonard Cohen and for Jarkko and this site. I have made excellent friends through this site with whom I am in regular email contact, and I love that. I have also met a few lovely people in person whom I would never otherwise have met, if I had not met them here first. And then of course there is Berlin coming up too! Pretty amazing, really; you couldn't buy it :) .

Diane
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Geoffrey
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Postby Geoffrey » Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:35 am

Fljotsdale wrote:
>Tell the buggers in the chat room that they are nit-picking at genius, and that when they have Cohen's musical stature, but without any fault at all, THEN they MAY have a right to criticise.


Hello -
What struck me was the speed with which the response came. I had mentioned the way Springsteen says 'inneresting' instead of 'interesting' - and followed this by casually praising Leonard's diction, his eloquence and perfect pronunciation. Then suddenly, not two seconds later, I saw the retort: "perscription?" appear on my screen. It was as if no thinking had been necessary - and that is what mostly bothered me. I realised that this was correct, Leonard HAD pronounced that word wrongly in his song, but it had never registered with me. It had been too trivial a slip to harbour. I had heard it but made no mental note. It had simply made absolutely no impression on me whatsoever and therefore denied storage in my conscious memory bank. It was this ability to spontaneously offer a legitimate counter-remark to my praise of Leonard that disturbed me. I was caught off-balance and didn't know what to say - and that is why I came here asking for advice. Thank you for being so friendly, all of you.
Geoffrey
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Fljotsdale
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Postby Fljotsdale » Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:08 pm

This is 'cos of that mental 'correcting' process I mentioned in an earlier post. We notice in passing, correct, and don't notice what we have done. The brain is a marvellous instrument. :wink:

As Terry Pratchett said in more than one of his novels "The brain edits out what isn't supposed to be there" (paraphrased)
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.
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Fljotsdale
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Postby Fljotsdale » Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:17 pm

Diane wrote: Hmm, I see what you mean, but I prefer to know people's entire personalities, and you get so much more information about people by communicating face to face.
True - but you have to feel comfortable about communicating first, and it is a fact that some people, for whatever reason, you don't feel comfortable with face to face. So getting to know them via internet enables us to comunicate freely.
Diane wrote:But you are in Birmingham and I am in South Wales and we would almost certainly never have communicated at all were it not for Leonard Cohen and for Jarkko and this site.
Again, true. :)
Diane wrote:I have made excellent friends through this site with whom I am in regular email contact, and I love that. I have also met a few lovely people in person whom I would never otherwise have met, if I had not met them here first. And then of course there is Berlin coming up too! Pretty amazing, really; you couldn't buy it :) .

Diane
I have never yet met anyone in person that I have met via internet. In some cases I am sorry about that :) but mostly I am just happy to enjoy the internet relationship. And sometimes I'm VERY GLAD not to meet someone in person, LOL! :lol:
I'm a bit reclusive, you know. I hate parties and crowds, and even when it is the company of people I love, which is enjoyable, I'm terribly glad when they go home! :lol:
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.
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Geoffrey
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Postby Geoffrey » Wed Jul 05, 2006 6:27 pm

Fljotsdale wrote:
>We notice in passing, correct, and don't notice what we have done.


I don't quite understand this. What is the difference between my brain and Tim's brain, and which of the two is the nicest one to have?
Tony
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Postby Tony » Wed Jul 05, 2006 6:49 pm

Is this mind threatening subject only to be discussed pro tempore, is it destined to groan on ad infinitum or until it reaches a reductio ad absurdum? Please excuse my English.
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Fljotsdale
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Postby Fljotsdale » Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:01 am

Geoffrey wrote:Fljotsdale wrote:
>We notice in passing, correct, and don't notice what we have done.


I don't quite understand this. What is the difference between my brain and Tim's brain, and which of the two is the nicest one to have?
I'm talking majorities here, Geoffrey, not specific individuals! :lol:
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.
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Fljotsdale
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Postby Fljotsdale » Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:03 am

Tony wrote:Is this mind threatening subject only to be discussed pro tempore, is it destined to groan on ad infinitum or until it reaches a reductio ad absurdum? Please excuse my English.
Reductio ad absurdum, of course! What other way is there? :lol:

PS: Nothing wrong with your English. So far. :wink: Apart from a missing 'or'. :)
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.

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