Pronunciation

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Post by leapfrog314 » Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:50 pm

Yeah, there's definitely a big problem with requiring the "correct" pronunciation of Chinese and other transliterated languages. At NAQT Nationals, there was a bonus part on "Nanjing" to which my teammate answered "Nanking" (or maybe it was the other way around). The moderator ruled it wrong and said the other answer. I started to argue, but realized that it was a timed match and it didn't look like it was going to affect the outcome of the match. On the way out, we mentioned that our answer was the same thing, and he replied, "No, I'm pretty sure it isn't." :roll:

Both are correct transliterations of the Chinese word, both appear in textbooks, and neither is really how you actually pronounce it in Chinese. Pinyin, Wade-Giles, and Zhuyin are radically different systems in how they Romanize Chinese words, like the guy who most English-speakers call "Chiang Kai-Shek", Pinyin calls "Jiang Jieshi," and Wade-Giles calls "Chiang Chieh-shih."

This is definitely another big exception to the consonant rule.
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Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:23 pm

All Chinese words/names should be listed and accepted in at least W-G and Pinyin systems, period. That's not so much a pronounciation issue as a proper effort on the part of question writers issue. Same goes for listing the original titles of translated works of literature, the full names of people, and all names listed for a country in the CIA Factbook.

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Post by conker » Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:35 pm

I absolutely cannot stand the treatment of Chinese names in quiz bowl. I agree that both Wade-Giles and pinyin forms should be acceptable, but practice often strays from theory. I was looking at a bonus question from a past tournament, and "Chiang Kai-Shek" was the only answer listed for a clue about the Chinese Nationalist leader who fled to Taiwan. "Jiang Jieshi," the pinyin form and how it would sound if it was pronounced in Mandarin, was not listed to my chagrin.

Also, last year at NAQT, we almost didn't get credit for answering "Qin Shihuang" for "Shihuangdi." I don't even understand where "Shihuangdi" comes from. There is not a single Chinese person who would refer to him as "Shihuangdi"--and yes, I have asked several Chinese people to make sure, and they found the name incredibly amusing. If you asked 500 Chinese people who first unified China, 497 would answer Qin Shihuang, 2 people wouldn't know, and 1 person would probably give some scholarly answer beyond our comprehension. But "Shihuangdi" would never enter into the discussion and should not even be an acceptable answer in good quizbowl--let alone an alternative answer.
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Post by thepowerofche » Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:37 pm

The only reason why I know how to pronounce Goethe is because of You Don't Know Jack, where it questions your knowledge by asking what childhood taunt would actually rhyme with his name. I obviously picked "Goethe the Growth," when the correct answer was "Goethe Skirta." I have never since forgotten it.

My two cents about the "is pronunciation knowledge" deal is - oh wait, nobody cares, everyone's just going to gloss over my post because they're sick and tired of this discussion that, like the song at the end of "Lamb Chop's Play Along," will never end. Someone lock this, because this is thread is either pointless, pedantic argument or DumbJacques and quizbowllee sniping at each other.
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aestheteboy wrote:Maybe I was just having illusions, but I thought one way to interpret quizbowl was that it was a test of culture, sophistication, and education. To me, calling Munch "munch" is the farthest thing from culture, sophistication, or education.
What this boils down to is that you're a huge tool.
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Post by blazer06 » Fri Jun 30, 2006 11:13 pm

conker wrote:Also, last year at NAQT, we almost didn't get credit for answering "Qin Shihuang" for "Shihuangdi." I don't even understand where "Shihuangdi" comes from. There is not a single Chinese person who would refer to him as "Shihuangdi"--and yes, I have asked several Chinese people to make sure, and they found the name incredibly amusing.
I remember that question, it was the 7th round, I think, and we almost didn't get credit either. I answered "Qin-Shi-Huang", and had to argue that since I was Chinese, I should know who the emperor who unified China was, and that that was actually his name. I mean, "Shi Huang Di" means "Emperor Shi"...which isn't even his last name. I could understand "Qin Huang Di"...

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Post by NotBhan » Fri Jun 30, 2006 11:43 pm

I'd never heard that, about Shih-Huang-Ti (or variants). Here's one bit of possibly relevant material I found a moment ago ...

*********************
Quin Shi Huang-Di Biography

First emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Quin Shi Huang-di (259 BC-210 BC) unified China in 221 BC and turned the country into a centralized empire.

Contributed by Liping Bu, Ph.D. in History, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Name variations: Qin Shihuangdi, Ch'in Shih Huang-ti, Shih Huang Ti, Qin Shi Huang, Qin Wang Zheng (King Zheng of Qin), Qin Ying, Qin Zheng; Qin Shi Huang-di was his title, often abbreviated as Qin Shi Huang. His own name was Zheng, and his family name was Ying. "Qin" indicates the Qin Dynasty or Qin Empire, "Shi" means the beginning or the first, "Huang-di" means emperor. Born in 259 b.c.; died in 210 b.c.; son of King Zhuang Xiang of Qin; children: more than 20 sons. Predecessor: Zhuang Xiang of Qin. Successor: Hu Hai, his second son.
********************

Source: http://www.bookrags.com/biography-quin- ... index.html .
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Post by quizbowllee » Sat Jul 01, 2006 12:54 am

Sometimes pronunciation guides are wrong. Last year, we had a German exchange student on our team. A question came up about Gerhard Schroeder. I had always assumed that his same was prounounced like the Peanuts character, but the NAQT packet had the pronunciation of his name rhyming with "raider." Max, the student from Germany said "that's just completely wrong." He even wanted to see for himself the pronunciation guide. He thought it was hilarious and couldn't comprehend how they had come up with that pronunciation.

It turns out I was right - according to a young man who lives in Bavaria - that Schroder's name is the same as the Peanuts character and does not rhyme with "traitor."
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Post by NotBhan » Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:59 am

Here's a web site I like to use for names. It's a VOA pronunciation guide, so it's good for current figures ... http://ibb7.ibb.gov/pronunciations/index.cfm

Incidentally, they pronounce the name as G-AIR-hahrt SHRER-durr . There's also an audio pronunciation available via the search.
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Post by Matthew D » Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:13 am

Hey thanks for that little bit of help.. Lee will attest to the fact that I can butcher a name in nothing flat.. :wink: :wink:
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Post by DumbJaques » Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:43 am

This is exactly what upset everyone so much. No, an impediment doesn't "entitle" someone to mispronounce things, it CAUSES them to. Whether this is what you meant or not, it sounded to me like you were implying that someone who can't talk correctly shouldn't be playing. Granted when posed with that question, you said that it "Certainly wasn't" what you meant. However, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what you DID mean. It seems you were saying that players with speech impediments should obviously be allowed to play, but whenever they buzz in to answer, they must miraculously shed their affliction and answer perfectly. It doesn't work that way. Honestly, at this point I'm not trying to make you sound like a bad guy, I'm just trying to figure out what you mean. How do you expect someone who speaks differently to play this game but also expect them to pronounce things perfectly?

I should not have used the word "excuse." It certainly did not reflect what I meant to say, and I hope you will express to your team that I sincerely apologize for conveying that message. I'm not exactly sure in the 3 seconds that I had to respond to the situation that I could have found a better word, but that one was certainly not correct.

Here's essentially what I mean:

If a player had buzzed in and said "Rose-uh-vel-elt," inserting an L or something like that, and I was told he had a speech impidement (assuming it wasn't by someone with a reputation for claiming speech impidements/partial deafness/a PhD in the field of whatever the question happens to be in), I would of course not protest that. But this was a unique situation. The fact remains that your player did the EXACT same thing that my teammate did. It might not be fair to penalize your player there, and certainly I don't believe having a speech impediment should make you unable to play quizbowl. But it clearly isn't fair to my teammate to simply accept the answer your player had given. I actually did try to make this point during the protest, but as I was starting to say it, the kid's parents started shouting me down. That is why I was left with the impression that they were out of line.

It's fine to use common sense in these situations. 99% of the time I don't think you'd make a justified protest about that kind of pronunciation error, but in this case, it was going to create an inequality either way, and I believe it should have been defaulted to the tournament rules, and it was.

I'm not sure if it would matter to your team, but let them know I DID take them seriously. It ended up not so close, but I got up for that game, you were a playoff team, and no one on our side was laying off. As a team of all sophmores, they have incredible potential, and they should keep in mind that a team of all sophmores is going to get blasted sometimes. Any team is, that's just how it goes. I hope your players believe they can't worry about that, that they just have to play their game, as hard as that can be to do sometimes.
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Post by AE Ismail » Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:14 am

quizbowllee wrote:Sometimes pronunciation guides are wrong. Last year, we had a German exchange student on our team. A question came up about Gerhard Schroeder. I had always assumed that his same was prounounced like the Peanuts character, but the NAQT packet had the pronunciation of his name rhyming with "raider." Max, the student from Germany said "that's just completely wrong." He even wanted to see for himself the pronunciation guide. He thought it was hilarious and couldn't comprehend how they had come up with that pronunciation.

It turns out I was right - according to a young man who lives in Bavaria - that Schroder's name is the same as the Peanuts character and does not rhyme with "traitor."
It should be pointed out that, in languages like German, Itialian, and French which have fairly regularized pronunciations, common nouns generally obey the rules, proper nouns often do not.

Schröder is a good example. Because of the spelling, not assuming anything better, I'd have said something like /SHRAI-deh/, because of the umlaut on the "o." Another example is Saint-Saëns, which is pronounced as two syllables even though the trema (dieresis) on the e implies that Saëns should be /sa~-sah-aw/.

However, I think we do need to draw the line at recognizing when a pronunciation shows clear and unambiguous knowledge, and when we're being pedantic. In English, the "consonants" rule should be OK, but as we get further afield linguistically, this may be less and less possible.

Take Arabic as an example. Several of the sounds in the language are not in common English usage. In addition, there are multiple sounds (t, d, s, th, k, h) which occur in multiple versions. They can't be interchanged in Arabic, but half of them don't really occur in English. Do we exclude answers containing those letters, or rule people wrong if they can't pronounce them with the correct guttural effects? No, because that's pretty much unfair to everyone.

I think the guideline needs to be the old standard of showing "clear, unambiguous knowledge." If the pronunciation is reasonable, and does not mistake one answer for another (the old Monet/Manet saw), we should probably accept the answer. If there's still doubt, we should ask for a reasonable spelling.

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Post by rchschem » Wed Jul 05, 2006 9:18 am

Wow, is this overwrought. There's a whole passel of dissertations about pronunciation here that don't or can't really help players or moderators.

How about this: if the moderator isn't sure, he/she asks the player to spell the word/name. If the spelling is phonetically close and doesn't introduce extra significant letters or syllables, he/she accepts it. As was previously mentioned, while quiz bowl is primarily verbal, most knowledge acquisition in QB is visual (reading). Pronunciation will always suffer at this interface. There's no point in anyone being sanctimonious about pronunciation unless keys are given in every packet and incorrect pronunciations are explicilty named as incorrect and we disallow incorrect ones. Then we'll all start teaching our players the correct ones. Until then, lighten up, everybody.

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Post by Djibouti » Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:41 pm

This past year at Maryland (Fall), our team buzzed in on a question where "the Ramayana" was the accepted answer. Our team's lone player of Indian-descent was the one that buzzed in, and answered "the Ramayan." It was rejected, and we protested, claiming that he should know the title of his own culture's epic. The teammate claimed that there was a North and a South pronounciation, but nonetheless, the tournament director refused to return the points. Luckily, we tied the match on the last question, and won on the first tiebreaker question. So, (1) is this correct?, and (2) has anyone had a similar incident? In the future, I assume it would be safest to say "the Ramayana."
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Post by Tegan » Sat Jul 08, 2006 11:38 am

Djibouti wrote:Our team's lone player of Indian-descent was the one that buzzed in, and answered "the Ramayan." <sic>
I have had students of Russian and Polish descent on my teams, and at some point they have invariably rung in and answered with an answer that is in the native language, and moderators wouldn't allow it. Sadly, they get a little gunshy after that claiming "I know the answer in Russian/Polish, but not in English".

The rule I've always gone by with my players is: give the answer as msot dumb Americans would know it ...... don't say "Moctezuma the Second", just say "Montezuma".....that way, there's no need to protest and risk the moderator not caring enough to listen.

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Post by Mr. Kwalter » Sat Jul 08, 2006 4:48 pm

The packet should have all acceptable answers listed, especially if it's a work/person/whatever with a name whose origin is foreign. If it doesn't, then the packet writer/editor did a shoddy job. Yes, the moderators in those cases were wrong, but the packet should have vindicated your players in the first place.
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Post by samer » Sun Aug 06, 2006 5:09 pm

jbarnes112358 wrote:
Bruce wrote:The United States is not the only English speaking country. Certainly we should allow alternate pronunciations from other English speakers. Ever hear a British person pronounce Aluminum or laboratory? I'm not sure if the former even passes the consonant/syllable test.
Just a minor point here: for NAQT, at least, "aluminium" is explicitly listed as an acceptable alternate.
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Post by solonqb » Sun Aug 06, 2006 5:28 pm

Djibouti wrote:This past year at Maryland (Fall), our team buzzed in on a question where "the Ramayana" was the accepted answer. Our team's lone player of Indian-descent was the one that buzzed in, and answered "the Ramayan." It was rejected, and we protested, claiming that he should know the title of his own culture's epic. The teammate claimed that there was a North and a South pronounciation, but nonetheless, the tournament director refused to return the points. Luckily, we tied the match on the last question, and won on the first tiebreaker question. So, (1) is this correct?, and (2) has anyone had a similar incident? In the future, I assume it would be safest to say "the Ramayana."
Ramayan should have been accepted. The final a is often elided by Indians.
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Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:47 pm

Djibouti wrote:This past year at Maryland (Fall), our team buzzed in on a question where "the Ramayana" was the accepted answer. Our team's lone player of Indian-descent was the one that buzzed in, and answered "the Ramayan." It was rejected, and we protested, claiming that he should know the title of his own culture's epic. The teammate claimed that there was a North and a South pronounciation, but nonetheless, the tournament director refused to return the points. Luckily, we tied the match on the last question, and won on the first tiebreaker question. So, (1) is this correct?, and (2) has anyone had a similar incident? In the future, I assume it would be safest to say "the Ramayana."
Ramayan is definitely correct. Hindi, when written in devanagari, is basically (major simplification, from my knowledge) consonants with vowel diacritical marks, or roughly equivalent to that. Here's the thing, though: instead of the syllable, the svara, a shorter, more basic unit is used. "Cat," while one syllable, would be two svara: "ka" and "t[schwa]." That schwa is more notational, and typically (but not necessarily) written.

And pronounciation of that schwa does vary from North to South, and also in context.

And I'm not even Indian.

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