Sunday, 29 March 2015

voice-over speaker on Mrs Bach

I recently watched the film Written by Mrs Bach broadcast by BBC Four. Amongst the academics who were interviewed on the issue of whether Anna Magdalena Bach could have been the composer of several pieces generally attributed to Johann Sebastian, there were two German specialists on Bach. They made their comments in German and accordingly had to be translated. Listen to this extract of the voice-over speaker and tell me if, like me, something strikes you as odd in her enunciation.

16 comments:

  1. Mariano, no - not exactly what struck me.

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  2. Sounds like simultaneous translation, a little flat and halting as she keeps up with the original speaker (and being a German original, she has to wait for the verb at the end before she can move on), carefully articulated.

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  3. Are you thinking she might be a native German speaker?

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    1. And all the time we thought you were Petr.

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    2. A tiny, inconspicuous comma makes all the difference :-)

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  4. She is quite capable of producing word-initial v+ dental fricative, but uses [d] at the beginning of several instances of the word 'that'.

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    1. What about her TRAP vowel, e.g. in the word 'family'?

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    2. What about it? sounds fair enough to me

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    3. It sounds more like a German /ɛ/ to me rather than the RP/GA /æ~a/.

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  5. It certainly isn't very close to present-day GB /a/ for the TRAP vowel.

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  6. I'm surprised by John's comment. To me, the speaker's TRAP vowel in "family" and "fact" sounded practically indistinguishable from present-day GB /a/ -- certainly it wasn't at all like the stereotypical German realization of, say, "handyman" as what sounds, to British ears, like "hendymen" -- and I wouldn't have taken her for a non-native speaker except for some over-enunciation and separation of the "little words", together with such instances of word-final devoicing as "girlss" and "memberss".

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  7. The realisation of /u:/ in "school" gives away that she's German.

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