Entry: Narrating bloggers Monday, April 25, 2005

Since I have exam reading these days I have little time to spend on my blog (although I would neglect pretty much anything for this obsession-called-internet). Also I see that fellow bloggers are doing such an excellent job (as usual, except for David Treppenwitz though, he's slacking!) describing current events.
But I did want to mention one thing that crossed my mind while reading Gilly's blog. I have never met Gilly, but I am very well aware of the fact that he is born and bred in London, and according to David Treppenwitz (who has met him), he sounds like "a narrator for the BBC".
Now I don't know about the rest of you (again, except for Treppenwitz who calls them "voices in his head"), but I always, always narrate while reading blogs, and often the accents/voices I hear in my head make little sense. The only voices I've actually heard are those of the following:

Lisa: A Canadian with a very sophisticated and personalised way of speaking. It's really contagious.
She can speak really fast in Hebrew by the way.

My Obiter Dicta (Jeffrey): He speaks really fast and I actually sometimes had problems keeping up. (He and Lisa both speak in virtually unaccented Hebrew, which is unusual for anglo-Israeli adults).

Treppenwitz: Has the kind of voice that has a really calming effect on you. It has crossed my mind that David should have become a dentist. I think that might have worked out quite well!

However, apart from that it's left to my imagination, so I decided to share with you how I 'narrate' some of my regular reads (in my head, of course).

Geviha Ben Pesisa: American accent spoken fast, with an extensive vocabulary.

Hasidic Gentile: I don't narrate. But you are no Brit to me!

Israel Midnight Café: This is the mystery man, but I'm guessing you speak almost exactly with a typical American accent. (Until recently I sort of narrated with a British accent, though). And I'm also guessing you're not bad looking. It's just a guess.
Israellycool: American accent, in an excited tone of voice (and yes I know you're Australian).

Neither here nor there: British all the wayyy

Nice Jewish Boy: Super-American accent with slang and stuff

Not a Fish: Now you see this is weird. Don't you speak with a British accent? I narrate with more of an American..

Oleh Girl: Why do you sound like a "cowboy girl" in my head??

Reb Lazer's Shtibble: Oh well I've watched interviews, and you sounded different from what I would have thought!

Rishon Rishon: Good & educated language, soft voice speaking quitely (I could be way off here with the latter)

yiddishe-kop: Serious American girl who speaks calmly 

But then the question remains. How do you all narrate me? Come on, lets hear it..


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August 11, 2005   10:06 AM PDT
Hi Maria, I happened to wander on this site and noticed that you had written that: "Scandinavia consists of: Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland."

This isn't actually true. In fact Scandinavia consist of Denmark, Norway and Sweden but culturally and historically Finland and Iceland are often considered part of Scandinavia.
Finland and Iceland are part of Nordic countries though as are Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

You also said that Finns have an awful accent and I can just say that you're right. I'm a Finn so I should know. ;) But not all the Finns talk like Mika Häkkinen for example. Usually in Finland the younger people's pronunciation is much better than older people's.

Probably one reason why Finnish accent sounds bad is that: "The Finnish language has very regular pronunciation. There is almost one-to-one correspondence between letters and sounds. However, some sounds are a bit difficult to produce for foreigners. The phonetic values of letters resemble the original (Latin) ones, not those occurring in English."
So if it's hard for some foreigners to produce some sounds when it comes to Finnish language it's not a surprise that it's hard for some Finns to produce some sounds when it comes to English language.

I heard once that it's easier for Finns to study Italian for instance because the pronunciation is "similar" in these languages. I don't know if it's true though. :)
May 2, 2005   06:42 AM PDT
Hmm, I sometimes 'hear' you with a Swedish accent and sometimes with a Norwegian one but never with an Icelandic one, I'm sorry to say. I'll work on it!

I don't have an "accent" per se. I don't sound like I'm from the south unless I've just been talking to my mother (then everyone who knows me say, ahh you must have just talked to your mother because the southern belle is coming out). Most people can't place where I'm from in the States. I'm starting to pick up a NY accent (sez people from the south) especially after hanging out with friends from Long Island. I'm told I have a Danish accent to my German and on a few rare occasions people assumed I was from other parts of Germany to my incredible glee. I'm afraid I have a very identifiably american accent to my hebrew though :( Wait, what hebrew?!
April 28, 2005   11:28 PM PDT
Only Americans think I sound English, and in England they used to think I sounded American which I probably did, but now when I speak english both Americans and English say I sound Dutch, so I picked up the accent beter than I can really speak the language. And the dutch mostly think I sound American, almost. Confused yet...?
April 28, 2005   07:54 PM PDT
Well....Adrian is RSE with a bit of Somerset. I still have quite a bit of residual US twang to my wierd accent which is a mix of California, London with a pinch of emmmmmm Ivrit. My yank friends say I have a "British accent" and native Londoners say I sound "American". Northerners for some reason say I sound Irish...
April 28, 2005   06:13 PM PDT
sorry- finland was the closest i could get to iceland.
April 28, 2005   12:54 AM PDT
And one more thing for all of you who keep telling me how you "consider Iceland part of Scandinavia". Iceland IS officially part of Scandinavia.
Scandinavia consists of: Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland: http://www.goscandinavia.com/

All Scandinavians are aware of this (of course), and I don't think they consider Iceland to be any 'less Scandinavian' since they are aware of the historical connection. The odd one out is Finland though, since their ancestry & language is unrelated (although recent genetic studies have shown that Finns are indeed quite related to their neighbors Swedes).
April 27, 2005   11:41 PM PDT
Orly: How can you say that Scandinavian accents 'can't be that different' when David Treppenwitz can hear the difference between a Norwegian and a Swedish accent! (very impressive btw)!
As for confusing a Hebrew, Spanish, and Greek accent, well... yes and my mother can't hear a difference between spoken French and German. Some people just aren't good with sounds...

Alice: I do know what Björk means. It's my sister's name in case I didn't tell you.

Aussie Dave: Yeah we should both do that, to set this thing straight!
April 27, 2005   02:59 PM PDT
You can ask "Treppenwitz" Dave...I do not sound at all American (despite my wife's efforts to "convert" me), although he would probably say I don't sound like the typical Aussie either.

As for an excited tone of voice - wrong again. At least that is my perception. Dang - I once had a link to a radio show to which I called in and proferred my opinion on anti-Semitism, but I can't find it now...

I am currently toying with the idea of doing a Podcast. If I go ahead with it, you will get to hear what I sound like.
April 27, 2005   02:15 PM PDT
Oh, and Bjork is a lovely name. It means 'birch', as in the tree, in English. And they are most beautiful trees, especially in the Scandinavian summer. (But you knew all that already, smarty.)
April 27, 2005   11:54 AM PDT
Correction: The fact that languages are close grammatically does not mean that their accents are similar.
April 27, 2005   11:49 AM PDT
I don't even know Scandinavian accents, but surely they can't be that different? They are all Germanic languages, aren't they? I mean, people often can't tell between Israeli/Arab/Greek/Italian/Sapnish accents when speaking English. Moreover, once I entered a taxi in LA with two British guys, and the taxi driver thought *I* was the British one! And I don't have a British accent at all!! Much closer to an American.
April 27, 2005   07:59 AM PDT

I used to have a few Norwegian and Swedish friends and I couldn't tell their accents apart when they spoke English. As a result, whenever I read a letter, e-mail or blog of someone from Scandinavia (yes, I think of Iceland as Scandinavian) I hear Birgitta's accent. Of course I remember speaking with you a few times ion the phone... but I don't remember you having an accent...sooooo I assigned you one. :-)
Max L
April 27, 2005   04:30 AM PDT
: )
April 27, 2005   12:51 AM PDT
And one more thing for David...
not your narrative voice. We've spoken on the phone, remember.
April 27, 2005   12:50 AM PDT
Hey Lisa knows what I sound like. I need her to save my honor now! Lisa, say something!!
April 27, 2005   12:35 AM PDT
Finns have awful accents. I can't believe you would say that!
Ohhh I should never have raised this question! Now I shall be forced to speak to all of you!
April 26, 2005   11:33 PM PDT
i'll admit it- i also narrate when reading. i've never actually met anyone form iceland, so i have no idea what you might sound like. but i did know this one girl from finland and so i use her accent whenever i'm narrating your blog. i'd imagine that you might have a more down-to earth way of speaking, if that makes any sense.
April 26, 2005   11:32 PM PDT
Oh and Orly...
My Hebrew is not very good. I mean I speak English when I'm in Israel, and I find it hard to speak and understand. But I DO know basic Hebrew. I have learned most of the grammar rules, I *sort of* have a pretty extensive vocabulary. But I'm totally out of practise and in serious need of ulpan and speaking.
April 26, 2005   11:29 PM PDT
Why on earth would I sound Swedish? I'm Icelandic!

Besides, all my time of associating with native English speakers (mostly from USA) in Israel has caused me to sound like an American. I don't really have much of an accent at all. But I CAN fake both a Swedish and an Icelandic accent. As well as Hebrew one, etc. I'm also the best as speaking Hebrew with several accents, especially the Portugese :p
April 26, 2005   09:42 PM PDT
First of all I'm not slacking, I'm enjoying my passover vacation with my family. Oh, OK... truth be told, my wife said she'd kick me to death if I got near the computer while my parents were in town! :-)

Next... Are you saying my narrative voice is like a verbal sedative? hmmmm

As to the way I hear your voice when I read you, that's easy! Even though I've heard your voice on several occasions I can't remember if you had an accent or not... so I always hear the voice of an old Swedish friend (Birgitta) when I read your blog.
April 26, 2005   08:03 AM PDT
This is interesting, though I didn't have the opportunity yet to know all these people.

I usually don't narrate people's voices. I have no idea what you sound like, but you probably talk fast.

How is your Hebrew, by the way?
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April 26, 2005   04:14 AM PDT
Interesting list.
April 25, 2005   09:45 PM PDT
I just watched an Oprah segment on Iceland. They had some Icelandic TV personality named Svanhild (I think). She said that in Iceland people can go to jail for making bigoted comments to other people. I thought that sounded kind of strange given what you've said about your experiences. But of course the whole audience clapped. You guys are so enlightened!

Oh, and she tried to get Oprah to eat lamb's testicles. Mmmmm.

To me you talk kind of fast and have a Swedish accent. And I think you like to laugh and are generally smiley and witty.
April 25, 2005   09:13 PM PDT
I think I probably sound more like Henry Kissinger than like björk
April 25, 2005   09:11 PM PDT
Bjork? I hate when people ask me that. I can 'do' her accent, but...
April 25, 2005   09:02 PM PDT
Alice! I was thinking about putting you on the list but I was too lazy. In my head you always have this really happy & jolly sounding voice.
April 25, 2005   09:00 PM PDT
Bjork? Is that you?
April 25, 2005   08:59 PM PDT
Henry Kissinger

(tee hee hee...)

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