Accents & Pronunciation

Peter the skald's picture

Did not know where else to put this.......
Over on Harn forum there has been a bit of a to and fro' regarding accents (grave,acute,circumflex,cedilla...not Yorkshire,Cornish etc!).

Some feel that the heavy accent (geddit) on accents in KP works is distracting and a strong factor in whether they would purchase products in the future.

Others have pointed out that they should let this be known to KP.

In light of this, I thought I would start the ball rolling by stating my position.

I would be more likely to purchase KP products if they had less accents in the text.

Neil's picture

As an English speaker I use a language that doesn’t use accents. While I have no particularly strong feelings about them myself, I don’t use them and I can remember many discussions on the HârnForum over the years on their use, or, as many see it, their overuse.

I’m fairly ignorant of accents. I pronounce Shorkyne and Shorkeenay because that’s what it says in the module. The accents don’t help. I pronounce Jedes as JEDD-ess (accent on the first part. This may be wrong. I heard Kerry pronounce it Jeeds at HârnCon. Is he wrong? Am I? Does it matter?

I skip past the accents, if I read that Melderyn is pronounced MEL-duh-reen, I may well remember, and pronounce it that way. It would not, however matter if it was spelt Melderyn, Méldèryn or Mèļđęŕŷň

What concerns me most about the accents is that a lot of folk on the HârnForum have said that they don’t like them.

I’ve also heard them described as ‘pretentious’, which in my opinion is a bad thing.

- "Pardon me for living, I'm sure."

-- (Terry Pratchett, Mort)

Balesir's picture

While I find accents *do* help me grok the sound of the names and so on, it concerns me that many folk find them a turn-off.

A glossary of pronunciation has been suggested, but I can't help feeling that this is something technology ought to be able to solve. Is there some way that PDF documents can be generated such that, through switchable fonts or some such, the reader can turn accents on or off?

Allan's picture

In my local area we started Harn without any knowledge of pronunciation. And we have since discovered that many words are mis-pronounced, but its so ingrained that if someone started saying them correctly now, we would not understand what was being said. Even though it adds to the feel of a high class setting, for the linguistacly challenged its a put off.

Arandil's picture

I love the accents, but I understand the points here (i.e. confusing and/or pretentious seeming to some). I think the pretension accusation is unfortunate, and I suspect that may come from some experience with (other company's) products that have actually abused them (or other affectations such as the AE in Forgotten Realms, et. al.).

Personally, I don't want to lose the accents, I like them. For me, an option to display or not display the accents would be far preferable to having no accents displayed in the texts. Frankly, it's too easy to pronounce the names incorrectly without them. But a pronunciation guide, and vowel key, would be very handy I suspect.

TheAncientOne's picture

...a file in MP3 (or other) format of Robin pronouncing the (random number) 1000 most common Harnic names/words? If it was downloadable it would instantly(?) solve many problems.

Conundrum: When is the Past also the Future?

Severin's picture

That is a fantastic idea.

Robin's picture

Ok then... I started to do this a few years ago, but lost interest...

If there are people who what an audio pronunciation guide, let us know.

Also, if there are words you'd like to hear pronnounced let us know what they are.

We aim to please...

(And Ancient one, the Past is *always* the future.)

Perin's picture

...there was a Penny Arcane article in Hârnlore 15. I still use it today as a handout to new players - it helps them a lot.

But an audio guide would be really cool. I own some foreign language dictionaries for my handheld computer that offer the feature to speak the actual word out of an additional audio file and that is sometime really helpful.

That would correspond to a small electronic Hârndex with a working "speak me" button.

Arandil's picture

I think that an audio guide would be handy!

CatherineMcClarey's picture

Agreed -- that would be very practical. I remember the children's Latin curriculum I homeschooled with for a few years included a pronunciation CD, read by the curriculum's author. (She had a strong Kentucky accent, but since we were switching from the Ecclesiastical pronuniciation of a previous curriculum to Reformed Classical pronunciation in this one, it was still useful.)
In the meantime, since the cultures of Harn (& NW Lythia) are modeled on those of medieval Europe, I "guesstimate" pronunciations based on what I know about European languages (both Romance & Scandinavian) from college and grad school.