Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Simple Actor's Trick

There are a lot of words in the English language. As an actor you are expected to pronounce them. Now most actors are quite good at speaking, but even those of us with voices like the Late Great Barry White and diction like a Later Day Henry Higgins, sometimes come across words for which we need to look up a pronunciation. The problem faced when pronouncing names and locations in a language like Japanese can be even more daunting. Most of the cast, being native English speakers, find it difficult to pronounce many of these words. Fortunately the proper nouns have been transposed into English in the script so we just need to actually pronounce the vowels the way they are pronounced in Japanese. I have attached a copy of a set of simple syllables provided to the cast by our lighting designer JT who happens to have studied Japanese for several years.

If you ever have a problem pronouncing a word in English I recommend the following resource, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. They have thoughtfully recorded nearly every word in the their print edition and have the accepted pronunications for nearly all of them online.

Say you didn't know how to pronounce zealot. Just type in the word and it will take you to the definition and click on the tiny red speaker and up pops a window and it will say the word as many times as you need so you aren't saying zee-a-lot.

Have fun. You can even make it say the dirty words we all love. It's just like looking up the dirty words in 3rd grade and then you can giggle.

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