13 December 2012

secara umum

In my last two posts, I have been discussing common phrases in English (such as 'freezing cold') and how they can be said quite fast without disrupting intelligibility, while less common phrases (such as 'flaming hot') may be more problematic. Furthermore, the understanding of some phrases such as 'terminal degree' may depend on which variety of English you are familiar with.

Understanding common phrases spoken fast is, of course, important in learning all languages. I often listen to the Singapore news 'Berita Suria' on YouTube, mostly because it is has subtitles which are exceptionally valuable for me. In this extract (available here), the speaker ends his utterance with 'secara umum' ('publicly'), which he says quite fast as [Κƒara umum], eliding one syllable in the first word.

I have considerable difficulty decoding this phrase; but my colleague Adrian Clynes had no difficulty understanding it the first time I played it to him, which just confirms how far I have to go in learning Malay. It also demonstrates how important it is to become familiar with the fast pronunciation of common phrases.

(Actually, there is an error in the subtitles here, as the speaker says 'masyarakat' ('society'), not *'masyarat'; but never mind. Most of the Berita Suria subtitles are excellent.)