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Linguistics
Mar 9 2009
12:17
digitalrebel
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Mar 9 2009
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What I have noticed in the short time of using Prima (1 day) is, that I am very lucky to have studied English Linguistics and Phonetics as a major in University, so, for me, making the words sound natural, doesn’t seem to be a big problem in English.
(My native language is Swiss German, but when I speak with British or American people, they usually don’t notice).

What I noticed in Vocaloid however, is that the standard vowels used or suggested in Prima in the charts are a bit *off*, so you may have to improvise and try alternatives.

For example, according to the phoneme charts, you would transcibe "cat" as "k { t" … however, for a more realistic result I personally would write the word as "k e t" … the "{" sound, in my opinion is a bit to "open", linguistically speaking, for it to be a realistic "ay" sound in english. It’s closer to an italian "aaah" sound. The "e" phoneme, in my opinion is still not perfect for the a sound in cat, but better than { …

Also, if you are a linguist, you know that consonants change if they are followed by other consonants.

For example, if you have Prima sing "let me" it is produced with a distinct "t" sound, then a pause, then the "m" sound … however, in normal speech, it would sound not much different than "lepmee". So the sound in Prima is more realistic if transcribe "let me" as "lepmee".

"t" is a so-called ‘dental’ sound, followed by "m" which is a bilabial sound. The respective bilabial correspondent to "t" is obviously "p", so the "t" morphs into a "p" in natural speech to make it easier to pronounce when followed by an "m".

So, from a linguistic and phonetic perspective, the software is really interesting.

My tip: If the words in Prima sound unrealistic, try SPEAKING them yourself and try to figure out an alternative "phonemic" spelling (i.e. "l e p m i:" for "let me" or "g I m i:" for "give me" )

If you need any help concerning phonemes, just let me know.

Mar 10 2009
11:37
anders
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Dec 14 2006
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Hi digitalrebel,

You’re absolutely right that some knowledge of English linguistics is an advantage when using Vocaloid.
However, what I think is even more spot on in your post, (since everyone isn’t a linguist), is the tip about speaking (or singing) the words to find a more realistic pronunciation.

You also mention that some of the vowels in Prima is a bit "off" from standard pronunciation, which is true to a certain extent.
I was part of the team that made Prima so I know her idiosyncrasies quite well :)
In case of the { sound in cat, I would agree that Prima differs slightly from standard pronunciation, but that is how the singer that Prima is based on pronounced it.
The reason she pronounced it that way, is that she’s a classically trained soprano singer and they tend to sing in a quite a "posh" english accent. The result is often as you say in linguistic terms a more "open" vowel.
Since Prima is intended as a soprano singer I decided to go with the original singer’s, (who is an English native), pronunciation.

Anyway, thanks for your helpful post and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy Prima.

Anders

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