This Man Can Pronounce Every Word in the Dictionary

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英语发音和拼写并不完全符合规律,普通人很难念对字典里的所有单词。但这可难不倒“活字典”Jacques Bailly博士,他目前是美国全国拼字大赛(Scripps National Spelling Bee)的读词考官,也是曾经的拼字冠军,常人眼里的生僻难词他都能读准。

不过,这位首屈一指的读音权威大神,却坦言认为,其实有时发音对错并无定论,无需太过纠结。

Pardon me, professor.

Maybe you can help me out here, is this word pronounced cache or cache?

Cache.

Appreciate it, doc.

You see, when Jacques Bailly pronounces a word, he pronounces it right, he can pronounce this thing.

Smaradine.

He can pronounce this thing.

Scherenschnitte.

He even pronounces words that don't make a lick of sense.

Albumen.

And when you're that damn good with words, sooner or later, someone's gonna pay you to say 'em.

Hi, Dr. Bailly.

This is Jacques Bailly, the official pronouncer of the National Spelling Bee.

Luxembourg.

L-U-X-E. . .

Gala.

Sherbet.

Gyro.

GIF.

Before Jacques' days as the world's foremost pronouncer of persnickety words, he began a spelling career on the other side of the microphone.

Jacques was a competitive speller and in 1980, he found himself in the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

His word, elucubrate, so he said.

ELUCUBRATE and it means to burn the midnight oil, to study all night.

And with those 10 letters, Jacques became a champion.

Twentythree years later, Jacques had elucubrated all the way to the big show.

Propiophenone.

Roquefort.

Pyroclastic.

Can I please have the definition?

But sometimes even Jacque's meticulous pronunciations don't tell the whole story.

English words are not always spelled as they sound.

One thing that makes English words really hard to spell is the schwa, the schwa is that uh, like in butter or unutterable.

The Y in syringe, the A in balloon, the O in freedom, they all sound the same spoken out loud, a speller's nightmare.

The longer and weirder a word is, the easier it is to spell, take the state fish of Hawaii, the humuhumunuku, ah, the humuhumunukunukuapua'a, that's an easy word to spell, it's just long, it's a weird word and weird things stand out and are easier to remember.

ONOMASIA, paronomasia. Correct.

Let's go!

For a man with perhaps the most legitimate claim as the authority on pronunciation, Jacques takes a rather agnostic approach to the right and wrong ways to say things.

A lot of people are kind of amazed, that I know how to pronounce all these words, but I don't, I read them from the dictionary.

Well, how does the dictionary know how to pronounce a word?

Because they go out there and listen to native speakers, if there are a whole bunch of people, who pronounce a word a certain way, that makes it a correct pronunciation.

People have very strong opinions, that there's an incorrect way to pronounce a word, but it's like saying that dog barked wrong, that's not a bark, well, the dog gets to decide.

Thanks Jacques, I reckon you got more wisdom, than all the books in the library.