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Just a little bit more clarity..?
on 22 February 2012
Okay, so first things first, this is a really impressive collection of source materials and guides for the reader of Old English. There is lots of surrounding information, and bite size chunks of language to help you into the world the Anglo-Saxon speaker. Great.
However, one of the main reasons I bought this CD and book pack was to hear the language spoken clearly. The woman on the recording has a wonderful clear voice, but Mark Atherton has a very soft voice with a lot of "air" in it. His enunciation is soft - and that really isn't what you need when you want clear guidance around the phonetic elements of a language.
He also generates a lot of mechanical noise when he talks. All those little clicks that come from the wetness of the mouth. Off-putting, to say the least, and a symptom of the fact that he is very softly spoken. Close mic-ing means that these sounds aren't lost in his projected voice, rather they compete with it.
So, for me the CD is a disappointment. It certainly does help when reading along to get the rhythm and pace - but just a little more precision in his speaking would have been good.
There is little reason to soften these consonant sounds so much for a learner. D and T are close together enough, without Atherton nearly saying "eatwart" instead of "Eadward". Again, this is a function of his poor enunciation, as is the "wetness" of his consonants.
Nevertheless, I will persist. The woman on the recording is good, and Atherton's soft airy voice which is generated at the back of the mouth rather than projected forwards is something I will get used to. I was just hoping for an audio treat, rather than a slog.