14.0588 teleprompto, or Epifiletmignon not so rare

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 01/11/01

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 588.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
             Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 07:32:55 +0000
             From: "Tarvers, Josephine K." <tarversj@exchange.winthrop.edu>
             Subject: RE: 14.0582 teleprompto?
    Having just spent some time with my elderly, hearing-challenged mother, I
    tend to sympathize with Jim. Another place where the problems Jim writes
    about can be seen is in closed-captioning. It's usually of good quality for
    prerecorded programs where the captioner has the luxury of backing up and
    checking what s/he hears. But for live broadcasts, such as the news,
    discussion programs, [my mother's favorite] church services, or (in the US
    most recently) things like live election coverage, the captioner, who is
    trying to keep up with rapid-fire conversation, often substitutes homonyms
    and near-homonyms for what has actually been said. [Especially since the
    captioners are often young and not widely-read.] And in the case of speakers
    like George W. Bush, for whom malapropism is an art form, the captions can
    really get sticky. If your TV set has the option to provide closed-captions,
    I suggest you turn it on and watch an hour or so of CNN sometime. It's
    really revealing. So is using voice-recognition software, where you try to
    convince the computer that your pronunciation actually produces recognizable
    words. My New Jersey accent apparently defies most programs' acceptability
    algorithms. Fugeddaboutit.
    Of course, I once had a graduate student write about Spenser's poem
    _Epifiletmignon_ on an exam, so I don't suppose this problem is new. I'm not
    sure it's going to be the job of philologists alone to clear this up--we
    will undoubtedly need a full range of specialists, from speech pathologists
    to artifical intelligencers, to address the problem.
    Jo Koster Tarvers, Ph.D.
    Department of English
    Winthrop University
    Rock Hill, SC 29733-0001 USA
    phone (803) 323-4557
    fax (803) 323-4837
    e-mail tarversj@winthrop.edu
    on the web http://faculty.winthrop.edu/tarversj
    "My view on current affairs? I'm too busy to have one."---Broom Hilda
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Humanist Discussion Group
    Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 7:28 AM
    To: Humanist Discussion Group
                     Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 582.
             Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
               Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2001 11:22:10 +0000
               From: "David L. Gants" <dgants@english.uga.edu>
               Subject: A Teleprompto?
         >> From: "Jim Marchand" <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
                              A New Kind of Error?
    As a humanistic philologist, I spend a great deal of time listening
    and watching for `errors', such as the recent use of _livid_ to
    mean, not purple, but `quite angry', or such things as the
    hyperurbanism `between you and I' (and others of the kind).  Each
    new invention brings with it its own types, as the stylus and the
    clay, the chisel and the stone, the brush and the papyrus, the pen
    and the parchment, etc. brought us the scribal error, the
    typewriter the typo.  We had the mixup of the idiot boards in one
    of Reagan's speeches (bothered him not at all).  Each of these
    required special skills on the part of the philologer, and we have
    books on how to recover the original.  Now comes a new invention:
    the teleprompter (and the see-through teleprompter).  Those who
    watched both conventions, with speakers changing their positions to
    accomodate cameras and teleprompters know what I mean.  In one of
    his speeches Bush referred to people `filing out their forms'.
    Here, one cannot be sure whether this was his error or that of the
    teleprompter typist.  Just this morning, I heard a senator speak of
    `Britian's role', and I feel sure that must have been the
    teleprompter, since I know of no one who says Britian for Britain
    (spelling is a whole nother thing).  Those who watched the Supreme
    Court recently on TV and saw how badly the court reporter spelled
    can be sure that teleprompter typists are likely to do so also.
    Thus, there may spring up a new task for the philologist.  I am
    sure that in the future we will see people claiming that World War
    III was started by a misreading of a teleprompter by some great
    official, just as that everyone knows that World War II was started
    by the mistranslation of a Japanese word. Perhaps awareness will
    mitigate (I saw that recently, too) against this.

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