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  #1  
Old 06-23-2008, 02:59 AM
even sven even sven is online now
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Will GPS change street name proununciation?

We recently took a GPS unit to LA, and it had trouble with even the most mudane Spanish-derived street names (think "turn left on cab-brill-oh".) I shudder to think of what it does with the Native-American inspired names in places like Washington. However, it seems like with time we might start favoring the way machines pronounce them. And I wonder if we will finally reach an agreement on contested street names- like "Don Julio" in Sacramento which is equally referred to as "Don Jool-io" and Don Who-lio".

So, do you think GPS will change how we deal with street names?
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2008, 03:21 AM
Mops Mops is offline
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That's not an issue unique to the US I guess - a lot of street names elsewhere refer to proper names originating from another language. (I came upon a Sautierstraße in Freiburg, Germany, and was perplexed until I realized that it probably was not named "Sow-Animal-Street" (as in lady pig) but after some Frenchman called Sautier.)

I expect that eventually the street databases that navigation systems use will contain pronounciation e.g. as an IPA string as just another data point associated with a street (just as now street class, one-way-ness and speed limited are associated in the database with a street or part of a street.)
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  #3  
Old 06-23-2008, 07:24 AM
Soul Soul is offline
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I sure hope not. My GPS pronounces the nearby "University Parkway Northeast" as "University pee kay why neh."
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  #4  
Old 06-23-2008, 07:37 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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My Mother's GPS, currently the only one I've ever had the opportunity to play with, doesn't pronounce street names at all. You enter your destination, it gives ddirections, and "you have reached your destination" and that's all. Seems plenty good enough for most purposes.
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  #5  
Old 06-23-2008, 07:45 AM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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In Texas, we have certain roads that are designated FM (for Farm to Market). For some reason best known to herself, the nice GPS lady has decided that this is best handled by

"Turn left onto Federated States of Micronesia 973"


Last edited by Tapioca Dextrin; 06-23-2008 at 07:46 AM.. Reason: speling
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2008, 08:38 AM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
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There's no way that GPS will override local pronunciation. I have to admit it is damn painful to hear the mangled Spanish pronunciations. There is no reason that you could not add local pronunciation of names to the GPS database. It will take a fairly large amount of space, but once we start having 100GB solid state memory it won't be a problem.

Welcome back even sven!
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  #7  
Old 06-23-2008, 08:43 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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How do GPS systems pronounce the name of "Houston Street" in Manhattan? The street name long predates the Tennessee/Texas politician, and is properly pronounced "How-ston", not "You-ston".



Who do they do with names like Nunda, NY (Which should be "nun-day") or Chili, NY ("Chie -lie")
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  #8  
Old 06-23-2008, 09:14 AM
Eureka Eureka is offline
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In listening to my parent's GPS, I found that syllables were generally pronounced with emphasis fairly evenly distributed across all the syllables. This was at least as amusing/distracting as pronouncing things with funny vowel sounds.

(And then there was the time it got stuck-- it kept telling us that each new road we were on was U S Thir Tee Six. We knew better.)

But I don't really see that GPS systems pronouncing names funny is likely to strongly influence regionalized pronuciations.
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2008, 10:48 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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There is a Boston area women who has a really cool job but it is probably very tedious. She serves as the voice for the Garmin car GPS units. She there day after day pronouncing list of roads, places, and things. There shouldn't be any reason why she couldn't pronounce Houston several different ways.
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  #10  
Old 06-23-2008, 11:21 AM
silenus silenus is online now
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If we can survive what tourists do to Tujunga, La Cañada, and Sepulveda, we can survive GPS.
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2008, 11:27 AM
Walkabout Walkabout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
There is a Boston area women who has a really cool job but it is probably very tedious. She serves as the voice for the Garmin car GPS units. She there day after day pronouncing list of roads, places, and things. There shouldn't be any reason why she couldn't pronounce Houston several different ways.
I have a Garmin, and it can't seem to pronounce "Maryland". You'd think that woman in Boston could pronounce all the states.
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2008, 11:42 AM
Lanzy Lanzy is offline
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Mine keeps trying to make me say motorway instead of Interstate. Not yet!
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2008, 12:25 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Quote:
There shouldn't be any reason why she couldn't pronounce Houston several different ways.
I don't doubt that she could, if she knew that there are different pronunciations. The question is -- does the company (and any enunciators, or voice-software programmers, or what have you) KNOW the correct pronunciations for each location?
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  #14  
Old 06-23-2008, 02:15 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapioca Dextrin
In Texas, we have certain roads that are designated FM (for Farm to Market). For some reason best known to herself, the nice GPS lady has decided that this is best handled by

"Turn left onto Federated States of Micronesia 973"

More basic than text-to-speech in these devices is the mapping dataset. NAVTEQ is the 800-pound gorilla in this industry, (they are the data behind Mapquest and Google Maps, as well as most GPS navigators) and they really could stand to issue some fixes.

In my area, there's a cross-town road called Willow Pass Road. NAVTEQ often either morphs it to the non-existent "Willow Passage" or the incorrect Willow Way, if your desired address happens to exist on that very short street.

FWIW, I just found that if you go to www.navteq.com, you can enter requests for updates and corrections there.
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  #15  
Old 06-23-2008, 02:55 PM
Stringer Stringer is offline
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Most phonetics in the GPS-device market are produced by Acapela Group (http://www.acapela-group.com.) You should report incorrect pronunciations to your device manufacturer (Garmin, etc.) or to the data provider (NAVTEQ/TeleAtlas.)
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  #16  
Old 06-23-2008, 05:40 PM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by even sven
We recently took a GPS unit to LA, and it had trouble with even the most mundane Spanish-derived street names (think "turn left on cab-brill-oh".)
Cabrillo was Portuguese; therefore cuh-BRILL-oh is correct.

-Troy McClure SF, who's lived within three blocks of Cabrillo St. for ~22 years.
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  #17  
Old 06-23-2008, 06:38 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham
How do GPS systems pronounce the name of "Houston Street" in Manhattan? The street name long predates the Tennessee/Texas politician, and is properly pronounced "How-ston", not "You-ston".
Ok, now I wanna know what they do with Gough Street in San Francisco.
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  #18  
Old 06-23-2008, 07:27 PM
Antonius Block Antonius Block is offline
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[QUOTE=Troy McClure SF]Cabrillo was Portuguese; therefore cuh-BRILL-oh is correct./QUOTE]It's not known for certain whether Cabrillo was Portuguese or Spanish, but
  • Cabrillo is the Spanish-language version (it's Cabrilho in Portuguese), so there's no good reason to pronounce it as if it were a Portuguese name.
  • Neither Cabrillo nor Cabrilho would be pronounced "cuh-BRILL-oh" by a Portuguese speaker.
The street in San Francisco is pronounced "cuh-BRILL-oh" by locals because that's the anglicized form. That doesn't make it any less "authentic" IMHO -- nobody insists on "Los Angeles" or "Mexico" have -g- and -ks- sounds respectively (as opposed to the original Spanish "h") when one is speaking English.

IMHO, just like Houston (NYC) vs Houston (TX), there's nothing wrong with different locales having different pronunciations; hence Cabrillo St in SF is anglicized, while Cabrillo College -- and AFAIK most other entities named after the explorer -- use the Spanish pronunciation.

[Talking of SF streets which GPS systems probably mispronounce, a few blocks North of Cabrillo St there's CleMENT Street.]

Last edited by Antonius Block; 06-23-2008 at 07:28 PM..
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  #19  
Old 06-23-2008, 07:46 PM
Antonius Block Antonius Block is offline
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[Hamsters ate the post above -- don't know how it got through with 0 characters!]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troy McClure SF
Cabrillo was Portuguese; therefore cuh-BRILL-oh is correct.
It's not known for certain whether Cabrillo was Portuguese or Spanish, but
  • Cabrillo is the Spanish spelling (it's Cabrilho in Portuguese), so there's no good reason to pronounce it as if it were a Portuguese name.
  • Neither Cabrillo nor Cabrilho would be pronounced "cuh-BRILL-oh" by a Portuguese speaker.
The street in San Francisco is pronounced "cuh-BRILL-oh" by locals because that's the anglicized form. That doesn't make it any less "authentic" IMHO -- nobody insists on "Los Angeles" or "Mexico" having -g- and -ks- sounds respectively (as opposed to the original Spanish "h") when one is speaking English.

IMHO, just like Houston (NYC) vs Houston (TX), there's nothing wrong with different locales having different pronunciations; hence Cabrillo St in SF is anglicized, while Cabrillo College -- and AFAIK most other entities named after the explorer -- use the Spanish pronunciation.

[Talking of SF streets which GPS systems probably mispronounce, a few blocks North of Cabrillo St there's CleMENT Street.]

Last edited by Antonius Block; 06-23-2008 at 07:47 PM..
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  #20  
Old 06-23-2008, 10:12 PM
Antonius Block Antonius Block is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonius Block
nobody insists on "Los Angeles" or "Mexico" having -g- and -ks- sounds respectively (as opposed to the original Spanish "h") when one is speaking English.
While rearranging the above post to clear it past the voracious hamsters that ate post #18, I ended up inverting the intended meaning.

Of course, what I meant to say was that nobody expects "Los Angeles" or "Mexico" to be pronounced with the Spanish "h" sound when the rest of the sentence is in English.
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