Why can't the Jill Carrol hostage video be lipread?

I’ll admit I know nothing about lipreading. I don’t know whether it’s exact, or wildly inaccurate.

But I’m surprised no one has come up with even a proposed transcript for the video. I googled to no avail.

Man, I hope she makes it back :frowning: :mad:

They said she speaks Arabic. Maybe she’s speaking Arabic in the video. How would that be to lipread?

Why would Arabic be any more difficult to lip read than English? Are the phonetics less “visual” on the lips?

I don’t know. That’s why I asked.

Arabic is a “guttural” language, I think that it would be much harder to lip read, if she is speaking Arabic.
I, too, hope she is released unharmed, but I don’t think her life is any more, or less, valuable than any other person involved in this ill concieved war. She is, at least, there as a matter of choice.

Before this wanders into GD territory (is there even a debate?) - of course I hope *all * the hostages get out safely. I can’t even begin to imagine the terror - I’d be crying like a baby non-stop in their position. It’s just that she happens to be in the news right now and a video was released in which she’s speaking but there’s no audio.

Some languages built upon tone differences are virtually impossible to lip read since the tone differences are not readily recognizable when simply viewed. My experiences with these are the languages of the Western Pacific Islands.

That being said, I do not know if Arabic is a tonal language or not since I have not studied it.

Minor but hopefully informative tangent: A while back I asked whether Mandarin Chinese and other tonal languages were harder to lip-read than non-tonal languages like English, and if so, how deaf people in China coped with it. I got a lot of compliments for an interesting question, but no concrete responses. So as far as I’m concerned it’s still an open inquiry.

Arabic is not a tonal language. However, it does include as consonants voiced and unvoiced glottal stops which won’t be “readable” in the manner of labial and dental consonants. The vowels on either side of a glottal consonant will be readable to the extent that they affect position of the lips and tongue.

Of course, this all presumes she was speaking in Arabic in the video; do we have any reason to think this is the case?

No one has claimed that she can’t be lip read. Maybe she can.

Arabic certainly can be lip-read. I remember reading a year or so ago about a software package that was developed to do it mechanically. I’m sure that human beings can manage it better.

On CNN yesterday, they said that the people over at the Christian Science Monitor said that they hadn’t had the tape analysed by a lip-reader. I imagine that this was in direct response to a question from a reporter.

From an Associated Press article by Jim Krane, Jan. 21: