Another experiment – related to phonetics and language – was to ask some of my friends (from various nationalities; none being able to speak Portuguese) to read the same poem used in my ‘Google Translate Whispers’ experiment. I would then attempt to re-write the poem in the way they read it.
This was an interesting experiment as each person read the exact same combination of letters in very different ways. It was particularly interesting to hear how they read sounds which were unfamiliar to them and common in the poem, such as ‘ão’, ‘nh’, ‘lh’, and ‘ç’.
It is clear in this experiment how letters are merely images associated with sounds. Even though we recognise the images, we may not understand the way they are positioned and ordered and, therefore, making it impossible for us to understand the message they contain.
Everyone in this experiment knew the images well and, for that reason, it was relatively easy for them to pronounciate the sounds. However, some combinations of letters – the order of the images – were unfamiliar to them and so they could not find the correct pronunciation.
These are quick transcriptions of the recordings. I was trying to write exactly what I was listening to.