https://www.duolingo.com/Junesun

AMA with the Esperanto voice, Francis Soghomonian

Junesun
  • 14
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3

To start our Esperanto AMA (Ask Me Anything) series, we have Francis Soghomonian with us now, better known as the voice of Duolingo's Esperanto course! Here you can learn more about him:

Biografio en Esperanto

Mi estas armenido, kiu naskiĝis en Parizo en 1962 kaj mi ankoraŭ loĝas tie. Mi eklernis Esperanton okaze de ĝia centjariĝo en 1987. Mi estis dungita de agentejo por la registrado en profesia studio de la sondosieroj de la Esperanto-kurso de Duolingo. Tiun profesian studion mi ankaŭ uzas por registri miajn kantojn, ĉu originalajn verkojn ĉu alilingvajn adaptojn, kiujn mi proponas al profesiaj artistoj. Mi mem emas kanti miajn kreaĵojn, precipe franc-lingvajn kaj internaci-lingvajn. Mi pretas respondi demandojn en Esperanto, la franca aŭ la angla.

Biography in English

I am of Armenian heritage, but was born in Paris in 1962 where I still live. I started learning Esperanto due to its 100-year anniversary in 1987. I was hired by an agency to record the sound files for Duolingo's Esperanto course in a professional studio. I also use that studio to record my songs, both original and adaptations in other languages, which I propose to professional artists. I personally like to sing my own creations, especially in French and Esperanto. I am ready to answer questions in Esperanto, French or English.

Note: All first-level messages must be questions, otherwise they will be deleted. The AMA starts at 21:00 Paris (15:00 New York), but you can go ahead and write your question now. Enjoy!

You can see the last AMA with Duolingo's Esperanto team here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9121337

3 years ago

36 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

AMA has now come to an end : thank you for all your questions ! Feel free to message me in private if you forgot to ask me something. It was an honour for me to become the Duolingo Esperanto voice and I hope it'll always help you in your learning process... Vivu la Internacia Lingvo Esperanto !

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Junesun
Junesun
  • 14
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 3

Thank you for answering our questions!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PabloLeon5

Saluton, Francis! Vi sukcesis plenumi tion, kio estas mia revo: profesie labori per Esperanto. Gratulon!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Dankon, PabloLeon5 ! La unua surprizito estis mi :-) Sed tio ne estis mia unua sperto gajni monon per Esperanto ;-) Vi malkovros tion en mia LinkedIn-profilo...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vanege
Vanege
  • 16
  • 13
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Saluton! Kion vi faris por havi (preskaŭ) neniun akĉenton kiam vi parolas en Esperanto?

Modifita: Dankon pro la respondo!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Mi ne scias kiun akĉenton mi havas parolante Esperanton, sed oni ofte diras al mi ke mi almenaŭ ne havas la francan. Eble la armenan. Sed pri tio mi dubas, ĉar ĝi estas nur mia geava lingvo ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaPingvino
LaPingvino
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 2

Kiom longe vi lernis Esperanton ĝis via nuna nivelo?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Verdire, mi neniam kalkulis, ĉar mi lernis la lingvon sen ies helpo, je mia propra ritmo, sed mi memoras ke kiam mi partoprenis mian unuan Esperanto-aranĝon (IJK Krakovo 1987), mi jam sufiĉe bone parolis post kiam mi eklernis ĝin printempe.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ReVelArmy

Finally I get to know that voice! Seems interesting..

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Thank you. Feel free to ask a question ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ReVelArmy

What is your motivation and what other languages are interesting to you? I know, this sounds so generic!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

My motivation to learn Esperanto was purely linguistic at the beginning but I progressively appreciated the philosophical essence of this outstanding language. I'm interested by many languages (of different families) but I sometimes feel ashamed not to speak fluently Armenian, the language of my 4 grandparents, so I'd be happy to have it on Duolingo someday :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaPingvino
LaPingvino
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 2

Est-ce que vous ameriez contribuir pour une version de Duolingo Français-Espéranto?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Je ne sais pas si je suis le plus qualifié pour contribuer à une version francophone de Duolingo Espéranto mais l'idée est séduisante. Malheureusement, je ne pense pas avoir le temps pour ça.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaPingvino
LaPingvino
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 2

Kiel vi tiom bone lernis kanti kaj traduki kantojn?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Mi ĉiam ŝatis kanti kaj skribi kanzontekstojn, eĉ antaŭ ol malkovri Esperanton. Mi ne vere lernis kaj plu konsideras min kiel amatora ;-) Mi tamen dankas pro la komplimento :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaPingvino
LaPingvino
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 2

Estas ankaŭ unu el miaj hobioj, do mi komprenas pli-malpli ;) sed tamen ĉiam estas interese aŭdi kiel tio iris :).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Adapti kantojn alilingven multe pli malfacilas ol simple traduki ilin sed mi trovas tiun defion tre interesa!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LaPingvino
LaPingvino
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 2

Kiujn frazojn vi plej ŝatis voĉigi por Duolingo? Kaj kiuj plej komplikis por vi?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Mi ne memoras precize kiujn sed por respondi ambaŭ demandojn samtempe : ĝenerale la plej longajn, kvankam mi ofte devis registri ilin plurfoje :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/airelibre
airelibre
  • 25
  • 23
  • 22
  • 22
  • 21
  • 15
  • 13
  • 7

Since Esperanto is an international language, there cannot be a native accent. One can pronounce all the phonemes correctly, but there will still be differences in rhythm and intonation depending on the origin of the speaker. I'd like to hear your thoughts about this. Do you believe the voice will have a "Parisian twang", and is there any possible solution to this issue?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Thank you for this very interesting question. I'm not sure I can answer it though. I suppose that as a native of Paris, I'll never be able to avoid some "Parisian twang" but I've always tried to diminish it when speaking Esperanto, because I think that the French accent isn't adapted to the stress on the penultimate syllable in Esperanto.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vortarulo
Vortarulo
  • 13
  • 13
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7

I read this conversation only now. Oops. As a linguist I'm very interested in different accents, also in Esperanto, and I have a fine ear for phonetic differences. Before we knew who the voice of Duolingo Esperanto was, I tried to make some guesses as to where the voice might be from. My guess was Polish or perhaps Croatian. I could hear absolutely no hint of an accent whatsoever. So I don't think I hear any "Parisian twang". :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/airelibre
airelibre
  • 25
  • 23
  • 22
  • 22
  • 21
  • 15
  • 13
  • 7

That's good. I haven't looked at the course and I have too much on my plate to start it. Could you tell me whether the "r"s are alveolar taps or uvular fricatives/trills? Is there an official guide for the phonetics of Esperanto which might say, "r"s should be alveolar taps, for example?

Other than this I would assume that sentence intonation would be fairly variable across native languages and very difficult to legislate for.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rdee1000

Esperanto should be pronounced with an alveolar trill [r] although a tapped r is understood. This is detailed in all the grammar books I've read, however it is often referred to as simply a trilled 'r' or a rolled 'r'. (For example, Helen Fryer, an Esperantist who wrote a grammar book published in the early 20th century, advised that the 'r' "...must be well rolled".

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/8177/8177-h/8177-h.htm

Incidentally, it is often said that L. L. Zamenhof, the creator of the language, suggested Italian as a model for Esperanto's pronunciation but I haven't found the source for that yet and it's not listed on Wiki either. Nonetheless, the Wikipedia page below has an overview of Esperanto pronunciation which may help you.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto_phonology#Orthography_and_pronunciation

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/airelibre
airelibre
  • 25
  • 23
  • 22
  • 22
  • 21
  • 15
  • 13
  • 7

Hmm, seems a bit prohibitive for a "universal" language to have a trilled 'r' as default. A tapped 'r' is fairly easy for anybody, but for someone that speaks a language without trilled 'r', it is very difficult to learn to pronounce effortlessly.

Thanks for the info!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zaragorti

In my (admittedly limited) experience of Esperanto, I have never heard the letter 'r' rolled or as an uvular fricative/trill. It's always an alveolar tap. Then again, an important axiom of Esperanto is that 'neniu estas fremdulo' ('no one is a foreigner') so my understanding is that alternative pronunciations are tolerated.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vortarulo
Vortarulo
  • 13
  • 13
  • 11
  • 11
  • 8
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7

You will hear the uvular fricative/trill variant a lot by German and French speakers. Also by some Danes. I also know a native speaker of Esperanto (from Britain) who surprisingly uses that variant.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LimeGreenTeknii

As long as the phonemes are easily recognizable, there's no problem.

If you think people with wildly different accents can't communicate in the same language, look at the English language! You've got Australian accents, British accents, Northern US accents, Southern US accents, Canadian accents, even Scottish accents!

I think if you're at the point where the thing you are worried about at all isn't your pronunciation, your grammar, or your vocabulary, but actually your accent, then you're worrying over something very small. You're probably only adding 10 or 20 ms to the processing time of the other listener. Just speak clearly, loudly, and slowly enough if you're still unsure.

I like hearing all the different accents. It reminds you how big the world is. It gives people identities. There's no need to 100% completely abandon your national pride/identity just because you're speaking an international language. In fact, I think the cool thing about international things in general is that you get to learn about all the different countries of the world.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

I agree but as far as I'm concerned, my attempt of diminishing my French (or at least Parisian) accent in Esperanto is mainly due to esthetic reasons. It's just a personal taste ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HolomorphicShawn
HolomorphicShawn
  • 18
  • 16
  • 16
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Hi! I have a grammar question:

The word order in Esperanto is flexible and free, which is cool! But when it comes to indirect objects used in a sentence, how flexible is that?

Let me give an example (in English, Spanish, and Esperanto). The direct object is italicized, and the indirect object in --:

English: He gave it -to me- / Spanish: Él -me- lo dio / Esperanto: Li donis -al mi- ĝin

Where the Esperanto sentence is in the style of which I see a lot. But is it possible to match the Esperanto object order like the Spanish word order, as in:

Esperanto: Li al mi ĝin donis

? I ask because I would like to flavor my Esperanto to closer resemble the Spanish order. Thank you for reading!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Thank you for your question. I'm not a grammarian but I can at least answer it. You definitely can say "Li al mi ĝin donis" in Esperanto, although it'd be more usual to have "Li donis ĝin al mi" according to me.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HolomorphicShawn
HolomorphicShawn
  • 18
  • 16
  • 16
  • 14
  • 10
  • 8
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Thank you for your response!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Good evening to everyone ! First of all, let me remind you that English isn't my mother tongue, so please don't be surprised if any of my sentences turns out to be weird ;-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Brian_Batch

You did a great job. Thank you.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsoghomonian

Thank you very much, Brian_Batch !

3 years ago
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.