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    #1

    Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    Hi, teachers:

    1. According to my grammar book, the punctuation mark "-" is "hyphen". But my TTS (text to speech) software read it as "dash" even if there is only one short "-". Such as:

    His secret ID is SDE-008
    My TTS software, which is actually voice of a real person(not synthetic, and highly intelligent), read it as:

    His secret ID is SDE dash 008.
    2. Many phone numbers(or other numbers) contain 2 or 3 or even 4 of a certain number consecutively. Especially in China, our cell phone numbers are 11 digit. So there're many repetitive numbers. Example: 18911119997.

    In China, to avoid mishearing, we usually read the number this way:

    one three nine, quadruple one, triple nine, seven.
    I wonder how are these multiple numbers read in English countries(USA, UK and Australia, etc.. )

    I find catching up with native speakers reading numbers very demanding.

    Many thanks in advance.:)

    (BTW, I know I did not describe my 2nd question quite clearly. The underlined sentences and phrases sound awkward to me and I assume they are not precise either. But I don't know how to better put it. If convenient, can you teachers tell me how to put it more naturally like a native speaker? Thanks.)
    Last edited by pinbong; 18-Nov-2010 at 15:37.

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    #2

    Re: Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    In the UK, it's usual to use double and treble for repeated (not repetitive) numbers, but not quadruple.

    So I read 1111 as double one, double one, and 11111 as treble one, double one.

    Rover

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    #3

    Re: Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    Thank you, Mr. Rover.

    Can I also read "1111" as "four one(s)" and "11111" as "five one(s)"??--Oh, no, I suddenly realize it might cause misunderstanding. When pronounced unclearly, could be mistaken for "41" and "51", right??

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    Quote Originally Posted by pinbong View Post
    Thank you, Mr. Rover.

    Can I also read "1111" as "four one(s)" and "11111" as "five one(s)"??--Oh, no, I suddenly realize it might cause misunderstanding. When pronounced unclearly, could be mistaken for "41" and "51", right??
    Yes, you will be misunderstood if you say 5 1s for 11111.
    In AusE we use 'triple', not 'treble'.

    1. According to my grammar book, the punctuation mark "-" is "hyphen". But my TTS (text to speech) software read it as "dash" even if there is only one short "-".
    The only variant available on a US101 keyboard is '-'. That is technically a hyphen, but it's often used as a dash which is longer.
    - hyphen
    – dash
    A hyphen used as a dash should be spoken as "dash".
    Does your TTS software read hyphens functioning as hyphens as 'dash'?
    Last edited by Raymott; 18-Nov-2010 at 13:56.

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    #5

    Re: Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    The only variant available on a US101 keyboard in '-'. That is technically a hyphen, but it's often used as a dash which is longer.
    - hyphen
    – dash
    A hyphen used as a dash should be spoken as "dash".
    Does your TTS software read hyphens functioning as hyphens as 'dash'?
    Thank you, Mr. Raymott. I think my TTS speakers are not able to tell which "-"s function as hyphen and which ones as dash. They read all "-"s as "dash", regardless of their lengths.

    More importantly, I myself am unable to tell apart hyphens and dashs. In my mother tongue Chinese, dash and hyphen are very different. For one, dash is way longer than hyphen; for another, Chinese dash consists of two short horizontal lines, not one. Just like this: "——" (I'm not sure if you can see the Chinese dash I typed. If you can, you can see that each of the two lines is longer than a single hyphen)

    Plus, in internet age there're actually two types of hyphen: the "middle" hyphen, as in "to-be.txt"; and the "low at the bottom" hyphen, as in "to_be.txt". Do English speakers read them differently?? In China, some people do. (Not all though)

    Chinese punctuation marks and English ones are similar. But there are some subtle differences. Since I've asked too many questions today, I better ask it some other day.

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    #6

    Re: Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    jane_smith would be jane underscore smith
    jane-smith would be jane hyphen smith
    jane—smith would be jane em-dash smith
    jand–smith would be jane en-dash smith

    Most people have no idea about the difference between an em-dash and and en-dash, but any style guide will set them straight.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    Quote Originally Posted by pinbong View Post
    Thank you, Mr. Raymott. I think my TTS speakers are not able to tell which "-"s function as hyphen and which ones as dash. They read all "-"s as "dash", regardless of their lengths.

    Yes, it would be difficult for such a program to differentiate them.

    More importantly, I myself am unable to tell apart hyphens and dashs. In my mother tongue Chinese, dash and hyphen are very different. For one, dash is way longer than hyphen; for another, Chinese dash consists of two short horizontal lines, not one. Just like this: "——" (I'm not sure if you can see the Chinese dash I typed. If you can, you can see that each of the two lines is longer than a single hyphen)

    Plus, in internet age there're actually two types of hyphen: the "middle" hyphen, as in "to-be.txt"; and the "low at the bottom" hyphen, as in "to_be.txt". Do English speakers read them differently?? In China, some people do. (Not all though)

    Chinese punctuation marks and English ones are similar. But there are some subtle differences. Since I've asked too many questions today, I better ask it some other day.
    As Barb says, an underscore _ is definitely not a hyphen. You won't be understood in English if you call _ a hyphen. (I hope your TTS software knows at least this much.)

    Briefly, to answer the question you didn't ask, dashes are used between different words for various reasons - usually to set off a phrase, as here - and hyphens join words, as in: baby-sitter, China-US relations, etc.
    In the days of typewriters -- I still remember them -- dashes were often double hyphens, as in this sentence. There has always been disagreement about whether a space should be left between the words and a dash. I use a space. There is never a space between hyphenated words and the hyphen.

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    #8

    Re: Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    Thanks to you both, Ms. Barb_D and Mr. Raymott.

    I never knew there were so many sorts of dashes. Just wikied about "dash" and was shocked by the entry's length and depth. Sincere thanks, now I at least have a rough and vague idea of which ones are dashes and which are hyphens.

    According to the wiki entry, my TTS software was right. the "-" between digits is actually a "figure dash", not a hyphen. They are of same length. But two different things.

    Mr. Raymott, quoted below are most commonly—seen hyphens and dashes in China. As I said, Chinese dash is similar to your dashes in typewriter days. It consists of two lengthened "hyphens". In our English tests, English dashes are unexceptionally typed as double hyphens. That's why I mistook the "figure dash" as a hyphen. Never knew dashes could also be short and single.

    English hyphen: -
    English dash: --
    Chinese dash: ——
    Sincere thanks.

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    #9

    Re: Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    Quote Originally Posted by pinbong View Post
    Mr. Raymott, quoted below are most commonly—seen (commonly-seen: this really does need a hyphen, as I explained above: you're joining two words to make a compound word) hyphens and dashes in China. As I said, Chinese dash is similar to your dashes in typewriter days. It consists of two lengthened "hyphens". In our English tests, English dashes are unexceptionally typed as double hyphens. That's why I mistook the "figure dash" as a hyphen. Never knew dashes could also be short and single.
    Yes, they can these days. But hyphens can't be long!
    R.

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    #10

    Re: Two Questions about How to read certain punctuation and numbers...

    In one of the weird little quirks of style, it actually doesn't take a hyphen, because adverbs that end in -ly are not joined with a hyphen to whatever comes next.

    So you can have a well-deserved rest, but not a commonly-misspelled word.

    (Not all styles are universal, of course, and this one doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I follow it.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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