Lip-Reading Update

It was some five months ago that I announced in this forum the inception of my formal lip-reading training, namely using the Read My Lips! DVD series. Halfway through the series now, I'm back for a progress report.

First, I have been successful in at least one respect: I have managed to consistently work at it a bit each day. This counts as at least a partial victory for any kind of resolution. In comparison to other self-improvement projects (such as going to the gym), this one does not require a lot of energy--so it's not that hard to sit at the end of the day and watch people's lips move for twenty minutes or so.

Here's a sample of what the series is like. This is in fact the very first few seconds of the first video, complete with what I have come to think of as the lip-reading national anthem:

It definitely gets harder as you go along. Some of the sentences are hard to understand because they are things you never hear in real life. For example, "June is busting out all over." Honestly--who says that? On the other hand, a later lesson has "That rhinoceros reminds me of your mother" (I am not kidding). Oddly enough, I frequently hear this in real life.

The series works pretty well, but I have thought of improvements. For example, it is surprisingly difficult to distinguish "eight" and "nine". How about a series of snippets with people saying one or the other at random--or other difficult-to-distinguish phrases. I have noticed that women are distinctly easier to understand then men. I read also that women tend to make better lip-readers. Oh well.

I find some sentences are impenetrable at first try, and others surprisingly clear. When the lip-reading succeeds, its almost as if one can hear the voice (although the DVD's never let you hear anyone's voice at any time). Just like a foreign-language class in school, I don't expect the finish the last DVD and be ready for the real world. I have some thoughts about how to continue from that point, but that problem is still a few months away.

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, here is Ethan Hunt's lip-reading scene from MI-III:

MI-III is fantasy, of course. If you want a real-life equivalent to Ethan Hunt, you might consider Sue Thomas. A highly proficient lip-reader, she worked for the FBI reading what people say in surveillance videos, etc. This is good to know, because in watching my DVDs I sometimes am tempted to think "Nobody could possibly do this." It's good to know others can really succeed at this. What one person can learn, so can another.

I just started reading Thomas's book. Maybe I'll be able to pick up a few pointers. Thomas is Ethan Hunt in real life, minus the explosions and jumping off of buildings. Or maybe those are included--ask me again after I finish the book.


Voland said...

How I can contact to you?
I have several questions about lip reading course "Read my Lips"
Please leave yours email or link to yours facebook profile.

Serge Gorodish said...

Any questions can be posted here.

Voland said...

i'll send it to yours youtube account morvyth later today.
please check out.