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English in Japanese

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RE: English in Japanese

Postby AJBryant » Fri 10.14.2005 1:17 pm

It's München.


I was gonna say "That's what I wrote" -- then I blew the text up to be sure. Yup, I input the wrong diacritic code. Sigh. It was supposed to be umlaut and I hit circumflex. Poo. :p

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RE: English in Japanese

Postby lomagu » Sat 10.15.2005 3:27 am

Actually I was referring more to what ishnar said. I realize that people do have accents and English in different English speaking countries is pronounced differently. It's just that some people have such a strong "accent" that I can't understand what they're saying. Well, actually, I can now because I'm used to katakana English, but when I first came, I had no idea. If my students go to an English speaking country & say words like that, they won't be able to communicate. That's just what I meant.

oh, by the way, I did try saying "zzz" only, but somehow the "u" still gets tacked on the end...:p
Last edited by lomagu on Sat 10.15.2005 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: English in Japanese

Postby InsanityRanch » Sat 10.15.2005 8:56 am

On the question of "izu" --

Japanese syllables are open (end in a vowel), except for 'n'. It is natural for them to stick in extra syllables for terminal consonants (like the z sound at the end of is) and for consonant clusters (so that "grapefruit juice" becomes gureepufurutojuussu or something equally amusing.)

One thing you might try is teaching them that the consonant frequently gets pushed on to the following word. "Is it" is pronounced like "ih zit" for example.

I would say that, beyond the pronunciation of individual phonemes and the difficulty with the extra syllables, one of the problems is that the rhythm of English is fundamentally different from that of Japanese. English moves from stressed word to stressed word, with the intervening syllables crammed in there any old way. Japanese insists on a fairly equal time for each onsetsu, (and in fact, adding a beat is a common way to add stress to a word.)

What I mean is, consider these English sentences:

"The beautiful mountain appeared transfixed in the distance."
"He can come every Saturday as long as he doesn't have to do any homework in the evenings."

If you say them out loud, you'll find they take about the same amount of time to say, even though the second one has almost twice as many syllables as the first. (I am indebted to the site http://esl.about.com/library/weekly/aa110997.htm for these examples.)

The reason they take the same amount of time is that their are five major stresses in each one. We place stresses at equal intervals, almost like beat one in music. Japanese doesn't do this. The syllables between one stress and another are timed so that we arrive at the next stress on time. If there are a lot of them, they are pronounced fast and sometimes smeared.

Believe it or not, working on the rhythm of people's speech can make a big difference in how well they are understood. I like to suggest that people speak along with tapes of native English speakers. Not *repeat afterward* but speak along with.

Stress is also about pitch. I have had Japanese people work on the pitch of particular words and tell me it helped them be understood. For instance, a friend just passed her real estate test and said she isn't understood when she said "seller" -- a pretty important word in real estate! So I had her practice the step down in pitch (sell is a higher pitch than er) and that helped.

Anyway, I'm not an expert in accent reduction by any means, but it is something that keeps coming up and I keep learning from the problems my Japanese friends tell me about.

Oh, and I'm glad to hear the schools are getting away from katakana English!

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RE: English in Japanese

Postby randyrandy » Sat 10.15.2005 10:04 am

They really are getting away from Katakana English!? How will they pronounciation Japanese words then..like 'Maishuu'? Dont tell me the Japanese will flourish!?
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RE: English in Japanese

Postby InsanityRanch » Tue 10.18.2005 7:23 pm

randyrandy wrote:
They really are getting away from Katakana English!? How will they pronounciation Japanese words then..like 'Maishuu'? Dont tell me the Japanese will flourish!?


Huh? blink-blink-blink...
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