Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

NO SPAM ALLOWED! Discuss stuff not related to Japan or Japanese. The rules are the same in this forum as in the other forums.

What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby phreadom » Wed 12.16.2009 2:24 am

I remember discussing this question awhile back, but I don't remember anyone coming up with any good examples, so... I present some examples! :D (Not my video of course, just found it today.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C5EZmyJ9ik

Check out some of the video responses for some English etc.

http://bakadesuyo.com/what-english-soun ... foreigners

Is where I originally found the links (after finding that on Reddit). ;)
猿も木から落ちる
User avatar
phreadom
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1761
Joined: Sun 01.29.2006 8:43 pm
Location: Michigan, USA
Native language: U.S. English (米語)
Gender: Male

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby furrykef » Wed 12.16.2009 3:38 am

phreadom wrote:http://bakadesuyo.com/what-english-sounds-like-to-foreigners


I think that's actually a surprisingly good characterization of it, even if it's gibberish.
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby Infidel » Wed 12.16.2009 3:55 am

That italian song definitely had the cadence of English spot on, to the point where my brain refused to stop attempting to make sense of it. But the first video was just some guy faking accents with gibberish, so I wasn't impressed.

What I'm interested in is what feelings you get when you hear different languages. French literally gives me the shivers when I hear it. It has that slippery tongue feeling, like whatever they are saying is a lie, and if you can't see both of their hands, then the other hand is probably holding a knife. It gives me the feeling that the speaker is just waiting for an opportunity to catch me off guard and drag me kicking and screaming to the nearest guillotine. German always sounds angry. They could be singing a love sonnet and it still sounds full of hate and vitriol. Chinese always sounds slurred, I want to tell them to stop talking with their mouths full. And of course I study Japanese because I literally love the way it sounds. Some women speak so beautifully I just want to close my eyes and let the world fade away as I listen to the way she speaks, even as I totally ignore whatever she is actually saying.

As for English. I spent a longer period of my childhood not having a clue what people were saying because my brain was trying to make sense of the tones and cadence, not the syllables. It's part of the reason I can listen to a song for decades and have no clue what they are saying, well, getting back on track, English when I was a kid and had no clue what people were saying, sounded an awful lot like it does when you go to a crowded pool and jump underwater, and swim about 8 feet down and press your ear against the bottom of the pool as long as you can and listen to the people playing around the pool. But I've no clue what emotion English might evoke, does it sound angry like German? I've no idea.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
User avatar
Infidel
 
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 1:12 am
Native language: 英語

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby tōkai devotee » Wed 12.16.2009 5:16 am

phreadom wrote:
Check out some of the video responses for some English etc.

http://bakadesuyo.com/what-english-soun ... foreigners



You really mean, what does American sound like? not What does English sound like to people who don't speak it? :wink:

I often wonder what Aussies sound like to other people. I think we don't have any accent! I think we sound 'normal'
User avatar
tōkai devotee
 
Posts: 1112
Joined: Thu 08.02.2007 6:15 am
Native language: Australian!

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 12.16.2009 5:30 am

tokai devotee wrote:I often wonder what Aussies sound like to other people. I think we don't have any accent! I think we sound 'normal'


Like nails on a chalkboard, mate.
Like nails on a chalkboard.

:lol:

Honestly though, I would say 'Swaggery' and 'Full of Self-confidence and gumption' as the feeling I get from when I hear an Aussie accent. No idea why.
Want to learn Japanese the right way? How about for free?
Ippatsu // Japanesetesting.com
User avatar
Harisenbon
 
Posts: 2964
Joined: Tue 06.14.2005 3:24 am
Location: Gifu, Japan
Native language: (poor) English

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby furrykef » Wed 12.16.2009 7:42 am

Infidel wrote:What I'm interested in is what feelings you get when you hear different languages.


Japanese can be spoken in a wide variety of different ways -- well, I'm sure most languages can, but I'm more familiar with the distinctions in Japanese for obvious reasons -- so the effect it has on me heavily depends on the speaker. For an anime example, Goro Naya voicing Inspector Zenigata in the anime Lupin III has a very harsh voice, whereas Yasuo Yamada as Lupin's voice is smooth as silk. I'd have a hard time collapsing them both into "Japanese accent". The same thing pretty much goes for "real" Japanese voices, too, not just cartoon ones, of course.

And I know it's not quite an accent issue, but many adult Japanese women sound like schoolgirls. It annoys me from time to time, but it really depends on the voice and the context, I guess.

Spanish -- the whole language, not merely the accent -- used to sound "uneducated" to me, I guess due to cultural stereotypes, and partly because Spanish structures mimicked in English ("No speak English!") do sound uneducated. Funny enough I have a pretty good level of Spanish now and this stereotype has, thankfully, largely disappeared from my impression.

My impression of the accent itself is that it sounds "sloppy", especially with the consonants. Spanish phonemes just don't quite match English phonemes at times, especially with the way they're spelled. For example, the Spanish word "helado" is pronounced roughly "eh-lah-tho" (with the "th" in "lather", but softer). Combine this with frequent elision that doesn't occur in the written language (even in colloquial writing) and it's no wonder I still can't understand spoken Spanish unless it's spoken really slowly. ^^;

French reminds me of snobbery. Some French accents sound patently absurd to me, some not so much, but I've yet to hear one I really like. I don't get the impression of untrustworthiness that you mention, though.

German is very variable. It often does sound like shouting, but sometimes it sounds neutral to me and sometimes it sounds comical. Could you take a butterfly seriously if we called it a schmetterling? But if you need to shout at someone, though, there's probably no scarier language to do it in than German.

Italian is just plain beautiful. On my list of beautiful languages, I'd probably put it at #1. It sounds like phonemic poetry to me. Even if that "gli" phoneme is a pain in the ass. :lol:

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby astaroth » Wed 12.16.2009 9:30 am

Infidel wrote:That italian song definitely had the cadence of English spot on, to the point where my brain refused to stop attempting to make sense of it. But the first video was just some guy faking accents with gibberish, so I wasn't impressed.

Was it actual Italian? I didn't understand a single word ...
Anyway ... my comment about that because it's something I heard and saw so many times in the US: for the love of God, if you don't know Italian (language and culture) do not gesticulate! Gesticulation is important for Italians and it does have a meaning: using the wrong one at the wrong moment or with the wrong expression can be read either insulting or vulgar or both.
Also why are all people attempting to speak Italian actually speaking southern dialects or accents?
ー 流光 ー

   花地世
小  見獄の
林  かの中
一  な上は
茶   の 
User avatar
astaroth
 
Posts: 823
Joined: Mon 12.22.2008 5:08 am
Location: Amherst, MA
Native language: Italiano「伊語」

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby furrykef » Wed 12.16.2009 2:56 pm

astaroth wrote:Was it actual Italian? I didn't understand a single word ...


I'm sure it wasn't; it was just shorthand for "The song sung by Italians." We get lazy when we phrase things sometimes. :)
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby Infidel » Wed 12.16.2009 3:25 pm

furrykef wrote:
astaroth wrote:Was it actual Italian? I didn't understand a single word ...


I'm sure it wasn't; it was just shorthand for "The song sung by Italians." We get lazy when we phrase things sometimes. :)


What Furry said.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
User avatar
Infidel
 
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 1:12 am
Native language: 英語

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby astaroth » Wed 12.16.2009 4:05 pm

The guy who produced the video transcribed what he said
Italian:
Della ma groppoforma di papaligia. E fangelli ma trima, costo mosto: agalla mosto. Pi trima, pa trima.

That's definitely not Italian ... :)
ー 流光 ー

   花地世
小  見獄の
林  かの中
一  な上は
茶   の 
User avatar
astaroth
 
Posts: 823
Joined: Mon 12.22.2008 5:08 am
Location: Amherst, MA
Native language: Italiano「伊語」

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby chikara » Wed 12.16.2009 6:41 pm

tokai devotee wrote:.... I often wonder what Aussies sound like to other people. I think we don't have any accent! I think we sound 'normal'

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said to me "I just love your accent" when I lived in the USA. Depending on the situation I would sometimes reply "but I don't have an accent".
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there
User avatar
chikara
 
Posts: 3576
Joined: Tue 07.11.2006 10:48 pm
Location: Australia (SA)
Native language: English (Australian)
Gender: Male

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby astaroth » Wed 12.16.2009 7:08 pm

chikara wrote:
tokai devotee wrote:.... I often wonder what Aussies sound like to other people. I think we don't have any accent! I think we sound 'normal'

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said to me "I just love your accent" when I lived in the USA. Depending on the situation I would sometimes reply "but I don't have an accent".

I think that's the most common, that is one doesn't realize to have an accent until someone tells them so.
I didn't know I have a Milanese accent until I met people not from Milan who told me "I just hate your accent" (that's common ... nobody loves anyone else's accent in Italy and Europe too (?)) :roll:
ー 流光 ー

   花地世
小  見獄の
林  かの中
一  な上は
茶   の 
User avatar
astaroth
 
Posts: 823
Joined: Mon 12.22.2008 5:08 am
Location: Amherst, MA
Native language: Italiano「伊語」

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby mbridge » Wed 12.16.2009 11:04 pm

Sims 3 kinda nailed it with all the Mel Un dooney, Mel Un Clarfush, and Shoo flee (usually followed by a waving of both arms to indicate dire need of food/toilet/shower/comfort/cleanliness/sleep)
User avatar
mbridge
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu 08.20.2009 6:58 pm
Native language: American English

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby IceCream » Thu 12.17.2009 6:27 am

Infidel wrote:As for English. I spent a longer period of my childhood not having a clue what people were saying because my brain was trying to make sense of the tones and cadence, not the syllables.

Thats amazing! I've never heard of that before... is there a name for it? How did you start being able to listen to syllables? Did your parents try making a melody language with you? Do you find the pitch accents in japanese any easier because of it?
Would it make it easier to learn a tonal language dya think, or would the tones interfere more with being able to grasp the words?
User avatar
IceCream
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu 11.05.2009 6:13 pm
Native language: English

Re: What does English sound like to people who don't speak it?

Postby Infidel » Thu 12.17.2009 4:36 pm

IceCream wrote:Thats amazing! I've never heard of that before... is there a name for it?


Probably not. It's not exactly something that you can describe to someone so they can put a name to it. They just wonder why it's taking you so long to speak and eventually, read. My initial forays into the world of speech was to mimic exactly what I heard, but since I was listening to the tones, cadence, and other factors, some person speaking fast, higher pitch, or in any way different than what I was used to registered as a new word, not a variation. Regional accents really throw me off the first few times I hear them. I remember pissing off my boss once because his mother called and I couldn't understand a word she said. So they called me in the back and disciplined me for "pretending" not to understand, after all, THEY had no problem understanding her, so I must be faking it. To be honest, I never did learn to understand her. I just started forwarding all calls to him immediately after I started hearing the same unintelligible gibberish in that same voice.

The same handicap applied when they tried to teach me to read. They gave me a book with simple phrases, "See Jane run." and a piece of paper with a magnetic strip. I was supposed to open the page, try to read, and then run the strip to hear it spoken, then repeat it myself. Naturally, I never made the connection that the sounds I was repeating from the strip were related to the letters written in the book. Instead, I just was going through the set of steps mechanically without understanding why I was doing it. So the teachers kept being amazed that I would do an exercise several times with a book, and then still be unable to read it. So they told my parents I was dyslexic. It was a couple of years later, in third grade, where I finally realized that those squiggly marks represented words and that I wanted to know what they meant. Then I taught myself to read.


How did you start being able to listen to syllables? Did your parents try making a melody language with you?


My parents had no clue what was going on. I parroted EXACTLY what I heard, so I thought all those cutesy ways of saying things were the correct way to say them. I was literally in my twenties before I realized that BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIem (stretch it over exactly three seconds) was BM. I've hundreds of experiences of being embarrassed because I used words learned from my mother thinking they were standard words. So I don't ike it when a parent encourages their children to speak "cute." Then again, maybe normal children don't have the problems I did.

I had to hear many variations of words in context before I connected the dots. This handicap is not specifically about speech, it applies to anything. When I was a kid, I'd run into the backyard, turn around, and be totally lost because the different perspective threw me off. It didn't feel like I was standing in another part of the yard, it felt like I had been teleported miles away. Standing still and crying for help because I was afraid to move and become even more lost is a standard childhood memory for me. Even today, when I'm learning something new, it takes me several iterations before I feel confident that two given instances of something are simply two variations and not two completely unrelated things that only superficially seem similar. This is one reason I hate textbook examples, because they are usually overly simplistic, and often only give one example, so, for example, if in English I learn to parse the subject and verb of a simple sentence. Then, I still have no clue how to parse the subject and verb in a compound, complex, or compound-complex sentence. They are simply too dissimilar for me without extra examples.

Do you find the pitch accents in japanese any easier because of it?
I find the pitch accents help me with the cadence, keeping my double vowels the correct length, especially when the shift is between one mora and the next. But otherwise, not.
Would it make it easier to learn a tonal language dya think, or would the tones interfere more with being able to grasp the words?

I've really no idea. But I've never found a real advantage of thinking this way, other than the learned disinclination of assuming the first or second thought that comes to mind is correct. So at the gross expense of being able to make snap decisions, and trust my own judgment, win verbal arguments, etc.. I end up with a more comprehensive picture of the situation after mulling over a problem for weeks someone else would answer in seconds. Personally, I'd rather think in a more conventional way so that I didn't look like a total idiot so often, either because I stand there like a deer caught in headlight because I know the person I'm arguing against is totally in the wrong but with no idea why they are wrong, so I lose. Or I finally answer the question to myself and repond, only to be told, "Hello! The conversation has already moved on.!" That was so 30 mins ago... etc..
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
User avatar
Infidel
 
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 1:12 am
Native language: 英語

Next

Return to General off topic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests