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Japanese pronouncing English words


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xuechengfeng

I always thought all along that when a Japanese person was trying to say "Coca-Cola" or "Restaurant" they just didn't learn how to correctly say it, is this because they are just using the katakana usage?

Koka Koora

Resutoran

:conf

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I don't think that is true. Japanese society has traditionally been inward-looking and homogeneous, and likes to keep foreign things separate from the Japanese culture. This is where the 3 sets of written characters come into the picture.

Since Coca-Cola is an American invention, it would make sense to keep that word "foreign-sounding" from a Japanese perspective.

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Indeed it's quite strange to see so many foreign words in Japanese, I'm not talking about マクドナルド (Makudonarudo: McDonald's), インタネット (Intanetto) or even トリートメント (tori-tomento: treatment, it means hair conditioner), but I mean to say テーブル (te-buru: table), スプーン (supu-n, spoon) and even トイレ (torei: toilet).

In many other languages there are import of words, e.g. in Vietnamese there're many Han-Viet vocabs, but most of them are imported very systemically, not like Japanese. I always wonder why they have to import so many foreign words as if they didn't even have a "toilet" in the old times.

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Indeed it's quite strange to see so many foreign words in Japanese, I'm not talking about マクドナルド (Makudonarudo: McDonald's), インタネット (Intanetto) or even トリートメント (tori-tomento: treatment, it means hair conditioner), but I mean to say テーブル (te-buru: table), スプーン (supu-n, spoon) and even トイレ (torei: toilet).

It may be the reason for the success of meiji reform.

Radical change is made to everything, from political system to toliet.

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Many Japanese speak with a strong katakana accent when they speak English.
Maynee Jyapaneezu peeporu supeeki urisu sutorongo katakana akusento uren zay supeeki Engurishee.

even though, there are still people thought they could have spoke normal chinese in ancient time and considered their hanzi pronunciation ancient chinese pron... funny, hah?

plus, in ancient, there were no tape, CD, DVD, TV, radio, and all kind of tools to help correcting pronunciation. geniuses, japanese!

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even though, there are still people thought they could have spoke normal chinese in ancient time and considered their hanzi pronunciation ancient chinese pron... funny, hah?

It's quite true indeed, at least they preserve the 入聲 in Japanese, though in a different form (again, in a very exaggerated form).

e.g. SIX, 六 (ろく: roku)

the "ku" is an exaggerated form of Rusheng, but look at Mandarin, they have none at all.

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It may be the reason for the success of meiji reform.

Radical change is made to everything, from political system to toliet.

Yeah. Except, the Katakana frenzy came with the defeat of WWII. Meiji was responsible for brilliantly generating thousands of Chinese character-based words.

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It's quite true indeed, at least they preserve the 入聲 in Japanese, though in a different form (again, in a very exaggerated form). e.g. SIX, 六 (ろく: roku)

They also took the alveolar lateral flap* (ɺ) of Wu dialects and exaggerated them into an alveolar flap (the Japanese r). In some Kansai dialects of Japanese though, the Wu alveolar lateral flap can still be heard. Prior to then, the Japanese did not have that "r" sound in their native vocabulary.

alveolar lateral flap* = (ɺ) if you pay attention to what sounds kind of like l's in Shanghainese, you will realize it's quite thick and "layered," due to the brief flapping. It's quite different from Mandarin and English l's.

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plus, in ancient, there were no tape, CD, DVD, TV, radio, and all kind of tools to help correcting pronunciation

No record?

Just have a look at this ... Japanese :wink: link:

http://www.human.toyogakuen-u.ac.jp/~acmuller/dicts/dealt/data/52/c5207.htm

切韻 [py] Qiēyùn [wg] ch'ieh-yün [ko] Chŏl'un [ja] gai [Meaning] (1) [txt] Qieyun. A Sui 隋 text, the oldest surviving sound index 韻書. Published in 601 CE by Lù Făyan2 陸法言. Divided all CJK characters into 193 sounds. Much of the work has been lost although pieces have been found at Dūnhuáng 敦煌 this century. Very important source of contemporary Chinese pronunciation. (2) To divide the sounds of CJK characters according to fanqie 反切. 〔夢溪筆談、藝文二〕 [Credit] hhirose
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It's quite true indeed, at least they preserve the 入聲 in Japanese, though in a different form (again, in a very exaggerated form).

e.g. SIX, 六 (ろく: roku)

the "ku" is an exaggerated form of Rusheng, but look at Mandarin, they have none at all.

Pazu, I have never been refusing the入聲 and mandarin lost something or stuff like that, 入聲objectively existed in ancient I m sure, but I just meant sure japanese would kept some characteristics of Chinese, but we could not say their pronunciations are quite Chinese, just think about their English accent then we can get it, can we consider Japanese English is the "real English" accent just because we can find another non English speaking country's accent is similar with their accent? is this hard to accept? :(

No record?

Just have a look at this ... Japanese link:

nnt, yeah, I have mentioned that before, but as you know, fanqie system using the characters you knew to get new character's pronunciation, but what would happen if you pronounced all the characters you knew incorrectly? :wink:

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39DegN:

My remark was not about fanqie, but about 切韻 as a reference book (although lost for most part but still existing in fragments in Dūnhuáng 敦煌) and its list of sounds.

Even if characters pronunciations had evolved since then, and nothing is sure about the old pronunciations reconstitutions, there can be cross references (using old poems for example) and cross-checkings to elaborate theories about old phonetics. After all, scientists have tried to reconstitute the roar of dinosaurs using their fossil remains: why not human languages less distant than dinosaurs'?

Another point: when you learn English, you don't learn it through a phonetic transcription in Chinese characters and mandarin, you learn English directly (I hope :wink: ) from English texts and recordings or real sounds.

I don't think Japanese learn English through katakana either. It's just a lazy (or quick if you prefer) way to borrow words without having to translate English words into Japanese.

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Another point: when you learn English, you don't learn it through a phonetic transcription in Chinese characters and mandarin, you learn English directly (I hope ) from English texts and recordings or real sounds. I don't think Japanese learn English through katakana either. It's just a lazy (or quick if you prefer) way to borrow words without having to translate English words into Japanese.

NNT, indeed I was surprised that you don't know it.

Japanese (or many Japanese) did learn English and many other languages through Katakana. I've seen some English textbook for Japanese secondary students, they have Katakana written as the phonetic guide. Again, there're some "prestigious" and popular English-Japanese dictionary (probably for intermediate learners, published by 三省堂), ignoring the international phonetic system, and put Katakana as replacement.

One day I discussed the language learning process with a Japanese friend, and he honestly believed that Katakana was a perfect (and unique) system to represent all sounds in the world, and claimed it was much easier for them to learn any other languages in the world! But then when I pointed out that Japanese is one of the least phonemic system in the world (one book I read claimed it was the second "least"), and using Katakana as a learning tool would make Japanese spoke with a funny accent, he was upset, as if his 大和魂 (やまとだましい) was hurt by me.

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One day I discussed the language learning process with a Japanese friend, and he honestly believed that Katakana was a perfect (and unique) system to represent all sounds in the world, and claimed it was much easier for them to learn any other languages in the world!

He must be rare. Most Japanese people I know realize that Katakana is very poor in depicting the sounds of the world, afterall it's a syllabary. Mao is マオ or マォ. How to represent pinyin ju? How to represent the retroflex in Mandarin? How about the English word puck? Well, they can't very well.

But a lot of Koreans I've met actually feel that Hangul is the most scientific and can represent all sounds. And I go... waaa?

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But a lot of Koreans I've met actually feel that Hangul is the most scientific and can represent all sounds. And I go... waaa?

Well.. not only Koreans think that Hangul is the most scientific alphabet, John Man of "Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World" said Korean Hangul was the long-waited perfect script.

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After all, scientists have tried to reconstitute the roar of dinosaurs using their fossil remains: why not human languages less distant than dinosaurs'?

A good point, nnt. but do you really know what the dinosaurs look like? I doubt the hollywood's dinosaurs for years! I mean you can get a general image of dinosaurs through their bones, but how can you get the skin's details? It's impossible, man! their imagination based on lizards or stuff, but not real dinosaurs. maybe one day dinosaur relive here we would realize "oh, their skin is as tender as 杨贵妃's, or covered with mucus there." who knows… :wink:

Another point: when you learn English, you don't learn it through a phonetic transcription in Chinese characters and mandarin, you learn English directly (I hope ) from English texts and recordings or real sounds.

I don't think Japanese learn English through katakana either. It's just a lazy (or quick if you prefer) way to borrow words without having to translate English words into Japanese.

Yeah, pazu answered that perfectly already. (sorry i dont know japanese :-? )

in addition, I would say, even though they borrowed words directly, but speaking it is one thing, speaking it well is another. Just imagine without any sound track files and in human touching with Chinese, how could've the million Japanese farmers and common citizen pronounced it perfectly? Don't tell me the language is a noble thing. :conf:mrgreen:

you learn English directly (I hope) from English texts and recordings or real sounds.

No, I le'ende eita siru hanyu pinyin. :wink:

now, we can add another sin of hanyupinyin here, it will caused deadly english accent.

it remind me of those english native speaking teachers have corrected the accents of some students for thousand times, notice, that's not an ABC english class, but the pinyin makes them always pronounce "t" as "te" or add a vowel after any consonant subconsciously, or pronounce "th" as "s", only because they have learnd hanyupinyin (very well).

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in addition, I would say, even though they borrowed words directly, but speaking it is one thing, speaking it well is another. Just imagine without any sound track files and in human touching with Chinese, how could've the million Japanese farmers and common citizen pronounced it perfectly?

Just a remark: in the scholars' time, and moreover in those years 600-900, Chinese characters and wenyan were no matters for "millions Japanese (or Korean or even Chinese/Vietnamese) farmers (they just spoke their respective popular language) " but what was that time's intelligentsia, who could have direct contact with their Chinese counterparts.

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Well.. not only Koreans think that Hangul is the most scientific alphabet, John Man of "Alpha Beta: How 26 Letters Shaped the Western World" said Korean Hangul was the long-waited perfect script.

He's quite a dumbarse then, because Hangul first of all can't represent tones. Second, it doesn't differentiate ji from zi. It doesn't have retroflexes. It doesn't even have genuine voiced distinctions. It's also stacked in syllabic units, which will make it impossible to represent the occassional German string of 4-6 consonants (Kopfschmerzen). It's just as poor as the Latin alphabet in differentiating vowels from diphthongs. Hangul is only "scientific" in that some of the shapes were drawn resembling the shape of the mouth. Like I said before, the IPA is scientific, Hangul is only good for Korean. I can think of 4 pure vowels in Shanghainese that Hangul will have a hell time representing.

There are more than 2000 characters for Hangul syllabic stacks in Unicode. There are 26 Roman letters, plus maybe 200 others with diacritical marks. How is Hangul in its present form the perfect script?

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There are more than 2000 characters for Hangul syllabic stacks in Unicode. There are 26 Roman letters, plus maybe 200 others with diacritical marks. How is Hangul in its present form the perfect script?

This is the problem of unicode mapping, not the script problem. Look at Tibetan script, they have much less "characters" in the unicode map because a software manipulation could help them to put those parts into the correct position. This software hasn't yet evolved (or at least not widely implemented yet) and the Tibetan on unicode page displayed as funny eroded form, but again, this is a software problem.

Dumbarse? Or are you over-reacted? Probably it has something to do with Hanzi again. haha.

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