What's new

Accents?

Johnathan

先輩
25 Apr 2003
113
0
26
I'd say a huge percentage of people who speak one language and learn English still have an accent. But does that apply for Japan too? For all those who speak Japanese who have talked to or heard an American who learned Japanese... did they have an accent? I mean, in Japan, is there such thing as an "American accent"? I REALLY hope not... when I learn Japanese, I don't want to have one.

Well, I have really good Japanese pronunciation. I would say "perfect" if I didn't want to sound like a conceited jerk. And... I know how a lot of Americans mispronounce Japanese words, such as "kamikaze" or "panko" or... blah, I can't think of anymore. A lot of Americans seem to have "ramen" down, but I have heard "rei-men" from time to time. There's even a Japanese-but-born-and-raised-American actor, Gedde Watanabe, who can't even pronounce his own last name correctly.

Anyway... I know I don't have THAT type of accent. But I'm scared that, even with that, and even after a bajillion Japanese classes, and living there for a long time, I'll still have an accent. And not even know it!

Any thoughts?
 
Interesting... I say have perfect Japanese pronounciation also. The only flaws would be what I say wrong gramatically or saying it too slow for all I know. I wonder how would Japanese people think about it.
 
Yes, us foreigners can have an accent. but, if you practise pronunciation well and listen carefully to native speakers you can eventually sound native. Sounds like tsu, ryo, ryu, and double constanants (tt, etc) are pretty difficult for some students.
I know many Japanese who have a perfect English accent (American, English....) after years of study and living abroad.

Learning a language takes humility because we all make many mistakes early on. but, don't give up! Just realise that generally it takes several years to master Japanese perfectly.

Thankfully my accent is ok, I'm told it's like a native speaker. I do think accent is important as well as learning polite grammar. There is too many gaijin in Japan speaking only silly slang in a terrible accent!

but don't worry, sounds like you'll be fine!
 
Yes, foreigners learning Japanese do come away with an accent unless they really, really work at speaking. Accent also implies rhythm and cadence... You can tell where someone is from often by which Japanese sounds they drop (mainly because such sounds do not occur in their own language).

I wouldn't worry about it so much. Accent should be very low on the list of things to worry about. If your accent gets in the way of communicating effectivly, then yes, it is something to work on.

As a side note, accent is an issue of communication. It goes both ways. Say "Let's go to karaoke" pronounced in the proper Japanese way and see how far that gets you with your American friends. Now say it like "kayriokee" with your Japanese friends. Even when I go out with western friends in Japan who speak Japanese, I will say "kayriokee." Now try "ナス窶樞?堙拘an Diego窶堋ゥ窶堙ァ窶藩??堙懌?堋オ窶堋スツ。ツ" and say San Diego like you would in the US. Accent and loan words, it is all about communicating to your audience, and part of what makes language so fun!
 
Certainly there's an American accent. You know how different non-native English speakers sound in English, right? Well you can hear those same accents in Japanese. Personally, I find the native French speakers who speak Japanese the most amusing. ;-)

If you haven't lived in Japan for years and consciously worked it, I'd be really surprised if you didn't have a noticeable accent. (If you want, you can call me -- leave a message on our answering machine and we'll tell you what gives you away as a gaijin; Send me a PM to take me up on the offer. ;). No matter how many times people tell me how pera-pera and natural-sounding I am, I've never presumed to believe that I don't have an accent. (Though I was always tempted take the test -- that is, call up one of those ecchi numbers to see if I could get them to think I was Japanese and send me a girl. :)
 
Originally posted by mdchachi
matter how many times people tell me how pera-pera and natural-sounding I am, I've never presumed to believe that I don't have an accent.

It is a little annoying when Japanese tell me my Japanese is good and I don't need to keep studying - I know for a fact I have a looooong way to go and I shouldn't have implied my Japanese accent is like a native in my last post - not all the time anyway. Although, it was funny that when I rang my Japanese penpal for the first time she thought I had lied about being a NZer and was really Japanese. :p

I wonder what accent I'll end up with having a husband who speaks Kansai-ben , but living in Kagoshima-ken!! woa.... learning two dialects....
 
There is a big difference between speaking properly and perfectly. While you might say the right words in the right order in such a manner that is intelligible to native speakers, it is probably far from perfect (ie being indistinguishable from a native speaker).

Out of all the people in my Japanese classes and all the foreigners I have met in Japan, I have only know of one person whose Japanese was so good that Japanese people would not know he was a foreigner over the phone.
 
Originally posted by Mandylion
Accent should be very low on the list of things to worry about. If your accent gets in the way of communicating effectivly, then yes, it is something to work on.
I only intend to work on a perfect accent AFTER I can perfectly understand and speak Japanese.


Originally posted by Mandylion
Say "Let's go to karaoke" pronounced in the proper Japanese way and see how far that gets you with your American friends. Now say it like "kayriokee" with your Japanese friends. Even when I go out with western friends in Japan who speak Japanese, I will say "kayriokee."
Haha... karaoke. THE MOST mispronounced word on the planet. Well, in America anyway.
(Whose in charge of official English pronunciation? I mean... I could understand if they said "karaoki" or something. But how they heck did they get an ニ辰 noise out of "ra"?)

Originally posted by m477
I have only know of one person whose Japanese was so good that Japanese people would not know he was a foreigner over the phone.
If (s)he can do it, so can I!! I'll work extra-hard.
 
It is a bit funny how people call it "carry-oki."
I would say the Japanese pronounciation of karaoke is the correct pronounciation.
Since in Japanese "kara" means emptiness and "oke" is short for "orchestra" (empty orchestra). Not that "carry-oki" is wrong or anything, but I have my prefs. :)
 
> I only intend to work on a perfect accent AFTER I can perfectly understand and speak Japanese.

Which accent are you going to work on? Hyoujungo (Tokyo dialect) is considered standard. But if you want to end up as a "tarento" on Japanese tv, you're better of speaking something more esoteric like Tohoku-ben.

> I would say the Japanese pronounciation of karaoke is the correct pronounciation.

I should think so! It is a Japanese word, after all. ;)
 
Well I'm certainly not gonna be a TV star. How different are these accents? Is it complete accents, or is one just more use of slang words and such?
 
About as different as Texas is to New York. Different ways of speaking, different intonation and, often, different words.
 
Ah, I understand now. What would be considered normal? Hyoujungo? Like, is there a way of speaking Japanese that could be said isn't an accent at all?

Because I can't imagine a Japanese person learning English in a special accent. "Hey partner, I'm one-o-dem Japanese fellers. I reckon my accent is pretty good, but it ain't no rodeo. I still gots me a long way to go 'fore I'mma speakin' perfect English there. Yeee-haw!"
 
What's really weird is to hear a Japanese person speak english after they had studied in England or some place other than America, it's like they can speak English, but rather than their Japanese accent they have their other accent applied from the country they were studying at, so yeah you'd be looking at them, they are japanese, they sound british and they are speaking English, it's kinda trippy if you ask me.


Josh

 
Originally posted by ghettocities
What's really weird is to hear a Japanese person speak english after they had studied in England or some place other than America, it's like they can speak English, but rather than their Japanese accent they have their other accent applied from the country they were studying at, so yeah you'd be looking at them, they are japanese, they sound british and they are speaking English, it's kinda trippy if you ask me.


Josh

trippy? hehe :giggle:
I taught english to a few japanese exchange students while I was in highschool, it was very difficult to explain why we spoke differently than Americans, and they said that all their friends wanted to know why they pronounced English words funny..I couldn't help it though- I can't teach without using my own accent. Luckily, Irish accents are easier to understand than the English hehe. :)
 
Originally posted by Nanahara
i pronounce some things in an english way....

when I say "town" it sounds like I'm saying "tan" :(

:giggle: hehe. that's cute.

I just think the major difference between English and American accents are the vowels (of course- due to the great vowl shift) But in Ireland, our vowels are a bit different...I'd say the major difference to the American accent is our emphasis on syllables. But, that's just my opinion.
 
Back
Top Bottom