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Question Fairly natural, or beginner-ese?

xminus1

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Hello, friends:

I've attached a very short clip of a dialogue from my current Minna lesson. It's from the beginner level of the Minna series.

It takes me a few iterations of listening through before I can identify all the spoken words. Are the speakers in the attached dialogue speaking fairly naturally and at an almost normal conversational pace for natives, or have they...slowed...things...down...for...beginners?

I didn't want to burden listeners here with a long excerpt, but I did want to include this particular part of the dialogue, because I like what sounds to me like the speaker's smooth, fluid speaking style. He's a regular Minna voice actor, and he always sounds "smooth". But of course I want to emphasize that as a total neophyte, I have no idea what I'm talking about. I hope you have enough audio to make an assessment.
 

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  • Minna Dialogue Clip.zip
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Toritoribe

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The first person was speaking a bit fast, especially at the beginning of the excerpt, but those paces are possible in daily conversations.
 

xminus1

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Thanks, Toritoribe-san. You've satisfied my curiosity. The first speaker, (smooth-talker-san), is the fastest talker of all the Minna voice actors, and as I mentioned I have to listen a few times before I can understand everything he's saying. (In this excerpt, I kept thinking he was saying ニューヨーク not 入学 :ROFLMAO:...It's good to know that even you think he's a bit fast.
 

nice gaijin

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he's a little fast, but I've definitely overheard conversations at that speed between native speakers. The thing that usually trips up non-native speakers is that we get tripped up on words we don't catch or don't know, and then we miss other parts of the sentence. When native speakers are talking to me, they'll usually slow down at least a little bit, even subconsciously. It's still good practice to listen at full speed (or even a little faster) to get used to the pace.
 

xminus1

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The thing that usually trips up non-native speakers is that we get tripped up on words we don't catch or don't know, and then we miss other parts of the sentence.

That is certainly my problem. I can't do it yet, but I would like to train myself to not get annoyed when I encounter a word I can't understand and to keep focused on the rest of the sentence as it comes. Unfortunately what I actually do is focus on what I don't understand and miss the rest of what's being said. Now, so far as recorded audio is concerned, that's not a terrible thing to do, but when I eventually try to communicate with a real live speaker, I'll need different listening skills. I won't be able to keep saying もう一度ください to someone and expect infinite patience!

As an aside, I think it's great that Minna is already (i.e. at the beginner stage) using fairly realistic speaking speeds in their audio. I don't know if the other popular learning systems/textbooks do this at such an early stage of study, but I do appreciate that Minna doesn't completely dumb it down. I'm grateful that the Forum has confirmed this point for me. Thanks again!!
 

xminus1

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Good point; thanks! I"m going to give Lexicon Valley a listen....
 

xminus1

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Hi, nahadef...I wanted to thank you again for your excellent recommendation about the the Lexicon Valley podcast on native speaking speeds. I finally got around to listening to it, and as you said, it was fascinating. And they referenced a study that included Japanese too!
 

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Speaking of fast Japanese, from time to time I come across real-world Japanese that is simply too fast for me to process, no matter how many times I listen to it.

A recent example is the guy speaking in the following video, from 1:33. I can manage to catch the first part of what he is saying with repeated listening, but the final part is beyond my ability. There are too many sounds compressed into too short a time, for me.

- Media removed -

I would be curious to know how native Japanese speakers feel listening to a speech at this speed.
 

Kraise

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Speaking of fast Japanese, from time to time I come across real-world Japanese that is simply too fast for me to process, no matter how many times I listen to it.

A recent example is the guy speaking in the following video, from 1:33. I can manage to catch the first part of what he is saying with repeated listening, but the final part is beyond my ability. There are too many sounds compressed into too short a time, for me.

- Media removed -

I would be curious to know how native Japanese speakers feel listening to speech at this speed.

I would like to know that too.

feels like something around the lines of "やれるだけのことやったと思います" but the toomoimasu sounds messed up as if there is a こ sound before it (こう思います)
 

Toritoribe

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Yes, he said so.

え、ちょっと、緊張で、ちょっと至らない部分もあったかと思いますが、はい、でき…、やれるだけのことはやったと思います。

Probably he would try to say できる限り or something by でき…, but stopped it.
 

joadbres

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Even when I am told what he is saying, I still can't hear it.
 

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After reading what he said I had to watch it at least a few times with it in mind to hear it.
 

nahadef

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xminus1

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Another great article...this is apparently a hot topic in linguistics research.

English has ~7000 distinct syllable sounds? That seems crazy. This number must include all the many regional differences of the spoken language. Even so, wow that's a lot of distinct sounds. There should be a study out there explaining why there is such a wide disparity in the number of sounds among languages. English has certainly been affected over the centuries by migrations of peoples and diverse cultural influences; perhaps that is a factor.

At what I'm guessing is the opposite end of the scale, Japanese comes in at 300 distinct sounds. This is also very interesting, because my understanding is that Japanese, as represented in kana, is a language with shallow orthography, meaning roughly that what you read is what you can expect to hear. The syllabary in my Minna textbook, which I think is a fairly standard representation, contains 103 different sounds. But I suppose when you include things like 長音, 促音, 撥音, 鼻濁音, and other sound modifications, the number rises from 103 as represented in Minna's expanded 五十音図.. The number 300 is small enough, however, to be represented efficiently in a table of some sort, and I'm sure some linguistics textbook has done just this.

Getting back to the subject of the speed of the spoken language, this study also seems to confirm the layman's perception that some languages are indeed articulated faster than others. The variable is thought to be the information density of the syllable in a given language. I seem to recall from the podcast you alerted us to previously, nahadef, that Japanese was an outlier of this hypothesis according to (another?) study, but I can't remember precisely.

This is a fascinating subject, isn't it?

Thank you for the link! :geek:
 

xminus1

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As a humorous aside, even within the same spoken language, some distinct regions/cultures perceive others as speaking slower...at least according to The Simpson's...

PS...like Nahadef, I am from Canada...:LOL:
 

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  • They Think I'm Slow, Eh.zip
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Toritoribe

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Another great article...this is apparently a hot topic in linguistics research.

English has ~7000 distinct syllable sounds? That seems crazy. This number must include all the many regional differences of the spoken language. Even so, wow that's a lot of distinct sounds. There should be a study out there explaining why there is such a wide disparity in the number of sounds among languages. English has certainly been affected over the centuries by migrations of peoples and diverse cultural influences; perhaps that is a factor.

At what I'm guessing is the opposite end of the scale, Japanese comes in at 300 distinct sounds. This is also very interesting, because my understanding is that Japanese, as represented in kana, is a language with shallow orthography, meaning roughly that what you read is what you can expect to hear. The syllabary in my Minna textbook, which I think is a fairly standard representation, contains 103 different sounds. But I suppose when you include things like 長音, 促音, 撥音, 鼻濁音, and other sound modifications, the number rises from 103 as represented in Minna's expanded 五十音図.. The number 300 is small enough, however, to be represented efficiently in a table of some sort, and I'm sure some linguistics textbook has done just this.

Getting back to the subject of the speed of the spoken language, this study also seems to confirm the layman's perception that some languages are indeed articulated faster than others. The variable is thought to be the information density of the syllable in a given language. I seem to recall from the podcast you alerted us to previously, nahadef, that Japanese was an outlier of this hypothesis according to (another?) study, but I can't remember precisely.

This is a fascinating subject, isn't it?

Thank you for the link! :geek:
That reminds me of a popular manga/anime/movie ちはやふる whose story is about a game 競技かるた. In this game, the reader reads out the first half of one of the 100 Japanese poems 百人一首, and players immediately touch the corresponding card the last half of the poem is written on. One of the two players who touches the correct card first can take the card.

Some reader's cards (読み札) start with the same syllable, for instance うかりける and うらみわび. Players usually can judge what the correct card is by listening the second syllable か or ら, but the protagonist of the story can differentiate these two cards when the first syllable う is read because she has special ears that can distinguish the two う as different sounds.

In fact, some real players of the game say that these う are different. There would be so many sounds for them in Japanese language than the ones we can hear.
 
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