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The "Japanese" accent

30 Mar 2009
Hey everyone, first time long time. I was wondering something...

Do you think there's a "Japanese" accent?

Not Japanese-accented English, but a genuine accent of the English language that originates from Japan. I noticed there's a small but noticeable community of anglophones (mostly halfies and military brats) that were born and raised in Japan or spent almost their entire lives in Japan, but speak English as their first language.

So, I wonder, due to the sounds they hear everyday by Japanese speakers, would it necessarily affect the way they speak English, therefore establishing a kind of "accent"?

Yes and no; the languages we speak and that are spoken around us can have an effect on the way we pronounce things, but I think for the people you've mentioned, their sources for learning English have more to do with their English pronunciation than their exposure to Japanese. Having known several half-Japanese raised in Japan, their English was all pretty close to a perfect North-American accent (in all cases, the non-Japanese side was from North America), and any changes in enunciation or intonation were negligible or barely noticeable. Also worth mentioning is the fact that they mostly either lived in America for a time or went to an international school, where they were exposed to a variety of accents. Because of all this, there is no categorical "Japanese-influenced English accent" that I'm aware of.

It seems much more likely for a second language to affect the way a third language is pronounced (for example, what little Chinese I speak is with a Japanese accent) but for the truly bilingual, there is less noticeable crossover between the languages.
my girlfriend's mum is japanese but her dad is belgian (speaks flemish) and her english is pretty much the same as mine, jus english with a belgian accent here and there, if you would talk to her on the phone you would never guess she's half japanese anyway, but if you see her you wouldn't guess she's half belgian. but i have a few friends whose parents are both japanese and their english is..i guess what you would call engrish, but with a 'dutch' touch on top of that haha. just what you talk mostly when you're at home i guess.
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