How does the way of making a sound in Japanese as we Japanese affect that of the English pronunciation?

G’day, what’s up mate? Today, I am going to talk about how the way of making a sound in Japanese as we Japanese affects that of the English pronunciation. Many people have already experienced or will experience when they are going abroad to study. Something like when you go to MacDonald’s, and you want to order something, but a young staff says Pardon? or ‘what’s that sorry? And some of you may feel a bit annoyed, right? This has some reasons. Of course, because of such a noisy environment, the staff couldn’t hear you properly. But the main point is not like this. Let’s dive into it.

In particular, our language or Japanese, or even other Asian and European languages as well, tends to pronounce vowels strongly

Although English language should also be sounded vowels fairly strongly, Japanese language tends to elongate vowels a bit longer and be sounded much stronger than English language. It’s a bit difficult to explain clearly, but I reckon Japanese language likes such an elongation of some types of vowels when you’re speaking. In English, only five patterns of vowels should be elongated such as ɜ: α: oʊ: These phonetic symbol : means that you have to elongate. But, many English learners tend to elongate every vowels, or not to do so the vowels that are not supposed to be elongated. That’s why learning all IPA symbols is of paramount importance when it comes to refining English pronunciation.

Japanese language tends not to pronounce many consonants strongly, which has an adverse effect on the supreme importance of making an explosive sound in English

This may depend upon where you’ve grown up and what dialect you speak in Japanese. What do I mean by this? So, as many of you guys have already known or recognised, the Japanese in this respect means a bit strong dialect such as Kansai, Hiroshima ones. The majority of the people residing in these areas tend to pronounce consonants much stronger than the Tokyo’s standardised Japanese like a Japanese language text for non-native Japanese learners, I suppose. Of course, in recent years, heaps of Japanese dialect learning textbooks have been available in bookshops. Anyway, my point is that English’s explosive sound, one of the core phonetic characterisations, is critically important to English learners coming mainly from Tokyo’s standardised Japanese language background.

When you are speaking Japanese, not many people can notice any connected speech due to the nature of the Japanese language speaking mechanics itself

English, by contrast, has to follow some speech rules or mechanics such as connected speech. If you want to know the details of this mechanics, please read my previous blogs. Anyway, the thing is, because of such complexities of heaps of subtle phonetic connection and alteration in English, many Japanese English learners tend to struggle to manage this. And, obviously, some of them don’t accurately understand the relationship between vowels and consonants including monophthongs and diphthongs.

If you have any pronunciation problem or other English-related things, please feel free to contact me via email or leaving comments here. Although I’m not a native speaker of English, I’m pretty much confident about finding your problems and correcting all of them if you wish.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!

Have a great day!

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

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