Tag Archives: intonation

Worries about learning Japanese in the beginning stages

87BTeo.md.pngI was going to write about some worries I had about Japanese during my initial learning just in case this gets wiped from my memory.

most of my issues I was worried about with Japanese was stuff that’s not also present in Korean such as long-short vowels and intonation.  Well yes Korean has intonation too but it’s not as big a deal in Korean because Japanese is more reliant on it with the lack of consonant sounds etc.

I honestly pondered in the beginning how do the Japanese people not trip up when they talk fast and uninhibited with all damn long-short vowels そう じゅう しゅう だいいち おねがいいたします

徒労 灯籠 とろう とうろう
粗相 そそう= this means to crap your pants etc
 87B18m.md.pngwhich do not exist in Korean. The stressed syllables was one thing but having to hold a vowel for 2x longer etc was MIND-BOGGLING.  I remember when I was reading Japanese or trying to output Japanese when I was talking with myself I was very deliberate in my pronunciation of the long/short vowels and also with particles with wo which was unnatural but couldn’t be helped. I’m like I spent 0.3 seconds saying this so if the long vowel means you hold it out longer then I should hold this for 0.6 seconds lol… so there would be all this unnecessary stressing in the talking/reading because this was a challenge.  of course I would be SUPER LIVID when I watched a Japanese talk/variety show and somebody said something I didn’t understand and I wanted to look it up and there was a possibility that it was a long or short vowel or there was a possibly there’s a stress with the small tsu and sometimes i’d have to type out various possibilities and figured out what was said ( of course there’s homophones so typing out the variations is half the battle).  ALSO there’s words like DAIICHI or KEII where it’s the LONG-VOWEL for i which at the time i would’ve never been able to catch and loook up. oF COURSE if i could go back in time i would say bug the crap out of lang-8 japaese poeple.
87BroP.md.pngThe reason why the long vowels aren’t a big deal is because Japanese has intonation so like a 2 syllable word of long – short will always have the same intonation and the opposite of 2 syllable word of short-long always has a  certain intonation. and 2 syllable word of long long will have a specific intonation etc etc. I’m sure there’s exceptions but for the most part the intonation is a dead giveaway. I went from not even knowing there is intonation to noticing it then being able to copy it from hearing Japanese so much.  my advice to japanese beginners is to listen to alot of japanese because what will happen is you will remember the word 87BRQi.md.pngpronunciation with the intonation which becomes effortless after a certain point and i don’t go oh shit is it short vowel or long vowel. it’ s really obvious from the intonation whether that word is short and long or short short etc etc. In fact I think it’s incredibly DIFFICULT to speak Japanese and pronounce the short/long vowels with the opposite intonation while dragging the sound for the correct duration because it just goes against all the japanese input.  Kpop stars usually suck at japanese so their intonation is always wrong so it’s grating and sometimes they speak japanese with the polite korean intonation which sounds REALLY ARROGANT and unpleasant in Japanese. Also they suck at the long/short vowels so shoujojidai usually call themselves shojo jidai which means virgin generation…. probably everyone except sooyoung!
from all my previous entries about learning japaese and getting used to it this is also something you will get used to and not worth worrying about. nowadays when i read or speak japanese with myself I don’t think twice about whether it’s a long or short vowel… it just comes out correct with the correct intonation. it’s effortless and automatic.
87BEy9.md.jpgas far as intonation is concerned i wasn’t aware of its existence and ignored it. when somebody brought up the diff in intonation between hashi and hashi i honestly can’t hear nor mimic the difference lol. I still cannot do it now actually lol. I probably pronoumce hashi with the wrong intonation. I”m fine with pronouncing japanese with correct intonation for the most part but isolated words like hashi is just like… goes over my head. But obviously context will fill in the gap and HONESTLY not everyone in japanese uses the same intonation for hashi since there’s kansai-ben etc
Knowing korean provides advantages for learning Japanese but they are still different languages. Think of SPanish and english yes they’re similar and whatnot but they’re STILL different languages and you gotta put the time in and get used to the spanish or the english.


Okay so I love SISTAR’s new song just because it’s not as noisy/engrish as their previous songs. As much I loved hyorin in immortal song I could not become a fan of sistar because I couldn’t like any of the songs. but now i hvae one!

So I first watched the music video then i watched the live performance and with that i finally found out what hyorin was singing over and over again. she’s saying i’m falling down. but instead of emphasizing the fa part she emphasizes the ll part. I think there’s nothing wrong with that it’s just we usually emphasize the fa part in talking and singing. It’s interesting how she emphasizes the ll part.. I don’t know if it’s on purpose or because she doesn’t speak english but either way i like it. she’s singing so she can emphasize whatever part and all plus I do like how she sings it like that except when i didn’t have the lyrics I could not tell what she was singing.  I couldn’t even tell if it was english or korean though. lol.

HYUNA AND SDN48’s serina! 芹那

hyuna reminds me of serina from sdn48 with her voice/way she talks. maybe it’s not that similar but for some reason it remindss me of serina. maybe it’s because the way hyuna talks reminds me of the way japanese girls talk (not all japanese girls talk like that… but you know what i mean right)

here’s a yt search for serina if you don’t know her.


but obviously the way serina talks is really extreme… it’s like equivalent to a 6 year old even though she’s like 26.  I wish she would talk with her natural voice.

you can hear her natural voice at the beginning of this video


OR MAYBE it’s only because hyuna’s voice is cutesy??

OMG THIS VIDEO TOTALLY PROVES that my intuition is correct. there’s definitely something with hyuna


her voice is the least grating (everyone but hyuna sound so grating since they’re speaking Japanese with their korena voice and although hyuna is talking with her korena voice her.. her voice is different so.. it’s like an exception) out of all the members in Japanese… despite her accent. her cutesy talking matches Japanese? I wonder if that means her actual voice is deeper than the one she actually uses? since that’s what serina is doing.

If anyone else feels the way i do and would like to contribute and provide me some clarity please do.

OH AND I didn’t know what 4 minute is till recently just because i don’t care about kpop. but anyways they were being interviewed on arirang tv so they just interviewed in korean and they subbed it in english. I noticed this one girl’s voice was interesting and i was like oh it reminds me of something.. who is that? and then i realized it was serina. Then i found out that member is hyuna.  I only saw their arirang interview because I saw ailee’s arirang interview which i only saw because she went on immortal song and then i found out she’s fluent in english since she’s from new jersey.

吉高由里子 장재인 another link

THE OTHER inter-country stars between Korean and japan that are reminiscent of each other is yoshitaka yuriko and jang jane. I SWEAR if jane jane spoke japanese she would sound like yy and IF yoshitaka yuriko spoke korean she’d like JJ. woww both of them have such interesting initials.  i wonder what yoshitaka yuriko’s singing voice is like? They look sorta similar toooooooo

ONE LAST THIGN IS this korean reality tv show person who looks like tanaka..the annoying/ugly/creepy one in アンガールズ


btw this korean tv show is boring so i don’t recommend it but anyways this discovery is just wow…

click for my short lang-8 entry in japanese regarding this discovery

copy-psating my tumble entry

탑밴드2] 데이브레이크 범퍼카..120623

omg I’m so impressed with dcaybreak. i swear i never paid attention to them in the past but i’ve really taken note of them… with their most recent album release and performances of the tracks on the 3rd album on youtube…


this is such a great performance… I love the part where it gets all slow  and drawn-out @2:58 like he’s trying to talk slow …. (isn’t it like usually  bands/singers get louder or faster or whatever during the climax or the change in tempo or whatever in the middle of the song yet they did the exact opposite yet it was climatic in every sense of that word ) . and the piano is awesome 🙂

the lead singer looks so adorable with his movements when he’s singing the drawn-out and slow part. this stuff is infectious !

the lead singer reminds me of another singer. im gonna say that is karasu’s lead singer for some reason. this band and karasu’s style is really different. but for some reason reminds me of the lead singer of karasu.. i mean i’ve yet to hear a karasu song a uppity/happy as this daybreak song and so the respective bands have different styles but i still go omg he reminds me of ___.. some of the parts when he changes the way he sings reminds me of the lead singer of karasu ESPECIALLY THE part where they slow down.

here’s a link to a karasu song if you’re curious


just in general i love the lead siger of karasu’s 鴉 voice…. b/c there’s lots of people in japaense music industry who cannot sing or sing off-key on purpose…(for reals) though i try my best to find people worthy of my time/ears and of course karasu is one of those artists. and his voice is very unique and i love it.. it has a nice feel to it like the vulnerable feel when that characteristic is required in the song.  even with the screaming i lvoe it or rather becuase he’s screaming the parts i really feel it.

Intonation && Japanese

I don’t know if it’s like a property/trait of people or what but some people don’t obtain the Japanese intonation even though they’ve been exposed to it so long. Is it because they weren’t hardcore enough with the Japanese exposure or used the mother tongue language ie english too much while learning the Japanese or are they too old to get it? (I only say the last one because the whole thing with trying to talk without an accent is harder if you’ve only spoken language x for let’s say the last 40 yrs of your life… just b.c. of your mouth muscle/movements that you’ve been doing and the ones that are requried language y. but then again does intonation even have to do anything with this anyway? I don’t think it does). basically, when you speak without correct intonation it just killls everything… like if you had to read an emotional letter it wouldn’t be emotional at all. it would just kill it.

I really would like to know the reason as to why some people just don’t obtain it…….

Basically for me, at first, for a long time ago I couldn’t really tell the intonation differences, at least not enough to copy it. Like, in the beginning, if you had me listen to kansai vs. hyoujungo I wouldn’t relaly be able to tell the differences in intonation but I would be able to tell that they’re saying stuff differently ie.  hidonai vs. hidokunai . donai vs. douka. Japanese is not as simple as just reading romaji without the stresses in english, you still need the correct intonation.  Speaking like a robot it helpful, but eventually you gots to get to know the intonation.

After a while, I think it was a year or 2 of like hardcore japanese environment – I really noticed  the intonation that people use while they speak and like that’s what sets the gaijin apart from the japanese or the fluent people. though there might be fluent people that speak with wrong intonation (isn’t dave spector considered fluent? or bobby orogan? he knew what shimensoka meant. :D)… which i don’t know how you do cause to get fluent you would’ve listened to mad japanese.  i say hardcore but it wasn’t torutous or anythin. it was completely enjoyable and fun because I discovered the wonder that is Japanese talk variety. one thing they definitely have over the korean talk/variety shows is the sound effects because they don’t get in the way, they’re just right, they’re not overbearing/annoying etc. literally, no matter how low budget the talk/variety show is or how low the ratings may be, the one thing they do have down is the sound effects and all those text over the screen.

Does korean have intonation by the way?  I don’t think they do or if they do, it’s not as important/as strongly used/heavily depended on just because korean has more sounds than Japanese. Cause you know, you watch those kpop people that memorized as much as korean as ppossible to go on those japanese mroning shows and obviously they’re intonation is off since they’re talking like they’re speaking korean. Wait, korean does have intonation for sure because of those weird rural dialects. and SPEAKING of KPOP people, I was proud of IU when she was on that japanese show, trying to speak as much as japanese as possible. she was speaking fairly fast and yes she made mistakes but it wasn’t incomprehensible/gibberish mistakes. there’s literally kpop groups that go on the TV inhttp://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg198/scaled.php?server=198&filename=68248180.jpg&res=medium Japan and one member will literally say the word tanoshiikattadesu or something simplie like that in the most frusstrating way possible. she’s literally struggling to say it with every single syallable in that phrase. ( I never knew pronouncing tanoshii could be that hard but apparently it can be).. It wasn’t a struggle with her memory but her mouth I think lol. i understand it’s hard to pronounce japanese for korean people but sometimes it’s just so bad… I’m just like couldn’t have  practiced saying it (that one phrase…. that’s low standards but still) a little bit more before you came on the japanese tv.

SO I’ve mentioned intonation in preivous posts just because it was definitely one of those really super important realizations in my japanese learning journey.

I just wanted to give one example that struck me as I was watching kuriyama chiaki interviews. I don’t know why, but I like this girl.  I hope she doesn’t disappoint me with her acting skills once I watch something with her in it.

So in some interview she used tondemo nai desu. and even though I’ve never touched a japanese textbook other than tae kim’s guide to grammar if that counts, I’m pretty sure it’s in the textbook that you say this shit if you want to come off humble. what they don’t tell you is that if your intonation is wrong, it sounds like you don’t mean it at all.  I’m sure most japanese people are understanding of foreign pepole for not talking with the right intonation just becaues foreigner person x only started learning japanese ___ months/days/ago or is just visiting etc etc so i’m sure they wouldn’t take it that way. but that is how it comes off.

So anyways when kuriyama chiaki said it, she just said it in such a way that you could tell she really meant it, that she is modest as far as the thing the person complimented her on/or told her is concerned. I don’t remember the exact words. But anyways, just from hearing that, I had favorable impressions, she just seemed very likable. Literally, just from that one phrase.

This reminded me of this vblogger on youtube. her name is sammi or something and I think she said she has N1? is that what the level is. that test those people take to get jobs in japan. Basically, her intonation is just not there… I don’t get why considering she lives there and she doesn’t seem that old and she’s married to a japanese person. Well whatever her reasons, I saw her on a show where the performed enka and they were complimenting her obviously (plus she was actually pretty good and her pronounciation problems aren’t there or aren’t noticeable when she sings.). So here, she pulls the tondemo nai desu CARD obviously b.c. she read it in the textbook (that’s literally how it came off…. omgggggg’s here’s my chance to practice my stiff textbook japanese…. I mean this phrase is perfectly fine and i guess there’s many opportunities to use it cause obviously japanese people praise modesty over bragging. It’s just her japanes is so stiff and has no intonation). and she says in her usual intonation-deaf Japanese “tondemo naidesu” . It just doesn’t have the sincerity that kuriyama chiaki had. just the lack of the correct intonation just gives off a bad vibe, she did not make a good impression on me (I’m a 3rd person, computer screen bystander watcher but). It sounds fake.



I just thought it was interesting how differences in intonation can make such a big difference which made me thought of the japanese word/phrases 雲泥の差

天と地獄の差、 月 と there’s some other phrase where they compare the moon with something if my memory serves me correctly.

OH WAIT UP. they mentioend it on the AKB high school thing:


I too, had a point in my life where I spoke japanese with wrong intonation/ignoring intonation just because I wasn’t used to it that much to the point where I can really hear/notice it. once I noticed it like crazy, I then gained the ability to imitate it and own it so  that japanese people will be amazed at my english pronunciation in contrast to the japanese with intonation . woo hoo. I was also wondering for intonation, if it’s easier for singer’s to notice/get it down?

and in japanese you can either say 抑揚 or intone-shon.

I prefer the former to the latter fOR OBVIOUS reasons.  but like according to japanese tv like 90% of people use intone-shon. lolz.

orz ORZ