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Thread: Bad pronuciation make Japanese confuse foreign terms

  1. #26
    Daruma DaMo's Avatar
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    Cool

    At a wedding: And now, we shall throw lice on the heads of the happy couple

    On the phone to the boss: Sir, I've been trying to leech you for days

    To an American in 2004: Wow, your country is having a huge erection this year




    Interestingly, in the anime Last Exile, one of the characters was named Hamilcar Valca, but the last name is pronounced Barca in in Japanese. Therefore, the name becomes Hamilcar Barca, the name of the great Carthagnian king and father of Hannibal. I have a feeling that, like the name of the band GLAY, this was no coincidence.
    To what can our life on earth be likened?
    To a flock of geese,
    alighting on the snow.
    Sometimes leaving a trace of their passage.

    -- Su Shi (1037 - 1101)

  2. #27
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaMo
    To an American in 2004: Wow, your country is having a huge erection this year
    But will Bush survive the erection ?

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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    But will Bush survive the erection ?
    Well, Clinton did alright by it.

  4. #29
    Manga Psychic PaulTB's Avatar
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    Just to even things up a little ...

    私の行ってた大学に来ていた留学生は日本語の覚えが早 く、みんなで感心していました。 る日彼が階段でこけ て「大丈夫か?」って聞いたら、「ジョブ、ジョブ」っ て答えたので、一同「???」。 ちょっと痛かったの で「大丈夫」の「大」を取って、「丈夫、丈夫」って答 えていたみたいです。

    The overseas student who came to the University I went to was fast at memorizing English and everybody was impressed. One day he fell down some stairs and when we asked "You alright?" he replied "rite rite". Everybody went ???.

    It seem that as it was a little painful he'd removed the 'all' of 'alright' and answered "right right".

    How's my translation?
    Last edited by PaulTB; May 10, 2004 at 23:18. Reason: Fine tuning

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulTB
    Just to even things up a little ...

    私の行ってた大学に来ていた留学生は日本語の覚えが早 く、みんなで感心していました。 る日彼が階段でこけ て「大丈夫か?」って聞いたら、「ジョブ、ジョブ」っ て答えたので、一同「???」。 ちょっと痛かったの で「大丈夫」の「大」を取って、「丈夫、丈夫」って答 えていたみたいです。

    The overseas student who came to the University I went to was fast at memorizing English and everybody was impressed. One day he fell down some stairs and when we asked "You alright?" he replied "rite rite". Everybody went ???.

    It seem that as it was a little painful he'd removed the 'all' of 'alright' and answered "right right".

    How's my translation?
    Seems fine, except that it should be "the exchange student who came to my university was fast at memorizing Japanese, not English.

  6. #31
    Manga Psychic PaulTB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn
    Seems fine, except that it should be "the exchange student who came to my university was fast at memorizing Japanese, not English.
    That's deliberate. I translated the joke not the passage. As such 'Alright' goes with 'English' as 大丈夫 goes with 日本語

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulTB
    That's deliberate. I translated the joke not the passage. As such 'Alright' goes with 'English' as 大丈夫 goes with 日本語
    Oh, alright. I just thought that maybe you had misthought which language it was. It wouldn't be the first time I've seen it; I've even done it myself. Sorry about that.

  8. #33
    捨て猫 DranoK's Avatar
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    Does any mainstream language have more phonemes than English? I've found a couple with over 100 (!? I guess tounge clicks count...) but these aren't spoken by a large number of people.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoneme

    It's hard for native English speakers to understand some the difficulties foreign learners have - to a large extent, native English speakers already know how to pronounce the vast majority of phonemes they're likely to encounter (with exceptions, such as the german/spanish 'r', etc). Learning another language would be infinitely more difficult if it meant learning new basic sounds as well. Even the japanese r/l sound can be easily described to a native English speaker ('course, he may be too forgetful to remember) in terms of other native phonemes (d position r/l sound).

    On the other hand, I wonder if the number of people with speech impediments is fewer in languages with fewer phonemes?

    In any case, while I find the mispronunciations as funny as anyone I'd never hold it against a foreign speaker. After all, most of the native English speakers I encounter don't know how to pronounce things right. Nor are they aware of many gramatical rules for their own bloody native language.

    I can honestly imagine the pain of a non-native English speaker trying to learn English =) I'm a native English speaker and have studied my own for many, many years now and still make too many mistakes in my own writing. Spelling alone is a terrifying hurdle - I've never heard of other languages having the concept of a 'spelling bee', and it's a rare person who can spell more than 95% of his words correctly.

    In the end, English grammar comes down to intution - in a very real sense the correct way is simply the way that sounds right. Getting to the level that you can intuitively feel what sounds like, however, is something that even most native speakers of the language never achieve.

    Hmm, sorry for rambling on about nothing, its just an intersting topic to me. On another note, one striking similiarity between English and Japanese is the simplicity of adapting foreign loan words into the language. Many Americans may find it funny at the vast amount of English/German loanwords in Japanese but fail to realize just how many words they use on a daily basis are, in fact, loan words (what, you mean that 'origin' field in a dictionary means something!?)

    It's for this very reason that I disagree with the growing number of people who think Chinese will overtake English someday as the de facto international language. I'm not certain the raw number of people who speak a language matters so much as to determine supremecy. A language which can easily adapt is indicitave of a culture that can easily adapt; as such it can literally envelop new cultures and ideas and integrate them into itself. I therefore believe in a hundred years the English language will contain a significant number of Chinese words, but doubt the language (or any tonal language, for that matter) could displace English.

    Enough linguistical musings for now..

    DranoK

  9. #34
    Junior Member tengpow's Avatar
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    Another example that springs to mind is the Japanese turning Cook (as in the job) into コック。 which often sounds like a male body part. "his job is ****".

    More recently, I was grading papers at the Juku I work at and quite a few students had put the Japanese meaning of "cunning" instead of the English. The English form being an adjective meaning "crafty or tricky", while the Japanese is a verb meaning "to cheat" i.e. on a test. And our Japanese teacher often says "カンニングしないでください。" just before we have to take a test... which threw me the first time I heard it.

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