PITCH ACCENT & Japanese Pronunciation Tips | Q&A with Akkie-sensei

PITCH ACCENT & Japanese Pronunciation Tips | Q&A with Akkie-sensei

You know a lot a people can’t roll their Rs! RA RI RU RE RO … you just kind of tap your tongue! LONG TIME NO SEE! Loretta, C’mon down!!! HEY EVERYONE I’m Loretta and … …I’m Akkie! I’m back!!! People really loved the video we did before some….odd year and a half ago. We really left people hanging! Yes, so sorry it took so long, but Akkie’s back! We’re filming a lot of videos at once today but first, we’ll start with a casual interview I actually asked you guys on Instagram. So we’ll try to see if we can answer a few of your questions today! Since we have an actual native speaker here today! RESOURCES FOR SELF STUDY HACKS FOR REMEMBER GRAMMAR/KANJI HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET TO N1 or N2? That’s a hard one! CAN I LEARN JAPANESE IN 3 YEARS? TRANSITIVE vs INSTRANSITIVE VERBS PITCH ACCENT / PRONUNCIATION So, pitch accent / pronunciation and kanji were the most common. There was also a lot of WA vs GA and other specific grammar questions but we’re going to skip the more detailed grammar points you may not know, but Akkie-sensei who’s here today has covered so many of the topics already on his channel. Especially WA vs GA, he has such a great video. So please, check out the answers on his channel! Well, I wanted to kick off the questions with PITCH ACCENT / PRONUNCIATION. When I first started learning Japanese obviously there were some people who try to focus on pronunciation but PITCH ACCENT wasn’t really a concept or dedicated course you could explore. These days, people like Dogen-sensei and more cover that in great deal helping people learn how to speak Japanese with a good accent. These types of things didn’t exist back in the day! It was a miracle if you could even find a Japanese textbook! But like you, Akkie-sensei, you have an amazing English accent that you learned on your own without ever leaving your home country (Japan). Thank you very much! See, you even use the “TH” sound which is hard for a lot of Japanese speakers. (I try really hard for my videos!!) It’s very glossy, very flossy! and I’m just thinking like, how did you teach yourself pronunciation while you were in your home country. Well to start, Good pronunciation was a big personal goal for me. I’m sure some people don’t really care about pronunciation. Like, if the grammar is correct, than who cares about perfect accent. But I was really motivated to sound more natural and the reason why is because I love music! I want to sing with a good English accent and I want to be able to hear the lyrics. I realllyyyy like music. Let’s go to Karaoke in our next video! I mean, I don’t think I can sing well I really just like music itself. Hmm…let’s check your singing… ue wo muite…. ** cute dance ** Oh, but you followed to tone/notes Its important to have a good ear and be able to mimic what you hear. Also, as a specific WAY to study, In our video last year we mentioned this, but the BOTTOM-UP TOP-DOWN method is really important here. For accent/pronunciation you REALLY need to have both. Japanese kids in school have English class and they’re taught the specific rules about how to pronounce things (bottom-up) Oh really?
Yeah, like how to physically create the TH sound by biting your tongue and blowing like this the teachers will literally show you how to physically do it But just knowing that isn’t enough! If you know where to bite down for the TH sound or how to pronounce F like its said in English you first need to know the physical placement. Then once you have the hang of that, listen to native music or movies and listen for those sounds (TOP-DOWN). Then you’ll hear how native speakers are actually making the sounds you studied and it’ll finally click in your head. I hope this makes sense! So like, in middle school, we learn the physical rule of how to make the TH sound so next, if you think of that placement while listening to music you really hear how you should mimic the native sample. So in my case, I had a lot of top-down, real world samples to listen to but I didn’t known any rules or specific guides of how to move my mouth. This was a question on instagram to, but for example, how to pronounce Japanese R? This can be tricky at first. I always explain it this way, Make the sound by rolling your Rs, but only once. Ahh, but that’s tricky. Especially because many people can’t roll their Rs! RA RI RU RE RO, yeah, you just kind of TAP it! So, this is reallyyyyyy detailed and nerdy But if you think about the shape of the mouth, you have lips you have teeth, and behind your top teeth you can feel a hard ridge/bump with your tongue. This spot behind your top teeth is called the alveolar ridge. Letters with P or B are made by stopping air with your lips, but if you touch your tongue to the top of that ridge and trill the air then that’s how a rolled R or trill is said. Then, in that exact same place/spot, if you just TAP it once You don’t get a T, or R or L, but this light, rolled tap, which is the Japanese R. This is the technical theory, anyway. Knowing that specific rule is the first step. So once you know that placement listen to Japanese movies or music and it’ll start to click how they’re doing it. We make this sound in English actually with LADDER, like climb a LADDER, we write it with two “D”s but that’s the same sound sorry, I just had to nerd out for a minute But yeah, if you first learn the physical technique/rule, and then check it against native samples having both pieces of this puzzle is key to hearing how to mimic the sound. Some of you may not know this but now there are a lot of resources explaining the techniques and physical rules recently there are so many tools! So yeah, that’s a huge help Like the karaoke thing that tells you if you missed the note? With the wiggly noodle line? Remember, it won’t be instant though! This will take practice. Yeah, please remember there’s no instant way you should look for TOOLS as their is no magic one tip with the right tools, then you have to practice. There is no magic. Learn the rule first, THEN practice with native samples. The more you do it, the better you become. Nice idiom! Is it hard teaching Kanji? Do you ever forget Kanji? All the time! I’m always forgetting kanji! Well, we actually covered how I learned Kanji as a student in our last video.
Yeah, hand cramps, right? Yeah, as homework, I had to write tons everyday. But in terms of TEACHING Kanji, teaching them actually helps me to remember. I remember them BY teaching. and I love to teach Kanji actually. They’re interesting, and fun to teach but it’s easy to forget after you’ve only learned once. I think they’re really hard to retain. So to retain it, you realllyyyyyyy need to write. When I teach Kanji, people get it and even think they’re interesting but they tend to forget soon after! 🙁 LIke, in class they’re great, but then they’ll bomb tests. When you write like notes/post-it notes to yourself Are you ever like “Oh crap, I totally blanked on that kanji!” nahhh, not really. I can write notes when I’m on my own. But in class, standing at the board Then I kind of freeze up pretty often. My college-level class is intermediate and instead of teaching I have them pick a kanji and prepare to teach it to the class as homework. The kanji, the stroke order, The meaning, related vocab and sample sentences I have them look it up and present it to the class. Reusing the information is an important step. Definitely. I have a very good example, there was someone who made a reaction video to my channel showing what they learned and how they conceptualized it they used YouTube to reinforce what they learned. OUTPUT, reusing what you learn is so crucial. We’ve talked about this but with reading, I know a lot of people just ready furigana and skip kanji everyone cracked up when you said that! You might be able to read the kanji somehow, but you have to be able to produce them too. We’ve gotta be more proactive! I mean, even Japanese people are writing Kanji less and less but even just using Twitter or social media is a big help. Just try to use Japanese in social media and anywhere you can. I used to keep a diary in Japanese.
That’s a good idea! I admit I’m not the best at Kanji but I did keep a diary that’s a great idea. I once uploaded this video about how hard it was in University here when they made me read aloud. A Japanese person commented, in Japanese classes, you HAVE to read aloud. But, it’s OK if you don’t know everything because your classmates will give you the readings of Kanji you don’t know Before Japan, I never had that type of practice everyday. I feel a lot of the viewers will agree but even if they try to use Japanese, they don’t have someone to correct or help them. Which is why apps are so great now iKnow by DMM, HelloTalk, Lang-8 and even the YouTube comments on our 2 channels Our channels are a space you can use! I mean, if you’re already here watching, why not practice with everyone in a comment below? Do it on my channel too, please! So pronunciation, and kanji, there was also a question about Keigo. This topic is too big for one video but someone asked specifically about OTSUKARESAMA DESU vs GOKUROUSAMA desu. And I wanted to ask, is there a time when they can come off as rude? I work for a lot of Japanese companies and sometimes I’ll see my boss, or an executive as we pass each other in the hallway. They’ll look at me and say “otsukaresama desu!”, like good job! as a greeting. And it always makes me so nervous! Like, if I say “otsukaresama desu” back to them, it’s like I’m saying ” Yeah, good job/good hustle to you too!” Like, somehow I’m telling them GOOD JOB, MAN! when they’re the boss! I feel that’s rude, it’s not my place to assume they’re working hard or hustling or whatever so whenever a boss says “otsukaresama desu” to me in passing, I just say “Good morning, sir!” That’s….an interesting view. Was there a specific incident or someone telling you that it might be rude? So, the thing is that 2 of the companies I work for are huge, publicly traded giants. So I say boss, but it’s not like my boss, it’s like a business celebrity. So I know they’re being kind, greeting everyone in their company but I can’t just say that back! Imagine if Steve Jobs came up to you and you’re like
“YeahHHh GooD JObBB MannNN.” I can’t! I don’t think it’s rude per se. It makes me nervous every time. I think the problem is more with the other phrase, with GOKUROUSAMA DESU. This is kind of a point of debate among Japanese people but recently, the school of thought is that a person should NEVER use “gokurousama desu” (thanks for your hard work) towards their superior. So like, you have a super nice boss who offers to bring in tea or waters for everyone and you’re like THANKS FOR THE HARD WORK, MAN!
Yeah, no. It wasn’t that way in the past though. You see, even Keigo is changing recently. NOOOOOO. Gokurou-sama has a kind of blue-collar feel to it, right? Like, it’s what you say to the guy who came and did some handy work around your house. Yeah, and bosses will use it with their team a lot. Like, “Boss, here are the files you asked for.” and your boss will say “ahh, great work!!” (gokurousama desu). But… I guess it can depend… if Steve Jobs walked up… I mean, if he were my boss I’d just say otsukaresama desu normally. I don’t think Japanese people are really thinking about the literal meaning. Like, Ohhh good hustle, or good work! or anything Yep, it’s just a polite greeting. So, we hit the top 3 big hitters. Pronunciation, Kanji, Keigo, we touched on them like… WAYYYY to condensed. I mean, we’re not going to wait a year and a half let this just be the intro, let’s make more videos! Let’s not wait a year next time, oK? Yeah, next week even! You’re busy though, Loretta.
Nah, things are finally settling into a routine. But please if there’s a SPECIFIC topic you want us to cover, write it below! Please use the comments to tell us before we film again! I’m sure there’s a lot. It’s time for the curtain call! Is this enough?!
I mean, people first just want to see your face, and hear tips and feel your heart. We have one more video ready for this channel but Akkie already posted a collab on his channel, too! Come over to the comments and practice your Japanese!!


16 thoughts on “PITCH ACCENT & Japanese Pronunciation Tips | Q&A with Akkie-sensei”

  • First comment! Now maybe someone will see? I have been wondering this for years and studying Japanese. When Japanese people speak it seems they put a lot of emphasis or pause(?) on the particles. Is this normal, should I be doing this? Often I see this when thinking…Please help! Also, I've plateaued in my learning, I am stuck on grammar, should I continue? I don't know about using 2 verbs in 1 sentence! Ah help! <3 <3 <3

  • Accent tips !!!! I’ve noticed my accent get better over the years and also be able to tell apart different regional accents

  • Purple Paisley Planner says:

    Watching your video and love your channel. This was such fun to watch and I'm so ready for a vacation Japan.😀🍂

  • Love the editing!!!thanks to your collab, I've found another good resource for Japanese learning. your videos always make my day 🙂

  • Shoot I'm too out of practice, need to pull out google translate later and get a proper read on the ra ri ru re ro bit. Those were always the Japanese sounds I struggled the most to mimic, particularly ru / ryu sounds. Often end up rolling my "R"s.

  • dragonknightttt says:

    THAT'S IT. I'm never looking at subtitles, Japanese or English, ever again. I've been crippled by looking at subtitles for so long now, and it shows. My hearing ability feels the same no matter what I do, so I end up having to look at subtitles. NO MORE.

  • Kemushi chan I believe this R is something that many of us native Spanish speakers have. To me, it’s been very helpful to have the Spanish pronunciation of that specific R variation for my my Japanese R 🙂 It’s like the R in the word “cobrar” (to charge) . I find that the vowel sounds are all identical My Spanish vowels. I love all your videos.

  • Question or idk. I've always known myself to be able to roll r's but from watching i realized not a lot of people can??? How is one unable to not do this? (I'm not trying to be mean im just curious)

  • 三本塾Sambon Juku says:

    I always enjoy reading comments for collab. videos,so please leave a bunch of comments here!

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