Accent of the new audio guy

Please tell me, Leebo, you’re at level 60. My question is sincere. Is this guy’s accent regional, like an Alabama accent or a Long Island accent, or is it common? He sounds so much different from the other speakers we had, and so many of his sounds are farther from what is written in the hiragana description of the sounds. The previous female voice was close to the sound, and the previous male voice was, too, except for making his g into -ng. Everything else was pretty close. This guy is much farther off the hiragana pronunciation guide, and I want to learn how to say things the most common way. Should I stick closer to the hiragana guide and just enjoy becoming familiar with a different accent, or should I learn his pronunciation?

Thanks for the resource! I’ll check it out! Yes, he does sound very different and I’m just trying to figure out if it’s standard or not. I don’t want to sound like I’m from a very specific region in Japan, I just want to sound basically… normal. :wink:

1 Like

Right. Good description, military. Or like a voice actor, or a computer. I just want to know if it’s the standard pronunciation.

1 Like

Of course it’s regional. There is no singular accent or dialect in Japanese. Also, this speaker has many of the same traits as the old audio like the presence of the nasal G. The old male voice had that as well. From what I can tell, the guy speaks with an accent dominant in Tokyo. So it just depends on whether you want also want to speak with the accent of the Tokyo dialect or not.

It is slightly harsh but i think he’s doing that for clarity/emphasis. Overall I think it’s pretty similar to how most of my Japanese friends speak.

His voice is kinda deep which probably causes more of a difference than anything else compared to the old voices.

1 Like

Just as an FYI, Tokyo dialect is considered “Standard Japanese” (before the pedants weigh in I know it’s more nuanced than that but that is true at a high enough level for this discussion). As opposed to, say, Kansai dialect.

No matter which dialect you choose to base your pronunciation on, it will sound specific to a particular region. There is no singular, universal dialect in Japanese.

2 Likes

What’s up with cough drop (喉飴) lol. Sounds really serious.

Based on this, and your comments in the first post, are you taking the romaji to be “the way the characters should be said?” The romaji are the closest we can get, not “the correct pronunciation.” If you see a “fu” in romaji, it is not the same as “fu” in English. If you see a “shi” in romaji, it is not the same as “shi” in English. We just have no other choice but to write things with the closest options.

Let me know if I’m just completely misunderstanding you.

I’ve yet to hear anyone give an example of something of his that was wrong.

And for what it’s worth, we often got complaints that the old female voice sounded “strange” as well, but all the speakers are natives.

EDIT: And one last thought. Excluding a few extreme exceptions, typically from very old speakers, most regional accents in Japanese are differentiated more by pitch accent than phonology.

6 Likes

When we put together the project for the new audio guy (and gal!) definitely emphasized clarity and pitch accent. I think for vocabulary, that’s what’s important. Their pitch accents are those of “standard” Japanese - if you scroll through this topic, you’ll see how uh… standard it really is.

Old audio was a little more mixed / less consistent in terms of pitch accent. Not wrong or anything, but we wanted to give you all something more consistent. If/when we start talking about non-vocabulary audio (that is, sentences, paragraphs, and the like) that’s probably when a lot of that goes out the door, or we will introduce various accents, but for vocab keeping to a standard was important to us.

31 Likes

That approach is working really well for me. With the new audio guy, I find I’m picking up on the pitch accents without any conscious effort on my part. That never happened with the original voices.

2 Likes

Just want to clarify. We don’t pass off the old audio in the API V2. Never have and never will. We do return the other voice actor in the API. She hasn’t been exposed on the front-facing side of the app. Yet. Stay tune in a week or two hint.

15 Likes

Ah, my mistake!

2 Likes

Except that one word in a review I heard when I burnt it. She sounded super cute!

1 Like

Thanks! That’s what I’m wondering.

3 Likes

Thanks, Leebo, you’re understanding me. Yes, I know the hu or fu is something in between the two in English and those sort of issues. :wink: I get that. And the other guy did the “ng” but his other pronunciation was otherwise very similar to the woman’s, so I assumed that was the only difference. This guy has some real differences. I’m pretty good at picking out pronunciation patterns in languages, and I do like to listen and repeat what the speaker is saying. I just didn’t want to learn his way and sound like I was from the Japanese equivalent of the Bronx! :rofl: (No offense to people from the Bronx! I just mean I don’t want to sound like a very specific location.)

Thanks! That’s helpful.

1 Like

VERY helpful, thank you! So Tokyo and the east sound more like this guy. Ok. That’s what I needed.

2 Likes

Your accent is going to be much more influenced by your pitch accent and intonation than your phonology. In all likelihood, you are going to sound like you are from “some place” and that place will be “not Japan.” It takes a lot of dedicated study and practice to achieve a consistent pitch accent and intonation pattern that comes close to any particular Japanese one.

Phonology will just be on top of that.

EDIT: I will say I’ve gotten to the point where I can notice some particular foreign accents based on phonology, but I’m no expert. For instance, Japanese learners from Vietnam tend to say つ like ちゅ, so you’ll hear things like ちゅくる instead of つくる. At least it sounds more like ちゅ than つ. I’m not sure what it would be about Vietnamese that would cause that though.

2 Likes

Thanks so much for weighing in, Koichi! I’m LOVING WaniKani, even if I do have to go slowly. This guy does sound kind of scary :wink: since his voice is so deep and, well, one commenter said “military” but I mostly just wanted to know if I should try to mimic his accent or speak more like the previous female voice, who didn’t use some of the things I mentioned that he does. Was she just trying to be particularly clear and that’s not the way Japanese really speak? I liked her (maybe because I’m a woman, too!) so I just want to be sure whether I should mimic his accent or hers. (And btw, I was just thinking I would dearly love to hear these words in sentences so I’d know how to use them naturally - I’m excited to hear you’re working on that!) Thanks again! And may I recommend grammar lessons using the vocabulary you teach? That would make my heart sing!

1 Like

You’re welcome. Good luck in your studies.

1 Like