I hate that my voice gets higher when speaking japanese </3

i’d really like to stop raising my pitch when practicing, and i know that your voice does tend to get higher when speaking japanese in general, but i don’t like it ahh-

the only time i keep my original tone is when i consciously remind myself not to raise my pitch. do you run into this, and if you have an issue with it is there any way to solve it?

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Are you a boy or a girl? I sometimes think men’s voices in Japanese tend to be a little higher pitched overall, so maybe it makes you sound more natural. But you could also just start exaggerating a low voice when speaking. That is expected when speaking formally as well, so it wouldn’t even sound weird in conversation, maybe. Especially if you just lower to your normal voice’s pitch.

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I don’t speak it a lot, but this does seem to happen. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to match the pitch of voices I’ve heard in the courses I’ve taken, which are higher than mine.

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i’m an enby, and my voice isn’t too high pitched as compared to the avg of my assigned gender but it becomes higher when i speak and makes me uncomfortable :sob:

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yeahh that probably contributes to it as well ah

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I noticed the same thing for me as well. I think hearing someone speak at the same pitch you would like to speak at, and then shadowing their speech, would be helpful. Then you’d have a feel for how to keep pitch accent at that particular pitch

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thank you sm, i’ll try that!

I think my pitch goes up when speaking Japanese compared to English, but it feels natural to me, so I haven’t worried about it much. Granted I’m not actually having conversations with people in Japanese, so that’s just my self assessment.

i do think my pitch is a bit higher in japanese than in other languages, but i’m quite okay with that.

coming at it from a gender-identity perspective, i’ve learned that i pass by voice differently depending on the language. i pass perfectly fine when speaking french, but very badly when speaking german - different languages require different skills to pass as a given gender.

being aware of these differences early on while learning a language will make it easier to be perceived the way you want to ^^

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This sounds to me like a good sign. The youtuber Dogen, who has a good series on Japanese phonetics on his patreon, talks about this. I think this video is behind the pay wall so I hope I’m not breaking any rules by saying this, but he has one video where he shows (I think) a friend of his who grew up bilingual Japanese/English, and his voice is noticeably higher pitched when he switches to Japanese. Iirc it has something to do with the vocal placement, where and where from we project the sound into our mouths. I cannot remember any other details, but Dogen’s phonetics series is great and you should check it out.

Edit: I just realized that you said you do know that Japanese tends to make your voice higher. Sorry, I read too quickly. I can’t comment anything of value for the gender-identity perspective.

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There’s a so-called 女子アナ (short for 女子アナウンサー=‘female announcer’) phenomenon that refers to the fact that Japanese women tend to speak at a higher pitch when they’re making an effort to read something ‘properly’. I don’t know if it happens among Japanese men, but perhaps trying to speak clearly in Japanese has a tendency to make people raise their pitch, even among natives. (I mean, when we learners do speech practice alone, I’m sure we all put on our best ‘textbook Japanese’ voices, right, at least as beginners? And I think most textbook readers stay within a fairly limited pitch range in order to be easy to understand.)

That aside, I’d like to suggest, as @ms12345 did, that this is normal. I speak English, Chinese and French fluently, and my voice in French is quite a lot deeper than it is when I speak English. For that matter, when I recorded myself speaking in French in order to pinpoint what it was that made me sound non-native, I felt like my voice was too high or nasal when pronouncing certain words compared to native speakers I had heard and was using as models. That’s a big part of why I changed the pitch I spoke at. Different languages seem to have different placements for certain sounds, and if you’ve tried looking into singing, you’ll notice that some voice teachers emphasise the different cavities of the body in which you can make a sound resonate in order to achieve a certain sound quality or to make it easier to make a particular sound at a certain pitch. For a given sound, the basic sound you’re making might not seem very complex, but in actual fact, there are often different ways to make it.

Ultimately, perhaps it would be best for you to attempt to imitate the speech of someone you identify with in as many areas as possible, because that will probably make you the most comfortable and give you a good idea of how to sound the way you want.

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This is a neat point that I agree with. When I speak Latin I a lot of parts of my voice suddenly sound weirdly similar to the youtuber Scorpio Martianus.

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Are you aware of the difference between head voice and chest voice? That helped me when I wanted to speak deeper in general.

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When I’m bored I put on the overly dramatic male announcer voice :stuck_out_tongue: .

I think my pitch is regular in Japanese, very similar to when I speak Polish. There are some phonetic overlaps so perhaps that’s that. It gets higher to the point of sounding (to me) annoying when speaking with an American accent in English and much lower when speaking with a British accent.

That sounds (pun unintended) like pretty solid advice :slight_smile:

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That’s what happens when you watch too much anime and you think that every Japanese person talks like that.

i’m just a bit familiar with it; i think i’ll look more into it and learn to how to use it to my advantage. thank you!

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ahh if i’m taking this the wrong way (i genuinely can’t tell if you’re joking or not, sorry!) this is my bad, but i don’t watch much anime where the characters have high pitched voices— it’s usually the opposite. for myself, having a high voice brings me discomfort so i wouldn’t want to take after those with higher pitched voices.

as part of my immersion practice and sometimes just for fun, i watch native japanese speakers’ content and am full aware that japanese people don’t speak like anime characters, just as americans don’t speak like american cartoon characters. my voice rises even in languages like french, whereas a lot of my french learning peers experience the opposite effect.

My brother actually lived in Japan for 10 years and to avoid his voice getting higher when he spoke, he’d watch samurai movies and copied their inflection. This did 2 things: His voice was noticeably lower than the average Japanese male, but he also sounded kind of…ancient…like a samurai. :sweat_smile: He dialed it back a little and went with Japanese newscaster voice which came off a lot less weird.

I would definitely go with @EarleyGrave’s suggestion of finding someone who sounds like what you want and just copy their inflection and pitch.

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Depends which newscaster are we talking about :smiley: . The one on スポニチニュース on Thursday is absolutely out of this world. He has this super deep voice and in the more relaxed Internet comment section he goes an extra mile to sound even weirder :stuck_out_tongue: .

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aha that’s funny, but i see it worked!