Pronunciation practice methods

So, I have a natural stutter, and it makes learning to pronounce a second language… interesting, as I’m sure you can imagine. As I often GM pen and paper RPGs. (D&D for those not in the know.) I have learned I don’t stutter when using a “character voice”.

As such, I have started practicing my pronunciation, by essentially playing out ‘scenarios’ between two or more ‘characters’… I even went so far as to give them different accents and personalities… Even imagining them ‘teaching’ each other the pronunciation…

Now that I’ve put out there this embarrassing factoid about myself. I was curious, what ways do other people practice their pronounciations? Anything ‘interesting’ you have done to make it easier for yourself? Etc.


Probably the most popular method is “shadowing”, in which you simultaneously listen to and try to follow a spoken recording as closely as possible.

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Yeah, I am aware of shadowing. Sadly my stutter made it difficult to keep up, and thus I would stumble through sounds just to try and stay relatively close.

But then I’ve heard most people with a stutter do so less than normal, (some don’t stutter at all) when trying a different language. So maybe I’m just really weird.

Side note: stuttering when trying to say a sentence in a foreign language has been one of the most infuriating moments of my life. (And I have worked retail customer service, through the holidays.)

Ah, in that case, how about singing? Like a J-pop song or something else that you like. It’s a bit like shadowing and it has the benefit of your brain repeating the lyrics in your head subconsciously because of the earworm effect.

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Haven’t tried singing, may do so in the future. However I am concerned how the rhythmic shift in syllables, as well as dynamic shift, might affect pronunciation practice… (luckily the tonality of Japanese is a lot less important than, say, Chinese.)

:point_up: was a band geek, because he couldn’t sing worth a darn.

As a casual user of Chinese because of my heritage, I do often notice that back when I went to a physical Japanese class I would follow much more easily the tonality of a words/sentences than say the average learner. (it actually hurt sometimes to listen people read aloud sentences) I think some people get caught up in the pronunciation of individual words, but when thrown into sentences it can sometimes affect the sound.

Although just listening to the rise and fall of how lines and sentences are spoken from various anime/shows also had a contributing factor.

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Fully understandable. I do, personally, believe tonality is still important in Japanese. It is just not as important as Chinese. (or so I have been told by my Chinese friends.)

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If you don’t stutter while doing your character voice, then try shadowing while in character. It might sound silly at first, but who cares? You’re not performing in public, anyway.

Honestly it’s funny listening to my coworkers in America argue about the tonality of say Wudder/Wahter Carmole/Caramel. I mean like at least you guys have the option to say it both ways and be correct…

Those are phonetically different ways to pronounce the same word, it has nothing to do with tones. Also, Japanese is not strictly a tonal language like Mandarin Chinese but it uses something called pitch accent.

I’ve never studied linguistics so… never really heard of pitch accent either but it sounds like those marks on top/below roman letters. It always sounded as just as a slight tone difference from to me like rising or falling “wah” then slurred together with a low “dur”.

Japanese has always been to me something like fixed accents or tones (w/e) as in like if it’s written out you (in most cases) understand how it’s to be pronounced. Like “i” in Japanese is only interpreted one way but can be interpreted two ways in the English language. I figured the only reason you would add those marks is for Romanization of foreign languages when the text isn’t specific enough to clue you into one of multiple ways it could be said.

@kitsunekune One thing that I did was record myself speaking. If you were in band, I assume you have someone of a good ear, so you may be able to hear if you sound Japanese or not.

So what I would do was:

  1. Listen to the recording
  2. Record myself shadowing the recording (to hear if I sound different from the recording)
  3. Record myself without the recording (to see if I can produce the same sounds without copying the native speaker)

that being said, I was taking a Japanese pronunciation course, so I had some incentive.

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