How to say the words

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  • Jinyo
    Member
    • Jan 2012
    • 1957

    How to say the words

    Over at Sweeping Zen they are hoping to make an audio recording of pronunciation of Zen words.

    I think this is a great idea - I can't scan/ let alone say any Japanese/Sanskrit words and would love to be able
    to.

    Have I missed any videos on treeleaf to this effect? Does anyone know of any audio CD's that they'd recommend.
    I did have a look on You Tube but learning how to say 'Hello - can you tell me the way to the train station?' in Japanese
    isn't a lot of help. :?

    Gassho

    Willow
  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39078

    #2
    Re: How to say the words

    Originally posted by willow
    Over at Sweeping Zen they are hoping to make an audio recording of pronunciation of Zen words.

    I think this is a great idea - I can't scan/ let alone say any Japanese/Sanskrit words and would love to be able
    to.

    Have I missed any videos on treeleaf to this effect? Does anyone know of any audio CD's that they'd recommend.
    I did have a look on You Tube but learning how to say 'Hello - can you tell me the way to the train station?' in Japanese
    isn't a lot of help. :?

    Gassho

    Willow
    Hey Willow,

    I am scheduled to record for Adam this week, but I had to write Adam this ...

    Hi Adam,

    I am looking at your project regarding the Zen words. As a translator and interpreter of Japanese, I will ask this: Are you desirous of knowing how the Japanese Zen words are properly pronounced in Japanese? Then you should only ask a native speaker, a Japanese Zen priest.

    On the other hand, are you desirous of knowing how the words have come to be mispronounced (or, let's say at least, Westernized, Americanized)? Then ask Americans to say them. Even folks very good in Japanese, almost without exception, will have an accent or even read the names wrong (because often they know modern Japanese, not classical ... and classical pronunciation is the source of many Zen words ... or learned the words from their own teachers who had funny quirks in pronouncing them). In other words, have you ever heard a Japanese person with a heavy accent speak English? Would you ask such a Japanese person to record English terminology? You are doing just the same.

    If I record anything for you, despite 20 years in Japan, you will get an accent and the like.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    Comment

    • lorax
      Member
      • Jun 2008
      • 381

      #3
      Re: How to say the words

      I have to laugh at Jundo’s comments. There is great danger in just learning words and not actually understanding them. Sounds like, but far from what you wanted to say. Over forty years ago as a Ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, when I was flirting with a young lady from Mexico who would become my wife, I asked her how to say some words in Spanish. I wanted to be able to politely ask visitors who spoke only Spanish not to touch the cave formations or rocks. Maria said, just tell them “no toque las formaciones y piedras por favor” After repeating it several times and not noticing the little grin on her face, I tried it out on the next tour. Something was very wrong; the visitors just broke out laughing. Going back to my source, I asked her what I said wrong. She said, well what did you say? “ I repeated what I thought she taught me. “ no toque las formaciones Y piernas por favor” She looked at me with the biggest grin… well you just asked them not to touch the formations and the legs. So I had an early lesson in why one must use caution in just learning words by sound while not actually “thinking” in the language.

      Still looking forward to Jundo’s recording…. Just won’t repeat anything in public!
      ops:
      Shozan

      Comment

      • Jinyo
        Member
        • Jan 2012
        • 1957

        #4
        Re: How to say the words

        Well I'm really looking forward to it - accent and all.

        Thanks Jundo

        Comment

        • Myoku
          Member
          • Jul 2010
          • 1487

          #5
          Re: How to say the words

          I've been looking for a clearly pronounced japanese heart sutra for quite some time, in order to learn it (maybe some day I will ops: ) ... I love how Taigu chants it, but its not the easiest to learn from 8)
          _()_
          Myoku

          Comment

          • Hans
            Member
            • Mar 2007
            • 1853

            #6
            Re: How to say the words

            Hello,

            just a few basic pointers out of the top og my head:

            1. vowels (length is mostly for another topic, but I'll stick to the basic general pronounciation. Non English speaking Europeans definitely have an advantage in many ways, because their native language's way of pronouncing the vowels is closer to the Japanese transliterations in Roman letters than English. On the other hand Germans always get the difference between J and Y wrong...these are just some basic hints aimed mainlx at people with English as their refrence language:

            a NOT as in A-Team, but more like Duh! when Homer Simpson realizes he's done something stupid...or Argentine.

            e as the e in the name Ted

            i Not I as in "I love you" but like someone going to "eat" his/her food...or sees something scary..eek!

            o A bit like the sound of the Au in Auckland, Australia....when it's long it's a bit like "toe" ....but English speakers have a tendency to make it sound strangely "rounded" towards the end. So when I wrote "toe" it is just to give you a general pointer, you still have to listen to actual Japanese to really nail it.

            u Like the o in "to do" ; if a U happens to be at the end of a word, you'll notice there is a tendency to drop half of the u's lifetime....basically one swallows half of it.


            (for those Germans out there): J is always pronounced like the beginning of Jungle in English. Never like the German for Yes, Ja. That is what the Y in words beginning with Y are for. Yakuza does not sound like Jakarta at the beginning, but like the German word Japaner

            Watch me listen to the average German pronounce Ju-Jutsu if you want to see someone being annoyed.

            Z is always soft. But you English speakers knew that anyway....Germans however have a wonderful way of saying Suzuki completely the wrong way around....sharp S and soft Z (the Z like in the German pronounciation of Sandmann) is what it should be like)


            Gota get back to work now. Have fun practising!


            Gassho,


            Hans Chudo Mongen

            Comment

            • Hoyu
              Member
              • Nov 2010
              • 2020

              #7
              Re: How to say the words

              Great pointers Mongen! Might I just offer this on E....
              e as the e in the name Ted
              E is actually pronounced A as in take or wake.

              Gassho,
              Hoyu
              Ho (Dharma)
              Yu (Hot Water)

              Comment

              • Hans
                Member
                • Mar 2007
                • 1853

                #8
                Re: How to say the words

                Hello Hoyu,

                although I don't completely disagree with you , English native speakers have a very strong tendency of turning a short "e" into something sounding like "hey". I'd say it's somewhere in between my "Ted" and your "Wake" example.

                I think Mina should have the last word!

                Gassho,

                Hans Chudo Mongen

                Comment

                • Hoyu
                  Member
                  • Nov 2010
                  • 2020

                  #9
                  Re: How to say the words

                  I think Mina should have the last word!
                  Ho (Dharma)
                  Yu (Hot Water)

                  Comment

                  • mrsedwards
                    Member
                    • Dec 2011
                    • 33

                    #10
                    How to say the words

                    I just loved lorax's story and I couldn't agree more. I have had similar experiences with trying to speak Finnish and Japanese. In Finnish there's a word that means to kill and something more common like to visit. I can't recall now but it's a pretty heavy mistake.
                    But I think if you are at the point where you do understand the words then an important next step is to learn to the say them as close to properly as our American tongues can allow.

                    Comment

                    • Jinyo
                      Member
                      • Jan 2012
                      • 1957

                      #11
                      Re: How to say the words

                      This is going to be fun

                      Hans - would you be able to make a short video ?

                      ... or anyone up for a rendition along the lines of Stephen Fry's enunciation of '50 words for snow' on Kate Bush's recent album ( same title as track - 50 Words for Snow ) 8)

                      Willow

                      Comment

                      • Hans
                        Member
                        • Mar 2007
                        • 1853

                        #12
                        Re: How to say the words

                        Hello,

                        dear Willow, if Jundo and Taigu don't mind I can indeed make a short video within the next couple of days, which should be deleted however once we get a native speaker to do the same.

                        My Japanese isn't fluent btw. (gimme at least another two years for that please...), but my pronounciation is pretty okay most of the time...obviously pretty abysmal when compared to a native speaker.

                        Gassho for your trust (hope you're not going to regret it),

                        Hans Chudo Mongen

                        Comment

                        • Myoshin

                          #13
                          Re: How to say the words

                          http://mylanguages.org/japanese_alphabet.php

                          Here you have a a list with japanese pronunciation, with exemples in english words, and a video with those pronunciation

                          I hope that it will help you

                          Gasho

                          Comment

                          • Myoshin

                            #14
                            Re: How to say the words

                            Willow,
                            I remember I have audio cd from my japanese course with track of pronunciation, if you need it, I can try to take the tracks concerned and maybe to send it by mail, the pronunciations are from native speackers,

                            Let me know if you want it

                            Gassho

                            Comment

                            • Hans
                              Member
                              • Mar 2007
                              • 1853

                              #15
                              Re: How to say the words

                              Hello,

                              love the alphabet song!

                              Just another thing I forgot to mention but that I find is important for beginners studying the pronounciation is the letter "r". It is neither the hard r we find in Spanish or some German words, nor is it the "r" at the beginning of "refrigerator". It is actually right in between L and R.

                              It's a bit tricky...and I like to think of it as being akin in spirit and difficulty to the TH for a lot of non native English speakers. Your tongue just has to be in a position where it usually isn't when you speak your own native language.

                              Sometimes getting it right happens overnight, sometimes it may take quite a while.

                              Gassho,

                              Hans Chudo Mongen

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