Saturday, 16 February 2008


It's the weekend. Maybe you found yourself in Japan...somehow. You're at a bar and you're doing the next round. You say to the bartender:

Biiru roppon kudasai- six beers please. Yes, may recognize the 'biiru' and how it sounds slightly similar to the english word. There are a lot of words in Japanese that are just taken straight from the westernized one, except pronounced reaaaalllllyyyyy....slllloooowwwww
e.g. Finrando(Finland), foku(fork), kafe(cafe), jiinzu(jeans).

I am aware that I am going to have to explain a few things now that I have gone there. First off, the japanese replace the sound for 'r' with the sound for 'l'...They can't pronounce 'r'. To me, when they say it, it sounds like a mixture of the two. But basically you are lightly tapping the roof of your mouth with your tongue when you pronounce 'r'. Try it. So, the Finrando example should make more sense. Also, you should know now how to pronounce the 'biiru' and 'roppon' in the above sentence.

Also, usually when there is a 'u' at the end of a word, like my 'foku' example, they don't really pronounce the 'u'. In this case it should sound like you are over-pronouncing the 'k' in fork. This way, 'jiinzu' as jeans should make more sense too, I hope.

With other things like the last phrase I gave you (Doko e ikimasu ka?- Where are you going?), the same dont-pronounce-the-u rule applies for the 'ikimasu', therefore making it e-kee-mass.

And LASTLY, (sigh), 'roppon' means six only when it is referring to objects, otherwise, when counting 6 in japanese numbers, it is 'loku' (anyone remember how to pronounce that?). Okay, I should stop there and hope, biting my nails that anyone reading and trying to learn understands my explanations so far. GOOD LUCK!

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