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Thread: How to say the words

  1. #1

    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

  2. #2

    Re: How to say the words

    Quote 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

  3. #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:

  4. #4

    Re: How to say the words

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

    Thanks Jundo

  5. #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

  6. #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

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    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

  8. #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

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    I think Mina should have the last word!

  10. #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.

  11. #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

  12. #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

  13. #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

  14. #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

  15. #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

  16. #16
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    Quote Originally Posted by yang hsin
    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
    Thank you for the link. However I feel that it has many incorrect English word examples. I really feel this can lead to improper pronunciation.
    Examples:
    For A they used acute. A is more like the O in the English word "Top".

    For I they used ink. I is more like the E in the English word "Eat".

    For Hi they used history. Hi is pronounced like the Enlglish word "He".

    I could go on but there's little point. Just watch the video and repeat along a few hundred times.

    And one final thing I must say is that this link called it a Japanese Alphabet! Japanese doesn't have an alphabet!! Hiragana and Katakana are syllabaries :wink:

    Gassho,
    Hoyu

  17. #17
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    I guess we should also keep in mind that with English there are many different accents. Mine is Midwestern. This no doubt affects which words I choose to use as equivalent sounds to the Japanese ones. If I had a southern accent I may choose differently. Anyway, good luck to all who choose to study Japanese. It's a beautiful language and culture!

    Gassho,
    Hoyu

  18. #18

    Re: How to say the words

    Hans, Yang hsin, and Hoyu - thanks for feedback.

    It would be great if you could make a video Hans - I feel quite nervous about contemplating learning a new
    language ( not very good at languages ops: ) and I think Japanese is quite difficult?

    Really - I'd just like to be able to pronounce words and learn a little about the language.

    Thanks for the kind offer Yang hsin - it gave me the idea of looking on Amazon for language course CD's. There are
    quite a few but I think I'll wait to see what Jundo advices. Not quite sure where is the best place to start.

    Amazon has some flash cards for Kana - would be grateful for explanation of difference between Kana (Hiragana/Katakana) and Kanji

    Thanks

    Willow

  19. #19

    Re: How to say the words

    Hello willow

    Indead there is not alphabet but syllab in japanese, the hiragana and katakana are phonetic writting, hiragana for japanese names, particule and so on, and katakana for stranger name like teburu, table, kanji are one word, or one syllab to compose a word, there are to ways to pronunce the kanji chinese type or japanese type, in general chinese when i'ts a part of a word.
    I don't want to teach lol my level is not high ,what I wrote is to summerize 2 years of japanese studies some years ago (2 years is almost nothing lol, with 2 years in english it's easier to improve)
    so my appologies for the general information in japanese pronunciation, and for my basic english
    I've studied with 'japanese for busy people, book 1, 2, 3" it's a good progressive method, with japanese teachers, this was the book of reference, maybe you can check on amazone, or order in japanese bookseller . If you need tables to write or something like that from my book, I can send it even by post. I remeber how funny it was to learn japanese with english books for a french speaker :lol: the occasion to learn both.

    Gassho

  20. #20

    Re: How to say the words

    Quote Originally Posted by yang hsin
    Hello willow

    Indead there is not alphabet but syllab in japanese, the hiragana and katakana are phonetic writting, hiragana for japanese names, particule and so on, and katakana for stranger name like teburu, table, kanji are one word, or one syllab to compose a word, there are to ways to pronunce the kanji chinese type or japanese type, in general chinese when i'ts a part of a word.
    I don't want to teach lol my level is not high ,what I wrote is to summerize 2 years of japanese studies some years ago (2 years is almost nothing lol, with 2 years in english it's easier to improve)
    so my appologies for the general information in japanese pronunciation, and for my basic english
    I've studied with 'japanese for busy people, book 1, 2, 3" it's a good progressive method, with japanese teachers, this was the book of reference, maybe you can check on amazone, or order in japanese bookseller . If you need tables to write or something like that from my book, I can send it even by post. I remeber how funny it was to learn japanese with english books for a french speaker :lol: the occasion to learn both.

    Gassho
    thanks for that ... and also the book recommendation, it is one of the study guides I looked at on Amazon.

    I think your English is very good and I really admire everyone here who express themselves through a second language.

    Will let you know how I get on,

    Thanks again,

    Willow

  21. #21

    Re: How to say the words

    Hi,

    Well, this is a very big question, actually. Taigu, Fugen and Hans have accents when they speak English ... light, amazingly subtle, but accents. Then again, I have an accent (American) when I speak English, and so do our British friends (though inventors of the language). Hans and all of us non-natives have accents when we speak Japanese and Chinese (I still do when I speak Japanese, as you can imagine from speaking to most folks from other countries in Canada, the UK or US even after they may have been living there 20 years). In fact, even the Japanese have accents when they speak "Zen Words" because (1) most "Zen Words" are Japanese mispronounced "nativizations" of Chinese terms, which are often Chinese "nativizations" of older Sanskrit terms (2) even modern Japanese don't pronounce Japanese as was done in the 16th or 13th centuries.

    So what?

    Nothing really, because these words don't "belong" to anyone ... are not bound by any place or time ... and even though Pali, Sanskrit, Japanese, Chinese or Korean there is really no reason to pronounce them exactly like the Indians, Japanese, Chinese or Koreans did/do. In a sense, what Americans/Brits do when we speak these words is "nativize" them, make them our own for our own culture (a better term than "mispronounce", which implies the words belong to the Indians, Japanese, Chinese or Koreans even though from there).

    So, Hans can make the video even though, no matter how good it is, we realize it is not "right" to a Japanese or Chinese ... but is right for Hans.

    Here is a video I sent to Adam that kind of sums it up. It is by a famous comedian here named Shimura Ken and is called ...

    japanese english teacher teaches foreigners english

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    Gassho (pronounced "Gassho"), Jundo

  22. #22
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    :mrgreen:

    I'm still having problems reciting the Heart Sutra in english with all of you in the Zazenkais, so let's keep the Japanese for later :wink:

  23. #23

    Re: How to say the words

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi,

    Well, this is a very big question, actually. Taigu, Fugen and Hans have accents when they speak English ... light, amazingly subtle, but accents. Then again, I have an accent (American) when I speak English, and so do our British friends (though inventors of the language). Hans and all of us non-natives have accents when we speak Japanese and Chinese (I still do when I speak Japanese, as you can imagine from speaking to most folks from other countries in Canada, the UK or US even after they may have been living there 20 years). In fact, even the Japanese have accents when they speak "Zen Words" because (1) most "Zen Words" are Japanese mispronounced "nativizations" of Chinese terms, which are often Chinese "nativizations" of older Sanskrit terms (2) even modern Japanese don't pronounce Japanese as was done in the 16th or 13th centuries.

    So what?

    Nothing really, because these words don't "belong" to anyone ... are not bound by any place or time ... and even though Pali, Sanskrit, Japanese, Chinese or Korean there is really no reason to pronounce them exactly like the Indians, Japanese, Chinese or Koreans did/do. In a sense, what Americans/Brits do when we speak these words is "nativize" them, make them our own for our own culture (a better term than "mispronounce", which implies the words belong to the Indians, Japanese, Chinese or Koreans even though from there).

    So, Hans can make the video even though, no matter how good it is, we realize it is not "right" to a Japanese or Chinese ... but is right for Hans.

    Here is a video I sent to Adam that kind of sums it up. It is by a famous comedian here named Shimura Ken and is called ...

    japanese english teacher teaches foreigners english

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    Gassho (pronounced "Gassho"), Jundo
    Thanks!

    That vid is awesome

    Gassho

    Shohei... Eh.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    This seems as good a place to ask as any . . .

    I'm trying to learn the Heart Sutra in Japanese. I've listened to a number of renditions online and I've noticed that sometimes bits like this:

    kan ji zai bo satsu gyou jin han nya ha ra mit ta ji

    Are pronounced without the -tsu sound so it's like:

    kan ji zai bo sa gyou jin . . . etc.

    And sometimes the whole satsu is clearly pronounced. Is it a regional accent thing? Is one pronunciation "more correct" than the other?
    Gassho

    Jen

  25. #25

    Re: How to say the words

    Hi Jen,

    A good question indeed, There are minor variations from school to school. You have to stick to the Soto version and learn it with your ears and your heart...Don't worry about getting it right, sounding like a Japanese native, it would not make sense. Enjoy the process and make it a daily activity. The best is to put it on your Mp3 list andplay it and sing along as you walk, drive, wash the dishes...

    a good version is the following one:

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    you can make it an mp3 using video2mp3.

    gassho

    Taigu

  26. #26

    Re: How to say the words

    Thank you Taigu for the video

    Gassho

  27. #27

    Re: How to say the words

    Hello,

    here is me without enough sleep rambling on about pronounciation and related topics...it was made on the fly and wihtout a proper structure....so don't blame me if you find that this is too chaotic

    UPDATE: Seems the video uploaded okey, but youtube removed it because it was a minute too long..aaarghhh...

    [youtube]hgqeSaHF-azQ[/youtube]

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  28. #28

    Re: How to say the words

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    Hello,

    here is me without enough sleep rambling on about pronounciation and related topics...it was made on the fly and wihtout a proper structure....so don't blame me if you find that this is too chaotic


    [youtube]hgqeSaHF-azQ[/youtube]

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Hans that is great - but I can't get the link to take - any suggestions?

    gassho

    Willow

  29. #29

    Re: How to say the words

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    Hello,

    here is me without enough sleep rambling on about pronounciation and related topics...it was made on the fly and wihtout a proper structure....so don't blame me if you find that this is too chaotic


    [youtube]hgqeSaHF-azQ[/youtube]

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Hans that is great - but I can't get the link to take - any suggestions?

    gassho

    Willow
    Also, how do you pronounce "hgqeSaHF-az"? :shock:

    Gassho, J

  30. #30
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Also, how do you pronounce "hgqeSaHF-az"? :shock:
    "Huh-gee-que-saaf-as"

  31. #31

    Re: How to say the words

    Hello,

    my video was uploaded okay (which took a while), but apparently it was a mintue too long or something...the bottom line is that it was removed from youtube....please hang in there....if all goes well I'll either edit it or re-record it tonight.

    Thank you for your patience.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  32. #32
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    "Huh-gee-que-saaf-as"
    Good one Amelia :lol: :lol: :lol:

  33. #33
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai
    "Huh-gee-que-saaf-as"
    Good one Amelia :lol: :lol: :lol:
    :P

  34. #34

    Re: How to say the words

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    Hello,

    my video was uploaded okay (which took a while), but apparently it was a mintue too long or something...the bottom line is that it was removed from youtube....please hang in there....if all goes well I'll either edit it or re-record it tonight.

    Thank you for your patience.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Will look forward to it Hans - many thanks

    Gassho

    Willow

  35. #35

    Re: How to say the words

    Hello

    Where is the link on youtube, what's written above isn't a link I think? ops:

  36. #36
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    Quote Originally Posted by yang hsin
    Where is the link on youtube, what's written above isn't a link I think? ops:
    As Hans says above, it was removed for being over the time limit on his account. I guess some were able to view it before it was taken down, but I'm sure he will repost soon.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  37. #37

    Re: How to say the words

    Hello,

    let's try this one more time

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    I had to really rush through some points because the video would have been too long otherwise...so no, I didn't drink too much coffee

    Bows, gassho and thank you for your patience,


    Hans Chudo Mongen

  38. #38
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    Great tutorial Mongen! Thank you for your hard work in putting it together

    Gassho,
    Hoyu

  39. #39
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: How to say the words

    Awesome, thanks Hans!

    Gassho,

    Jen

  40. #40
    Hello,

    I forgot to thank Hoyu and Nenka for their kind words of encouragement before the forum was re-incarnated

    So here it is, a big sucking-up-to fellow Treeleafers thank you!!!


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Last edited by Hans; 06-26-2012 at 11:30 AM.
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  41. #41
    Wonderful Hans, thanks for this great video ... your hired.
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  42. #42
    thank you so much Hans - I could be greedy and ask for more - you are a good teacher

    Gassho

    Willow

  43. #43
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Thank you Hans!

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

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