Tuesday, August 15, 2006


The reason I haven't been online of late is because I was taking a three-day intensive French pronunciation course.

When I say intensive, I mean intensive. I mean we start at 14.15 and chant "ah"s and "oh"s and "uhn"s until 19.00. For three. Consecutive. Days.

It wasn't quite what I expected. The instructor, who was nice enough, tried to explain the finer points of French pronunciation... in his version of Japanese. He ended up saying things like "This (pointing at the letter A) is an eel", and "An F requires a less healthy lip than a V". He also ended every sentence with an emphatic "desu!", which, while not technically wrong, started to irk me a bit by the 7th hour in.

To make matters worse, it never occurred to me that as an English speaker, it wouldn't be the best idea for me to take a French pronunciation class tailored to Japanese speakers. I have no interest in perpetuating any more stereotypes about the Japanese than is necessary, but here goes.

Here are the sounds that do not exist in Japanese:

F V J R L Si Ti ...and a handful of assorted French vowels that I don't even know how to type on my keyboard.

It's difficult learning a foreign language as it is, but doubly so for a Japanese monoglot. I can now say with absolute certainty that my Fs, Vs, and Bs will rock your world. Hopefully I didn't pick up a Japanese accent.


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