Japanese Pronunciation Gone Wrong

I heard about edufire through this blog post by koichi at tofugu.com. I created an edufire account and finally today I decided to ‘browse’ the videos there. The very first one I clicked at is such a disaster that I felt compelled to write about it. Here’s the link.

“You might know… how to say you like something…” [long awkward pause] “but today…” [insert more random awkward pauses every other word].

I found the video to be too slow paced when speaking English, which doesn’t really make sense unless you assume that you’re teaching Japanese in English to people that don’t understand English well, in which case you just fail anyway.

Now that didn’t bother me too much [I’m lying, I almost killed someone during that first minute], but then the worst part came around. At around 1:03 he says: “Now, are you ready?”; I was thrilled, so excited I could barely keep my excitement hidden, but then it happened.

He tried to say: “コーヒーがすきです” [Koohii ga suki desu] which does express that the person likes coffee, but the way it came out of his mouth was more like ‘kooHII ga SUki DESU‘ (with stress on the CAPS parts) and my brain melted instantaneously. I cried a little bit inside when I heard that, ran to the bathroom and let cold water run over my head until I couldn’t remember what had happened, then I revisited the video and died inside just a little bit more. Bella (my cat) was pretty pissed after having to listen to it twice.

And the reason I’m describing this in detail? Just so you know how bad his pronunciation was. I’m not saying this to criticize him since I still find that the video is good at teaching the sentence structure it intends to teach [although it doesn’t explain it], but I do want to discourage people from simply watching such videos and going out repeating things the same way. There are many people out there that have learned Japanese without a tutor/teacher and their pronunciation is far from correct, and in such cases it would be unwise for you to learn from them.

Use EduFire,I do think is a very good tool, but do take your time to find good videos and tutors. There are plenty, but as you can see, it can also go wrong.

If you want to watch another bad video from the same guy, there are others. As I said, the pronunciations in pretty much every sentence he said in Japanese is wrong. If you want to compare the differences in his pronunciation with correct Japanese pronunciation, just listen to some of Koichi’s videos like this one which I like. You can notice that the way the language sounds is very different from what you were hearing before in these two videos.


10 thoughts on “Japanese Pronunciation Gone Wrong

  1. I agree 100%. I watched the videos mentioned in this post, and then I had to cleanse my brain and just speak Japanese with a normal pronunciation to take the wrong pronunciation off my head! 困るね。


  2. I saw that Koichi is starting to do vids on EduFire. From what I've seen of his stuff on YouTube, he seems really good.I think my two biggest pet peeves are people that mispronounce “karaoke” and “sake”. One of my American co-workers asked a friend if she wanted to go out and do “care-ee-oh-key” once, and she had no idea what he was talking about.


  3. Koichi is indeed pretty good. He actually had a free lecture yesterday that was really good. And yeah, karaoke and sake are two very common ones… also people that pick up japanese from anime often pronounce kawaii [is cute] as kowaii [is scary] which makes it particularly funny.


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