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    • Interesting conversation with a fellow traveler the other day, he is from India and we were having a conversation about Mt. Everest and getting there or at least close to it by motorcycle.

      He said the Himalayas is a really tough area to ride into...and i stopped him and said say that again

      he said HIMARLE-LEE-ERS...



      what else do you pronounce a lot differently thatn the locals?

      ...and by the way Mt. Everest real name is - Sagarmatha (in Nepal), meaning "Forehead (or Goddess) of the Sky". In Tibet it is known as Chomolungma, "Mother Goddess of the Universe". In 1865 the mountain was renamed in honour of the Surveyor General of India George Everest

    • Karaoke (カラオケ). In English people say Carry-Oh-key.

      Another one is harakiri (腹切り). This one might just be where I grew up, but I had only ever heard people say Harry-Carry. It's fairly common for vowels to be changed up when English speakers (at least Americans) say Japanese words. Sake, kamikaze, karate, futon. They're all pronounced wrong in English.

      In Japanese vowels always sound the same. A sounds like ah. I sounds like the vowel sound in eel. U sounds like the vowel sound in ooze. E sounds like eh. O sounds like oh.

      I know Nikon made a statement recently saying regional variations are acceptable, but the Japanese actually say it like this.

    • Wow, Whitney, where has that site been all my life?

      So if you’re Japanese, it’s KNEE con. NICK on for the British. NIGH con for yanks.

      I noticed one Japanese woman swallowed the n on the end. Is that a regional accent thing?

    • Good catch. So pronunciation in Japanese is for the most part practically unchanging. But the n sound is a bit of an exception. So is the g in ga. They can both at times sound like the ng sound we have in English. When an n starts a syllable, it's just like a normal n in English. If it ends a word, it morphs into ng. If it's followed by a bilabial sound (b, p, m) it becomes an m. At other times, it has the effect of nasalizing the following sound. The best example is 千円. Individually the first half is pronounced sen, meaning 1,000 and the second is en, which is the Japanese unit of money. But taken together it comes out sort of like seyen. It's a difficult sound to explain in writing. But anyway, I've read that that's where the English yen comes from.

      Having said that, there are some regional differences in pronunciation. Mostly it's putting the "stress" on different parts of words. I'm not super familiar with regional dialect differences, but one that I do seem to remember hearing about is that in the far western part of the country づ is pronounced differently than elsewhere. つ is pronounced tsu. づ is the voiced version and has the sound of zu, but around Hiroshima if I remember correctly, it sounds more like du, which is not a native sound in other dialects.

      And yeah, Forvo is pretty great.