Why romaji is bad

Q: I love your pages, but there is one thing I think you could do to make it MUCH better.  On your 1-20 video, you show the words you are saying in English.  This helps me with the pronunciation.  On other videos, you only show the words in Japanese, which I don’t know how to pronunciate.   If you were to have the words in both english and japanese, that would be most helpful.  thanks!  –  Keith

A: Hi Keith.  I can understand your frustration with this, it can often seem much easier to read the English letters.  I also know I would get many more visitors if I used them more.  But….  although it might seem that it is helping you with the pronunciation, all it is doing is making you pronounce the Japanese with an English accent.  You won’t be able to tell the difference yourself but  if you pronounce the words as they are written in English you will have a lot of difficulty being understood.  I see it all the time with people saying something that is just slightly off, but it’s totally incomprehensible for  a Japanese person who doesn’t know English (i.e. nearly everyone!)

So what to do?  Just listen to the songs!  Eventually you’ll find them sticking in your head, then you can watch the video and link the Japanese symbol to the correct sound.   This way you’ll hace the correct pronunciation and will be understood!   I promise you this will make a huge, huge difference with your learning.   Just as with anything a little extra pain at the beginning will bring much bigger rewards at the end!

Be genki,


2 Responses to “Why romaji is bad”

  1. Siddy says:

    Keith, trust Richard! I thought the same as you a few weeks ago but after forcing yourself to read hiragana you will get used it and you will speak at a more stable pace and have less of an accent!

  2. Ashley says:

    I know this to be true because once, when I was talking to my Japanese friend who was a forign exhange student, and I said the word “iie” I said it with a terrible accent and she had no idea what I said!

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