Posted by: senseimeri | January 17, 2011

15 or 50?

Sometimes when I talk to a Japanese person, I cannot understand whether they are saying 15 or 50. I don’t know if Japanese people notice this, but when speaking to a native English speaker it can cause miscommunication and the native speaker will probably ask you to say the number again. But fortunately, this is a pronunciation/intonation flaw which can be easily fixed just by changing the tone of your voice, especially for American English.

The black line is the tone. Fifteen is pronounced with emphasis on the teen. Fifty is pronounced with a sudden drop in tone when saying ty. Of course, this can also be used with other numbers such as 13, 30, 18, 80, etc.

So the next time you say a number, be careful that you use emphasis on tone. After all, language is not just words, it is also music. 🙂 If you have any questions, let me know… Happy learning!

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