I spent a couple of hours this morning practising my Japanese accent with my teacher. I am working on a lightning talk for YAPC::Asia. I don’t know if this talk will be accepted but even if it isn’t this is an interesting learning experience. Usually it’s a text book that determines what I learn next and not something that I wrote myself. This can lead to me learning about things that I never use in day to day life and, as a consequence, things I quickly forget. The talk contains concepts that I actually want to be able to speak about. With help from a friend I now know the correct way to say “Perl” and “YAPC” in Japanese. And I also know how to talk about altering clothing.
I am having quite a few problems with my accent. It’s not terrible when I am speaking normally but speaking in a loud voice amplifies every imperfection. I am having problems with pitching and with some sounds. The length of my vowels isn’t always correct and there are sounds that I find nearly impossible to say in combination.
I’m also having problems finding my voice in Japanese. At times I sound overly girly. I end up speaking in a higher pitched voice than usual because many Japanese woman have high pitched voices. It works, in a Japanese context, but my teacher can’t imagine me sustaining it for 5 minutes. If my voice becomes too low I apparently sound scary and not friendly enough. I’m not sure where my real voice is hiding but I need to find it before the middle of October.