What Does the Fox Say? (JAPANESE COVER)

What Does the Fox Say? - AkihabaraNews.com

Better Late!
Waiting 8 months to cover the wildly popular and wildly misunderstood Ylvis tune The Fox isn't exactly bad form, but the boat has, to a certain degree, been missed. Nonetheless, it's a fine watch. And, it's nice to see that the Japanese contingent appears to be in on the joking silliness of the whole affair - whereas a surprising number of audiotards in the Western World took the Norwegian farce as yet another harbinger of our civilization's ongoing apocalyptic implosion.

That's not to say that pop music in the Western World doesn't suck these days. Because it totally sucks. Hard. Science proved that two years ago.

Whatto Dazu Zha Foxxu Say?
Of course, part of the humor of the Japanese cover is that only about 40% of the lyrics are actually pronounced correctly. And ha, ha, ha - it's not a new joke that the Japanese struggle with English pronunciation, and in all seriousness, it's a profound language barrier. But see, there is a very real, very practical reason that not many people are aware of.

For Japanese and non-Japanese alike, simple awareness of this fact can serve two purposes:

1. Bolster Japanese ESL students' confidence, alleviate the scourge of shyness, and begin the process of inoculating English learners against the devastating 'Perpetually Waiting for Impossible Perfection' syndrome.

2. Give native English speakers an understanding of the exact mechanics of why the Japanese struggle with English pronunciation. This will make us more understanding and linguistically compassionate and less likely to make fun of them so much (uhhhh... maybe). 

The Fact is This:
All told, pronouncing the Japanese lexicon involves squishing air out of your mouth hole to produce about 400 unique sound structures (not phonemes, more complicated than that) and arranging them into various verbal configurations, e.g., 「カラオケ」、ka-ra-o-ke. Or, "carry oki," as most of the rest of the dumb world says.

Now, Because modern English is the bastard child of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Olde English, and a mishmash of globally sourced words and phrases and stuff, fluency in speaking requires about 2000 unique sound structures. And that's why learning English is hard as hell.

Cow goes む。

• • •

Thanks, Nayalan.

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