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#20 Bad Pronunciation

Posted February 29th, 2008 by Peter · 26 Comments

Asian people are very capable of learning the intricacies and grammar of a language. However, past the critical stages of lingual learning (1-7 years old, asians have to cope with not being able to pronounce words in other languages, especially English, correctly. This is true of nearly all asians that arrive in the United States after the age of 15, when the human brain begins to lose its plasticity.

“What!?” Is this a boring bio lesson on Stuff Asian People Like?!

(Heck no.) Asians have a way with languages. When words come out of asian mouths, they are more refined and articulate. However, this is only true to the eye of the asian. Take Fried Rice for example. Asians are known to say, “Flied Lice.” This holds true only in some asian languages where the L and R are non-present consonant sounds (when they are in the beginning of words). These languages, such as Japanese, usually carry the L or R sound in the middle. In the same category are words like “flo (for)” and “larely (rarely).”

Other asians learn simply by listening. These asians will wind up cursing by saying things like “mother-father” and “thuck you” or “shamit!” 1st Generation Asian parents are the best at mispronunciation because they have probably just heard the new word and want to show their mad skills to their children. Asian children know when their parents have just talked to their salon friends when they are asked about if they want to apply to “Habard (Harvard), Yeild (Yale), Pu-rini-ston (Princeton), or Stamfurt (Stanford).”

Due to the nature of asian languages, intonations and slurs are very important. In American *english* these slurs and intonations are bland and odd-sounding. Asians, for that reason, give more emphasis to certain vowels. “Do your deeeeeshes” or “Clean Yaaaaa-ore room!” In Asian *asian languages* these long slurs and intonations are signs of annoyance and disrespect. They could also be suggestive of marriage.

The next time you are in an Asian county or area, try these new things out. Order some “flied lice” or talk to the local women about “Stamfurt” and if their “dothers” will be accepted, because chances are that they won’t know the difference. They won’t care either.

Email from Contributor: I first had Chinese food when I and friends used to pop into a restaurant in South Kensington after a Prom and share a couple of spring rolls and some fried rice. I’m embarrassed to say that we called it ‘Flied Lice” and in front of the waiters” -anonymous

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Tags: Activities · Comedy · Culture · Environment · People · Words

26 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Justin // Mar 1, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    hilarioso!!! =)

  • 2 non asian who lived in asia // Mar 2, 2008 at 3:44 am

    thanks for letting me know ‘that site’ has been stealing all your cute and funny ideas…

  • 3 Bad Copy Cat! // Mar 3, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    These are supposed to be stuff Asian people like??? I don’t think Asians actually like to mispronounce as much as it is difficult for them mimic the American accent. I do think they try their best but to say they take pride of mis-pronounciation is inaccurate.

    I so want to like this site but I don’t know… it doesn’t have nearly the ‘bite’ as the white ppl blog.

  • 4 That Guy // Mar 4, 2008 at 2:03 am

    i somewhat agree. The white people one is more satirical and exposes the quirks of upper middle class liberal whites (i.e. White people like to know what’s best for the poor, or white people like to be culturally diverse) .

    The asian people one doesn’t do that, but instead pokes fun at asian culture only in a literal manner (asian people like honda civics, har har).

    I’d like this blog to point out more minute details of asian culture rather than just the obvious ones.

  • 5 StereoTypicalAsian // Mar 5, 2008 at 7:27 am

    I guess you haven’t heard an American people trying to speak Japanese or Korean. It’s pretty funny, but Asians actually understand that it is difficult for non-native speaker to speak another language. They are actually very encouraging to those who try.

  • 6 Michael // Mar 6, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Yes I also don’t think this is funny. Stuff White People Like is already very much on the edge to racism, stereotypes and discrimination but at least it allows the white American majority to question itself and see itself with different eyes. It is actually written for white people.

    Stuff Asian People like is obviously not written for asian people but for white people to make either fun of asians or in the best case, learn something about asian culture.

    If you’re not asian you will have a very hard time riding on this thin edge between irony and racism and will create not self-questioning but support racial stereotypes. Please think about what you’re actually doing here.

  • 7 AsianGal // Mar 6, 2008 at 3:19 am

    That’s funny because I’m asian and I could connect to all the posts…that’s why I come back daily because even if the posts don’t go in depth, it’s a good laugh to see minor nuances and think of other nuances of my own culture. If I can’t connect, some posts pose a few points and push me to question why my parents or relatives do the things they do!

    Although, there are always exceptions…especially very americanized asians or exceptions in general. Generalizations are again, generalizations (don’t take it too seriously). As an Asian, this site serves great entertainment value and I’d like to encourage these writers to continue to ask, Why are things this way for Asians? Even if it’s not perfect. Since I’ve really enjoyed this site, I really want to support the people who write daily to continue writing and share their views. This is America and people are allowed to share their opinions on things they care about and it is not in their control what people make about of it. Some can see it as providing great laughter and others cannot connect to it, and that’s fine.

    I feel like I’ve learned a lot about what other Asian culture that I’ve not been aware of. I think that you should just keep an open mind and take entertainment for entertainment..and somewhere down the line, meaning can spring out of anywhere or anything. My 2 cents for all those people who like to compare. SWPL and SAPL attract different audiences and different community of writers with different goals and purposes. I can see how you can like SWPL and think this site is only for white people to learn about Asians. Either you are an americanized asian who grew up embracing American culture or you are white/non-asian and you can connect more to SWPL (maybe their fan). Asian Americans can easily connect to SWPL because they are grown up in American. Now take the reverse, are there many white/european/even american-born-asian or other non-asian people who immigrate to or were raised in Asia? You would agree rarely, maybe for business, but very rarely. Therefore, it may seem white people would like to come to SAPL to learn more about Asians because they obvious know less than Asian Americans knowing white culture, but Asian Americans alike…like me, who were born in America or immigrated when we were young, we see these posted things maybe not in our own lives..but in Asia or in other Asian families. Asian culture vary from family to family.

    Stuff Asian People Like allows me to think and understand more about why Asian people do the things they do…and not fear it, look down upon it, but rather understand where they are coming from and be more accepting. I’m also able to see the uniqueness of my asian ethnicity…you’ll find that asians are so different and vary from being born in Asia, born in America, immigrated to America when young, immigrated or came to American for study when they’re older. levels of connection to these stereotypes from how much influence does american or non-asian culture have on you or how much you yourself want to separate or ignore where you were from because it takes too much work to even try (esp. when you’re not living in Asia). However, I hate to see people comparing oranges to apples. Please take it for what it is.

  • 8 Eugenia // Mar 6, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    actually i don’t really agree with that…yes it’s true that it’s hard for many asians to learn to speak english properly after the age of 15 or so..but i think that really depends on the fact that if they’ve had proper education too. I moved here to the States when I was 16 and I currently work in a american place where I am the only asian in the office. My boss and coworkers had no clue i was foreign born becasue according to them I speak just like everyone else does. Another example being my engineering phsycis professor. He got his undergrad degree and moved here after that for his maters and phd and he speaks just fine. I think this english part is pretty much a stereotype. it’s like are you gonna make fun of non asian people trying to learn asian languages? it’s the same deal…

  • 9 Just bad // Mar 8, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    To me this blog seems like it’s written by somebody who is also Americanized. Most of the things are more about Chinese or Japanese people than the general Asian public. It is not representative at all and should not mislead people by claiming that it’s stuff Asian people like. Chinese people are as different from Middle Eastern people as they are from white people. The things written here are not liked by people that are actually living in Asia, more for Asian people living in North America. So if you are non-Asian and want to learn about Asian people, I don’t know how much you are going to learn.

  • 10 YASPY Chick // Mar 11, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I think the accent thing depends on how you were educated in the old country if you’re an “accentless FOB.” Those from snooty International Schools or even English immersion schools in Hong Kong tend not to have a “foreign” accent and speak standard American, Canadian or British English.

    My parents, though very fluent English speakers, never taught me the language beyond “hello”, “goodbye”, “please” and “thank you.” They wanted me to learn at school, through people who speak standard Canadian. You can’t really do that today, at least not in Toronto. Too many kids in class come from the same situation.

  • 11 Anonymous // Mar 26, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    The accent thing is because of the way your brain develops and is true of any person learning any foreign language later in life.
    You are born with more neurons than you end up with as an adult. As you learn to do various things at a young age (including language), then ones that you use are specialized for that purpose. The ones that you don’t use as much die off. The process is called pruning.
    This is why it is difficult for me as an English speaker to begin learning Spanish at 34. My neurons aren’t specialized to roll Rs. My brain is less plastic. It’s not as if the entire nation of Japan (I know this blog is overall Asian focused, but the specific stereotype seems to be most often directed to the Japanese) got together and decided collectively decided to swap “l” and “r” sounds.
    It’s Biology. And it’s making it really difficult for my old brain to learn Spanish since I’ve gone back to school. But that doesn’t stop me from trying my darndest and butchering the language. Props to anyone who learns to be even a mediocre speaker of a second language past the age of 5. It’s quite a task.

  • 12 josie // Jul 16, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    I think this site is pretty clear in that it is about Asians living in North America.

  • 13 LL // Sep 18, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    I’ve also noticed that a lot of chinese from china don’t pronounce the last letter of a word. Like for “card” they say “car”.
    I know this because I live in a mostly chinese immigrant area.

  • 14 heaps of notes // Oct 8, 2008 at 4:33 am

    ‘card’ in Chinese character is ‘ 卡’ pronounces ‘ka’ which is the same pronunciation as car. In your case, some Chinese people just lazy to say the last letter as they feel familiar with that.

  • 15 hi // Dec 28, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I only wish that I could learn a language and speak it properly – so to have a few pronounciation issues is ok I think

  • 16 dbals // Jan 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Man. ROTFL :-) A Good blog. I’m an Indian-asian and I enjoyed this post.
    Most of what’s written here can be applied for Indian diaspora without any change.
    Except this one, it has to divided into different subtopics one for each language spoken there.
    No need to take this seriously. You can’t control an Accent you can neutralize it at best. As long as your grammar is good and the person on the other side able to understand, you’re good.
    I find it arrogant that some english-speaking folks don’t make even a simple effort to understand what a foreigner is saying even if the person’s pronounciation isn’t all that bad. They outright refuse hear any more and reject them saying I don’t understand anything.
    It’s not just the common public. Look at the news media, it is not uncommon to see a leading news media journalist question foreign dignitaries using some difficult words, startling the person and forcing him to guess. The same question can be easily rephrased using simple words. They lack even the basic courtesy/knowledge on how to speak to someone who’s speaking just-enough english.

  • 17 dbals // Jan 5, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Oh…here are some American pronounciation of Indian names.
    dikshit -(deek-sheet) pronounced as “dick shit”
    bhat – (bhhut) pronounced as “butt”
    Ashol – (Ash-ole) as “Ass hole”
    Bolvinder – (Bol-win-der) as “ball winder”

  • 18 Heat Moon // Feb 22, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    “Stamfurt”, oh gosh. My dad tosses that one around like a paper airplane. As much as I adore this blog and everyone who comments here, I don’t think Bad Pronunciation is something that Asians like. It’s definitely something they engage in or (in most cases) can’t get rid off, but seriously… who seriously likes a Chinese accent? (it’s great for laughs though)

  • 19 godcyning // Mar 27, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I don’t normally mind pointing out the occasional stereotype here and there, be it Asian or white, as long as it’s done with satirical cleverness or offers lesser-known insights (Asians liking iced coffee…I know I do, but I didn’t think that was a widespread thing!). But bad pronunciation isn’t something Asians like…it’s a fact of life for anyone who speaks English non-natively.

    Chinese – or Mandarin, at least – only ends words with no consonant (‘ma’), or an -n or -ng (‘man’, ‘mang’). Or -r, rarely (‘er’). So it wouldn’t be unexpected if a complex ending like -rd in English ‘card’ becomes just -r, or heck, [r] is a hard sound in general for ANY non-native English speaker, so maybe you get just ‘ca’. You’d get this in native speakers too, though, if you were in Boston, or the UK, or Australia. I mean, who knows how foreigners learned English? Chances are it wasn’t from a native English speaker, but it could just as easily have been that the English they’re taught, the phonetics they have in their textbooks, is based on something other than American English. It isn’t exactly fair to say an r-less pronunciation of “car” is bad, if that’s the predominant native English pronunciation outside the US and Canada. But I guess, when in America, say ‘car’ with an r if you want to fit in.

    But I mean, you could pick apart any foreign accent this way. French people can’t say th, so it’s ze sings (the things). English has a bunch of consonants and vowels that are just plain uncommon in the world’s languages, so it’s naturally hard for people to pick up as their 2nd language. [th] is hard, [r] is hard, lots of consonants in a row is hard (do native speakers even pronounce the ‘k’ in asked???). English vowels are particularly complicated, and the antiquated spelling system certainly doesn’t help.

  • 20 nara // Mar 30, 2009 at 12:45 am

    my god, this entry is soo stupid

    the author is OBVIOUSLY americanized or at least born overseas (from where theyre from originally)

    of COURSE asians mispronouced stuff its beCAUSE its NOT our first language. DUH
    if americans learn vietnamese of course they cant get the accent 100% correctly.

    go home to your country and start appreciate things. the world does NOT revolve in AMERICA.

    go learn some culture

    i think only ABC’s (any asians that were born in US) could write this blog. i dont think any international students i know would write these.
    wannabes! abcs are not asians, most of them doenst even know anything about their countries.

  • 21 ABC // Apr 17, 2009 at 2:39 am

    I think this is hilarious. Not because of the points made by the author but the way this was written. The beginning gives someone the idea that this is an FYI but the conclusion is apparently a ridiculous statement (which is not true by the way).

    It is not fair to say ASIANS (even if there is the word OTHER) when the Asians being referred to are only the Japanese and Chinese. Considering that the Asia is a big continent and that the people are very diverse (wrong labeling). Moreover, learning a language (1st, 2nd, or n…) is a lifelong process. I assume that the author’s vocabulary may not even be half of the words found in the English dictionary or even the ones being commonly used.

    It is understandable for the Japanese and Chinese to mispronounce some words and if they suck at grammar. The thing is, the effort is there. However, for someone who brags to be good at his native language (e.g. a native American speaker) but who definitely commits grammatical errors regardless of his fluency in speaking is still stupid (in a subtle way, but the bottom line is, he is stupid).

    I don’t want to sound mean, but really, entertainment is funny if it is meant to entertain and not to do some mockery.

    Go in Singapore or Philippines, and try to do what you have suggested. Let’s see if you don’t become a laughingstock.

  • 22 tay riley // May 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    wow. what bullshit site. being asian, i am deeply ashamed of and annoyed at this website right now.
    it was probably not even written by asians. what asian would make fun of thier own asian accent, and say that other asians like it???? FUCKING DUMB. i’m so angry right now i have to leave. i hope whoever wrote this gets run over by a honda civic. fucking dumb, racist ignorant ass bitch.

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  • 24 Girl Here // Aug 5, 2011 at 1:59 am

    ABC, Usually when people think of Asians, they think of people who have the black hair, “yellow skin” and the “chinky” or somewhat asian eyes. They usually don’t give a shit about Indians, or such.

  • 25 ilovehorseyrides // Aug 14, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    This is how my parents pronounces English words:

    caah-sino (casino)

    eck-sai-size (exercise)
    expire-ation day (expiration date)
    i-pet/i-pat/i-pack (iPad)

    They even call a loaf of bread a “sandwich”!!!

    I’m considering enrolling them in ESL classes… LOL

  • 26 ilovehorseyrides // Sep 17, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    My parents pronounce “trick or treat” as “Chuck E Cheese”

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