Guess Who

Anyone who has seen Lost in Translation and Bill Murray’s “Lip my stockings!” incident has a general notion of the Japanese troubles with English pronunciation. Throughout my classroom visits and repeated “Herro, Brandon-sensi!”, I have a pretty good idea of which sounds my students have trouble saying. Just like the English alphabet lacks the deep-throated German “kk” or the tongue-rolling Spanish “rr,” the Japanese syllabary lacks any “th-,” “l-,” “j-,” “v-,” or “f-” sounds. I lucked out with a relatively easy name: Bu-ran-don. However, had some of you taken my place here in Japan, you might have given your students some interesting tongue twisters. Below is a list of some of your more enigmatic names in romaji (meaning with Japanese pronunciation). See if you can guess who:

Ruu-su
Ra-rii
Hu-ran-ku
Gei-ru
E-do-waa-do
Ro-baa-to
E-ri-za-be-su
Ba-re-rii
Su-ko-tto
E-ri-o-tto
Kya-sa-rin
Zyon
Ri-tya-do
Poo-ru
U-i-ru-son

And some names of places:
Ro-su-an-ze-ru-su
Baa-zi-ni-a
Shya-ri-tsu-bi-ru

Give up? Here’s the answer key:

Ruth
Larry
Frank
Gail
Edward
Robert
Elizabeth
Valerie
Scott
Elliot
Katherine
John
Richard
Paul
Wilson

Locations:
Los Angeles
Virginia
Charlottesville

And of course, more Jeopardy entertainment: In response to the question “In America, what meat do most people eat on Thanksgiving? (Hint: it’s a bird),” I received as answers “Christmas Eve” and “9-1-1.”

Then, when asked to try to spell my name in English, one boy wrote on the board, “Brandon Clown.” I think I like that better.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ko-te-ni on October 24, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Your understanding of katakana English/Foreign Words are coming along nicely! Good romanization there, Superman.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Ko-te-ni on October 24, 2008 at 7:33 am

    *is* coming along nicely…. sorry.

    Reply

  3. This is why I still say Hoe-tay-ru (phonetically). I love reading your blog.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Nicole on October 25, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Brandon Clown…like clowns juggling hands? could be…

    Reply

  5. Posted by rrrika on October 30, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    we need white giant updates bran! loving your blog, big hug. and a little jig.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Elio on November 18, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    i love brandon clown.

    Reply

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