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  • Writer's pictureJinx Chin

Singing a Foreign Language Song

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Just for fun, I started recording myself singing karaokes of some of my most favorite songs. These are songs that have at one time or another in my life, been on my "shower song" repertoire. Some of these songs are actually in languages other than English. One such song is a song by Jay Chou called "Ju Hua Tai".

Through the years, I would just hum the song whenever it came on. Since I don't speak, read or write a word of Chinese (OK I can at least write my name in Chinese characters), I never even read the lyrics, let alone memorize them. So when I decided to cover the song recently, I was a little intimidated because I was quite concerned that I wouldn't do the song justice in terms of the Chinese lyric pronunciation.

Thankfully, there are lyric websites that have the lyrics to the song in Pinyin (the official romanization system for Chinese characters). Even so, I wasn't getting the pronunciation exactly right. I had to learn the system of how the romanized words translate to the actual pronunciation of some of the consonants in Chinese. I even went to YouTube to watch different singers sing the song, to make sure what I was singing sounded like what they were singing.

To help with this, I actually rewrote the lyrics phonetically as close to how I heard it when watching these native Chinese singers sing the song, with my own spelling and everything.

I found that this really helped a lot. So when I actually recorded myself, I placed my rewritten lyrics on my computer screen, and sang the song to that instead of the Pinyin lyrics.

I found that after a while of singing the song with my own version of the lyrics, I was able to relate the sound to the actual Pinyin version and soon after that, I kind of learned how to read the Pinyin version with much less mistakes.

Then it was time to record. myself!

Here is the video of the recording.

I have since checked with some of my Chinese speaking friends and they have said that I got the pronunciation pretty much right, about 95 percent. Yeah. I'm happy with that grade! Now I just need to know what the song actually means!

Additional NOTE: I just found out that the lyric site I used for the lyrics to the song had one or two of the chinese characters (and therefore the PinYin version) wrongly written, so my pronunciation of one or two of the words was wrong. Oh well, who cares hahaha!

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