The Sound of Talking: Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha & ELT

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Pecha Kucha & ELT

Pecha Kucha - 20 X 20 (Credit: Google images)

Wikipedia gives us the following info:

Pecha Kucha (Japanese: ペチャクチャ, IPA: [pet͡ɕa ku͍̥t͡ɕa], chit-chat) is a presentation methodology…

Pecha Kucha Night was devised in February 2003 by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Tokyo’s Klein-Dytham Architecture (KDa), as a way to attract people to Super Deluxe, their experimental event space in Roppongi.

In a Pecha Kucha, each presenter has 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds. Each presenter has just 6 minutes 40 seconds to explain their ideas before the next presenter takes the stage.”

Pecha Kucha. 20 images are shown on screen for 20 seconds each. 20 X 20. But for the benefit of those whom Pecha Kucha is new, first things first.

Me: What?

You: New? Pecha Kucha has been around since 2003. What do you mean, new?

Me: OK. There’s nothing new about Pecha Kucha. I’m not inventing it, only sharing it. So, let’s start with pronunciation then.

How do you say, “Pecha Kucha”? What’s the correct pronunciation? To me, it looks quite simple. It’s two words, each with 2 syllables. Here’s how I would mark the syllables:

1. Pe / cha

2. Ku / cha

That means I would say this:

1. peh / cha

2. koo / cha

Unfortunately for me, “Pecha Kucha” isn’t English. It’s Japanese.

That means I’m never going to be able to pronounce it correctly by using only two syllables. So, let’s listen to 3 people, two Japanese women, and one Japanese man, pronouncing the word, “Pecha Kucha”. Click on the link below:

Go ahead and click on the link. I’ll wait for you. 🙂

** Welcome back. Did you hear what I heard? How many syllables? You are correct. All three speakers used exactly three syllables.

My favorite speaker was the first female voice. I’ll call her “Mary”. Here’s the way she said it:

“Pecha Kucha”

1. pe
2. chahk
3. cha

Now let’s all say this together: pe/chahk/cha

Great! Now that we’ve said it, what does it mean in Japanese?

Answer: Chit-chat

Here’s how Time Magazine described it: “the onomatopoeic Japanese phrase for the sound of talking”.

To finish, I’d like to share another pronunciation of “Pecha Kucha” with you. Listen, and then you tell me which is correct:

A. Mary (you heard her already)

B. the video pronunciation

Enjoy the video…

Pinterest: Thomas Jerome Baker

Paperback books on Pinterest by Thomas Jerome Baker


About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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