for Japanese Learners, Page 2
English Pronunciation Mini-Course
for Japanese Learners
Page 2 of 4
Lesson 2: R/L sounds
Because there's no L sound in the Japanese language, most English
words with an L get pronounced with an R sound. As you can imagine,
this creates many opportunities for some very
Shortly after I first arrived in Japan, one of my students asked me if
I liked the taste of Japanese lice. And there was another student who
proudly inquired, "Wolff-sensei, did you know we're having a BIG
erection this Sunday?" Hmm, sounds exciting.
One of the funniest things I've ever seen thru the years regarding R/L
sounds was the 1988 book by Miranda Kenrick entitled "Is that 'L' as
in Rome? No, it's 'R' as in London." Hilarious stuff!
The good news, though, is that making the English L sound is not only a
piece of cake (asameshimae, 朝飯前), but it's exactly the same mouth
position as for making the TH sound. Just touch your tongue to your top
teeth. That's IT!
In my humble professional opinion, all the endless online debates and
videos on where exactly you should place your tongue...forward
position, back position, touch it to the tip of your teeth, touch it to
the back of your teeth, force your air out THIS way or THAT way....OMG.
No No No! It's simply NOT
R/L sounds speaking practice
As in Lesson 1, in this video the teacher will first read an R word from
column, and then its
similar sounding L word in the right column. Please repeat the word
pairs after the teacher, one by one, for your pronunciation practice.
The same as with the TH sound, remember to
touch your tongue
top teeth for the L sound.
very good. Please replay this video as necessary until you feel
comfortable correctly pronouncing the R and L sounds. And now on to
the R/L sounds listening practice. Do your best!
R/L sounds listening practice
Now it's time for some listening practice with the R/L sounds. The
teacher will now read 10 words from either the left column or the right
column. Please write down your answers on a piece of paper. He will say
each word twice.
Ok, congratulations! Now you can check your answers by clicking
below on the
“Show/Hide answers” link, which will reveal the 10 words which the
teacher just said. If you got more than 3 or 4 answers wrong, you might
want to do this listening exercise again for more practice.
Our final Lesson 2 exercise is the R/L sounds sentence dictation
practice. The teacher will read 2 sentences using the R and L sounds
and you should write down the sentences on a piece of paper as best you
can. The teacher will say each sentence 3 times, the 2nd time more
slowly than native speed.
R/L sounds dictation practice
Ok, good job! You can now check your answers by clicking below on the
“Show/Hide answers” link, which will reveal the 2 sentences which the
teacher just said. If you found this difficult, you might want to try
this dictation exercise again for more practice.
Rhonda broke her left wrist while
flying her purple kite in the rain.
Jerry and Linda drank cola sitting in the green grass.
You’re now done with Lesson 2. If you're ready to
start Lesson 3, B/V sounds, you can proceed now to Page 3.
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