for Japanese Learners, Page 4
English Pronunciation Mini-Course
for Japanese Learners
Page 4 of 4
Lesson 4: F/H sounds
I always get tickled at how many, if not most, of my students pronounce
the H sound in words like Yahoo (Yahoo.co.jp is the most visited
website in Japan) with an F sound. Thus, it sounds like "yah-FOO."
Similarly, many students pronounce "hula" also with an F sound, as in
And I guess it comes as no surprise that English words like Fuji (well,
technically a Japanese word, but spelled with an F in English) are
pronounced with an H sound, as in "HOO-jee." Hmm.
Although not as common a pronunciation problem as the TH/S, R/L, and
B/V sounds, the F/H sounds can nonetheless cause some communication
difficulties in many cases, especially for untrained ears unaccustomed
to hearing Japanese English.
The good news, though, is that not only is making the English F sound
very easy, it's exactly the same mouth position as the V sound,
touching your bottom lip to your top teeth. But with the F sound, you
just push out the air a bit more forcefully.
How to make the F sound
On the other hand, making the H sound simply requires remembering NOT to touch your bottom
lip to your top teeth. And in the case of words like '"Yahoo" and "hula," to make the HOO
sound, you just push the air out with your lips shaped like a circle or
a capital "O".
F/H sounds speaking practice
Same as before, in this video the teacher will first read
an F word from
column, and then its
similar sounding H word in the right column. Please repeat the word
pairs after the teacher, one by one, for your pronunciation practice.
touch your bottom lip to your
top teeth for the F sound, but NOT for the H sound.
Alright, good job. Please replay this video as necessary until you feel
comfortable correctly pronouncing the F and H sounds. And now on to
the F/H sounds listening practice.
F/H sounds listening practice
Now it's time for some listening practice with the F/H sounds. The
teacher will 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, you're done! Now you can check your answers by
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.
F/H sounds dictation practice
Our final exercise in this mini-course is F/H sounds sentence dictation
practice. The teacher will read 2 sentences using the F and H 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.
Ok, well done! 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.
The horses found honey in the
farm's five beehives.
The hounds failed to harm our home's high fence.
Ok, よくやった (yoku yatta)! You’re now done with Lesson
4. If you want more practice with the F/H sounds, you might want to
check your listening with an easy F/H quiz on this page.
(First read the instructions, then click on the blue "Start" arrow.
After each question, click the blue right arrow to continue the quiz on
Otherwise, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve now completed our pronunciation
mini-course! I hope you've found it useful! Best wishes with your
future English pronunciation.
1) Thanks to Brett Milliner, Asst. Professor at Tamagawa University,
for introducing me to the amazing Tellagami app.
2) Thanks also to the International Education Services
English language school in Japan as the source of much of the learning
material used in this mini-course.
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