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Linguaholic

Why does the Japanese have a hard time with the "L" sound?


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I always notice that every time a Japanese tries to speak in English, the L sound is converted into R.  Is there a particular reason for this?  I'm not sure if this is true with all Japanese but most seem to have trouble with the letter L.

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Honestly it's as simple as the fact that they don't use L in their own language.

The same way we would have a hard time saying some sounds in some african language, or arabic language, they have a hard time saying sounds they are not used to.

Surely we could argue that with every new language you are learning, there are new sounds and all, but atleast for me, I feel that japanese isn't actually that far away in terms of "raw-sounds", most of the sounds they use are already in use in english. (If you read Remembering the Kana, you would of course know this already).

It does however sound a bit funny when they name an anime "Braku Burretu" or something like that, when it's named "Black Bullet", and "Braku Burretu" is simply their way of saying it. I may have spelled that romaji wrong, I don't quite remember how they spelt it... But yeah, if they change the sounds when they speak english, I wouldn't be surprised.

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Like Lasonax has said, Japanese doesn't have a "L" in their language. The closest we get is "R" sound in ら (ra), り (ri), る (ru), れ (re), ろ (ro). So it's difficult for the Japanese to pronounce the "L" sound.

Names like "Lisa" in Japanese are pronounced Risa for that reason.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Honestly it's as simple as the fact that they don't use L in their own language.

The same way we would have a hard time saying some sounds in some african language, or arabic language, they have a hard time saying sounds they are not used to.

Surely we could argue that with every new language you are learning, there are new sounds and all, but atleast for me, I feel that japanese isn't actually that far away in terms of "raw-sounds", most of the sounds they use are already in use in english. (If you read Remembering the Kana, you would of course know this already).

It does however sound a bit funny when they name an anime "Braku Burretu" or something like that, when it's named "Black Bullet", and "Braku Burretu" is simply their way of saying it. I may have spelled that romaji wrong, I don't quite remember how they spelt it... But yeah, if they change the sounds when they speak english, I wouldn't be surprised.

Pretty interesting and quite funny too (Braku Burretu  :grin:).

I really don't notice the many "R"s while hearing Japanese talk in their native language. It only gets highly noticeable when they started talking in English.  Thanks guys.  :smile:

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