Pronounciation trouble

Asked 4 years ago

I'm having trouble with pronouncing  ら り る れ ろ.. Whenever I say them, they sound like some kind of weird mashup of L and R and sometimes I end up getting completely tongue tied with it, are there any ways I can improve or is it just practice?



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2 Answers


Japanese as a language will tie your tongue in knots, so don't worry, that's quite normal.

Re: pronunciation, the 'r' sound is like the (first) 'r' in 'rather', then you just change the vowel sounds after that. There's listening exercises on here so just imitate what you hear there, it's not too difficult.

Failing that if you watch anime/dramas or listen to J-pop songs (any media with an audio component will do, so it's down to your own personal taste) that's a good way to hear people speaking.

Note however some J-pop singers overpronounce the 'r' to the point it sounds like an 'l' but that's just a singing pronunciation vs spoken pronunciation thing (the same principle applies to how British singers sometimes sing in what sounds like an American accent compared to how they speak naturally).



Answered 4 years ago

I see. Thank you :)

Commented 4 years ago


I would like to share the article about how to pronunce Japanese R (Ra Ri Ru Re Ro):

If you are not after perfect accent, my easy answer is to pronounce them as English "la, li, lu, le, lo". In other words, just use English "L". In fact, Japanese R is sometimes pronounced exactly as English L when it is after Hiragana . The only difference between Japanese R and English L is that the Japanese R is a tap sound, meaning that your tongue touches the gum behind your upper front teeth for a very short time only once, e.g. touch and go quickly. But the English L is an approximant, meaning that the tongue is brought close to the gum behind the upper front teeth. If you are speaker of American English, the "tt" in "better" is a kind of tap sound. 


Answered 4 years ago