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Why do Japanese mix up “L” and “R”?

Why do Japanese mix up “L” and “R”?

Herro America. Congratulations Donald Trump winning ze e(r)ections. Oh my God Jun you can’t talk like that it’s so racist. It’s so racist. So apparently that’s the stereotype how Asian people pronounce L and R sound in English But like Japanese people don’t really speak like that Although we do have problems telling the difference between L and R sounds, right? Japanese has “ra ri ru re ro” as sounds which are Romanized as R’s. Which is why we say ramen in English. R-A-M-E-N. But it’s not actually an R. It’s like halfway between an R and an L. And kind of like a D in there a little bit sometimes too. Yeah, like when we pronounce “ra re ru re ro,” the tip of your tongue touches the back of your higher teeth. So higher teeth and lower teeth–your tongue touches here. So I think it’s the same as L sound? Yeah. So it’s pronounced more like an L but it kind of sounds closer to an R for us. So that’s why when Japanese people hear the English L and R, it’s hard for them to differentiate between the two because their sounds are like right in the middle. So if there’s a word that Japanese people don’t know, and they can tell that there’s either an R or L there, then they’re usually guessing whichever one they think it might be. (Because we can’t tell) Which could be wrong. So, if a Japanese person is speaking English, then their R can turn into an L or their L can turn into an R. It can go either way. It’s not that horrible stereotypical “Herro” accent. And Japanese people don’t even do that really strong R anyway. “Herro.” No, no we don’t. Right? That would be like “Hello, herro.” So even though Jun’s English is REALLY good –he basically sounds like a native English speaker– he still has issues with the R and L sometimes. Even though sometimes I know he knows what the word is, he says the wrong one. Like you said “diffelence” the other day. Like three days ago. I don’t remember, but maybe I have. “DiffeLence.” And we have a lot of cases like this. Do you know where we’re going? Red Robster. Today, we’re just going to test me telling the difference between L and R sounds. I’m going to read Jun’s words in English and he’s going to repeat them and try to guess whether they’re R or L s I’m gonna fail. Ok Jun. Hai? (Yes.) If you don’t get all of these correct, Hai. (Yes) I will divorce you. What? This is America – we speak english here. But we are in Japan?! [ Lovely ] Lovely. L… and L. Lovely. Squirrel. Um… Squirrel… so R and L? Squirrel? Leery. What? Leery. Ree-ly. Leery. Ree- Okay. Ree-ly. K. It’s– What does that mean? And what is it? It’s you’re wary of something. You’re cautious about something. Okay. Leery. Piña Colada. Piña… I like piña coladas. Can you stop singing and just say the word again please. Piña colada. Piña colada. I like piña coladas. Is it L? Yeah. Okay. Drearily. Durilyly. Durilyly. Drill? Like drill? And adverb -ly? Drearily. Wait. Sounds R. How many R’s does this word have. I can’t tell you. This is a listening comprehension test. Drearily. Durilyly. Yes, it’s perfect. Drearily. It’s an R-R-L. There are three. R-R-L. What does that mean? It means drill a -ly. Good job. It means nothing. What does that mean? Rivalry. It sounds like the toshokan “library.” Right. I can tell that it’s different but I cannot tell how they are different. Its like the same word. Library. Rivalry. Okay. I think the first one is not L, it’s R. Rivalry. No, it’s not rivalry. Say it again? Rivalry. Rivalry. How many syllables does it have? I can’t tell. It’s the same number of syllables as library. 3? I mean 2? Rivalry? Yeah. It’s 3 syllables. Good job. Allele. A-Areele It’s either “Areel” or “Allele” I can’t tell the difference. Allele. Allele? Areel, no. Allele. Two L’s. Alright. I got a tongue twister for you. Red lorry, yellow lorry. Is it the flower? No it’s like a truck. I think it’s a British word for truck. Truck? Lorry. Sorry it’s…hard. Alright, I just made one. Larry loyally likes Lori, and rarely revels in rivalry. Can you speak Japanese please? I don’t even know if I can do this by ear. I have a sentence right here I can read. Did I say it right? First? No. Good job Jun. A+ *Crap crap crap* Oh my God. Jun you’re being so racist right now. There, um, there are actually Japanese words that are really hard for us to pronounce too. We’ll have to have another show down later. And then you can make fun of me for not being able to pronounce absolutely anything in katakana. I’m not making fun of you, but is it hard for you to pronounce? It’s extremely–It’s impossible. I can’t do it. So hard. Also if you guys want more information about Japan, there are some subjects that are better suited to written format, rather than videos. So, I’ve started writing articles on Odigo. I’ll link them down there in the description. If you want to read any of them. Right now I have one comparing the different methods of transportation in Japan. So what’s cheapest, what’s fastest, what’s most comfortable, etc. If you wanna know, it’s just written there. You don’t have to listen to me talk. Just read it. Sounds right. Okay. Thank you guys for watching! We’ll see you later! Bye! Oh yeah I guess we have to get divorced now. Shame. Bye. Move your mouth like this. Your lip goes up. You can’t lift your lips? Make your mouth wider. No. Not a smile. No. Why can’t you not–

100 thoughts on “Why do Japanese mix up “L” and “R”?


    Okay how about danish.
    pronounce these

    Hej mit navn er Jun,
    Jeg kommer fra Japan.
    Jeg elsker at drille andre mennesker med min madlavning.

    And the last one.
    Rød Grød med Fløde

  2. This is a hard "l"like Л in Russian, which is more common in Eastern European languages. English uses the soft "l"

  3. Is it sad i pronounced every thing the same as he did but i know how to spell all these words and their definitions

  4. in the philippines it goes:
    "she cennat bred. mai seestehr went to a pool and drownd becas she cennat bred." or "pipty pibe"

  5. WE NEED SOME JAPANESE LESSONS WITH JUN! (I'm really good at pronouncing romanicized japanese! Like…if it's spelled out in English letters, I can pronounce almost anything!)

  6. 聞きたいんだが、ちょっと会話してる人の距離があったり早口だったりしたときに

  7. Do westerners have just as big of an issue saying the half L, half R sound? It takes me back to Steins;Gate 0 where that westerner calls Rintaro, "Lintarlo" – intentional pronouncing the L in the place of an R – and Rintaro is like WTF?

  8. A Japanese man and Chinese man introducing themselves.
    J: Herro. I am Tanaka-San
    C:I am Lee.
    J: Ree? nice to meet you ree.
    J:Thats right Ree..

  9. If a british person was saying these words and speaking slowly and clearly, i think he would be able to tell the difference between L and R more easily. She has a reasonably strong american accent and should try speaking more slowly and pronouncing her Ls better.

  10. "The pearl is in the liver"
    Under the Rainbow (1981).
    The humor is unsophisticated and offensive, but how many movie plots are based on a little-person going to Hollywood to be an extra on The Wizard of Oz and running into Nazi and Japanese spies.

  11. You have to pronounce the words correctly so he can get them. If you don't pronounce them the right way he will get them wrong. That isn't even fair. Like Drearily. Dr ear ily Dr earily.

  12. "Leer" is also the name of a move in Pokemon. (It lowers the opponent's defense one stage and your first Pokemon often knows this or Growl.)

    I would like to point out that the Japanese R is a "tongue flap" where the tongue flaps against the alveolar ridge of your mouth. It is exactly the same as "liTTle" or "miDDle" in English, but we only use this sound before a syllabic R or L.

    English R or L can be either consonants or syllables. It sounds like Jun is very good at making the American R, which is quite unique to American English. (You make a narrow O shape with your mouth and hold your tongue in the center so it isn't touching anything.) The L consonant sound is more like a linguo-dental glide (tongue touches the bottom/back of your teeth and you make a "voiced" sound with your vocal cords).

    The syllabic versions are more like holding these sounds as though they are vowels. (They are classified as vowels in linguistics.) You'll see them a lot at the end of words like middLe and litER (Brit: litRE) but also sometimes in the middle of words such as wORd and wORld, but not "or", and in pULse or ULtra.

  13. they dont mix them up
    they like roll the r's like the spanish do
    and dont know how to say l's and must say it differently from how they say r because they are different

    like in japan they say ra ra instead of la la because there isnt an l
    if they had an l then that would be considered an r to us and their r would be an l and we would be asking why they say r's as l's

    i havent watched the video yet

  14. I couldn't understand the difference of R or L.When I was a
    junior high school student, I tried this test.But I missed all quiz.(T_T)

    I'm sorry.Thank you for your reading.

  15. Even many europeans mixing up L and R, but we have special doctors for that called "logopedist", in English it's probably called different, but I am sure they have such doctors too. They are not technicaly doctors, more like teachers of speaking for little kids. This test is not fair because English has very hard pronunciation and it's very hard to guess how it's written if you don't know that word, In English you must remember most of the words. It's not like my language where you can write everything what you hear without problem. And ofcourse English has silent R so technicaly it's not even real R. If you make this test with language with normal sounded R you can't confuse it for L.

  16. Меня немного удивляет что тут есть русские сабы, но так мало русских комментариев

  17. I'm not Japanese, but I'm Indian which is considered a part of Asia. We do pronounce 'L' in our language, but when I speak Japanese, it sounds like I'm Japanese, so as far Japanese is concerned, we have same pronounciation, so I get what you mean lol.

  18. Rachel makes me go coo coo for Cocoa Puffs! Not to be disrespectful or creepy, but she is like pure milk topped with red candy! She loves cats and seems very smart. Jun has scored in the top .0005 percentile. Good work sir!

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