Asian languages...?

Serious question....when one who has Chinese or Japanese or another asian language as a first language, why is it hard to pronounce the "L" sound? It sounds like the "R" sound is substituted. Is there no "L" like letter in their languages??? Totally serious here....

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In Japanese there is a sound closer to r than l - but not both.

    In Mandarin - there is a clear l sound - but they have a retroflex r sound (your tongue is further back).

    In Cantonese, there is an l but no r.

    In Korean, there is a sound half way between r and l. ~= rl.

    In Mongolian and Turkic languages there are clearly both.

    Some clusters are really hard to pronounce for non-native speakers. "Fl" and "fr" are *really* hard. My Japanese friends always confuse azayaka with niku --- i.e. "fresh" and "flesh."

    I had a Japanese friend who lived on "Rural Road" --- it was alaways so fun to ask her where she lived.... "raaruru roodo?" "laaru road?" etc.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I hope no Chinese or Japanese are offended by this question and take this in good faith; but to ask why is it hard would be the same as to ask native English speakers why they can't speak languages other than English properly.

    Have you heard how ridiculous it can sound when an American speaks Hindi, or Cantonese or Mandarin or Japanese or Malay or Spanish or German or Portuguese or (list goes on and on...). I'm pretty sure the native speakers of these languages would agree...

    Just a thought.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Serious answer... My mother tongue is Cantonese, but I luckily escaped the fate of pronouncing the 'r's like 'l's. I've immigrated to Canada, so I guess I'm lucky. But yes, they do have that problem. I've also studied in Hong Kong for about five years and have heard many people do that, including in competition. Yeah, we do have the 'l' sound but 'r', no we don't. Another thing, we don't have the 'th' sound either, so it might be hard to pronounce that sound, most of the time, they say it like a 'd'. You'd probably get it different in Mandarin though, they have the 'r' sound, like 然, from 依然. But they don't have the 'th' sound either...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes, in the Chinese language there is no "R" so they use the letter "L" instead. So instead of "Fried Rice" The say "Flied Lice". Or instead of On the other hand, in Japanese there is no "L" and so they pronounced every word with "L" as "R". So instead of "Mr. Lee comes from London" they will say ; "Misotori Ree comes from Rondon." It does not mean that it is impossible to teach them how to pronounce it correctly, but it takes more effort and energy. I had several Japanese, and Korean students studying English with me, and a lot of Chinese students, so I know exactly their weakness.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Same thing with Americans unable to pronounce a lot foreign sounds correctly. Ever heard Americans saying "Deja vu"? Also, the first poster is all wrong about the French being unable to say letter "r" correctly. They can but in a different way and who are you to say your way is right and others' is wrong? Letter "r" is pronounced diffrently in English, French, German, Spanish... to name a few.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    r is substituted because to us (english) their "R" sounds like a "L"

    I know there is a L is Chinese, but not in Japanese. That's when they say something like "futari" (randomly thought of that word) it sounds finda like "(f)utali" to us . well to you, cuz i understand japanese :P thnx to my japanese neighbours.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    you just probably havent met the people that speak right. i have no problem with it and im asian ;) with an asian language as my first language. and i dont know anybody that has problem

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  • Zhukov
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    its just an accent- just like the french can't really pronounce an r well, it sounds more like an L

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