Anonymous

Why can t Eastern Europeans pronounce the letter H properly?

Russians, Poles etc..

They say Gchwouse instead of House. Or Ghwy? instead of Why?

How come?

1 Answer

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  • 3 years ago
    Best Answer

    Every language has phonemes, intelligible sounds that have meaning in that language. Languages have different sets of phonemes and if a phoneme in another language does not exist in yours, you hear it as a phoneme that does exist.

    German, for instance, does not have the "th" sound in the word "this" or "that". They do have a similar fricative in "z" so they hear "th" as "z" and they say "zis" and "zat". Irish doesn't have that phoneme either and they hear it as "dis" and "dat". English does not have the velar fricative that occurs in many languages including German and Spanish. English speaking people hear the "x" in Don Quixote as an "h" but it is not, it is a velar fricative the sound in the German "ach".

    Chinese and Japanese languages only have one rhotic or liquid where English has the rhotic "r" and the liquid "l". Chinese and Japanese speakers do not hear the difference between the two sounds so they use one. This leads to the accusation that they cannot pronounce both sounds. They can if they learn to hear them.

    When you learn a language you have to learn the phonemes, not only how to pronounce them but how to hear them. Once you can hear the phonemes, you pronounce them correctly but until you do, you use your own phonemes. A language I was studying had two words io and 'io where the apostrophe at the beginning represents a glottal stop, a phoneme in that language. Glottal stops are common in English but are not a phoneme which means you have to train yourself to hear them. To the untrained ear, io and 'io sound the same which is unfortunate as io means a spear while 'io is a vulgar term for female genitalia.

    Getting back to your question, if the eastern Europeans of which you speak, do not pronounce English phonemes as you do, it is probably because that phoneme does not exist in their language and they hear it as one that does.

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