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Why are "l's" pronounced like "r's" in Japanese?

 
 
Reply Sun 1 Sep, 2019 06:50 pm
Hi. I am just a bit curious about this.

In most cultures, I presume, when they borrow letters from other alphabets to use in theirs, and to spell certain words, the borrowed letters are pronounced the way they were intended to be pronounced.

If the Japanese borrowed the "l" from the English language alphabet, then why isn't it pronounced like an "l"? Why is it pronounced like an "r", and why are words borrowed from English that contain "l's" in them in Japanese written with "r's" in them when transliterated to English? Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

I know "Luigi" is spelled and pronounced like "Ruigi" or "Ruiji" in Japanese when transliterated to English.

Do the Japanese ever write words borrowed from English with "l's" in them WITH "l's" in them?

Please help- thank you.
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 280 • Replies: 13
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maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Sep, 2019 07:15 pm
@JGoldman10,
My kids are bilingual... they speak English and Spanish perfectly each without any foreign accent. Their favorite word is "burrito", because Americans can't pronounce the "rr" sound. The American version of that word sounds ridiculous.

When I was much younger I studied Arabic. They have two letters that to me sound exactly alike. My Jordanian friends were always playing with me because they knew I couldn't say, or even recognize, the correct sound.

I think this is pretty common when languages don't share the same sounds.
JGoldman10
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Sep, 2019 07:49 pm
@maxdancona,
Are you supposed to roll your "r's" when you pronounce "burrito"?
Jewels Vern
 
  -3  
Reply Sun 1 Sep, 2019 09:37 pm
@JGoldman10,
Because the Japanese mouth is different by heredity. Martial arts people make a big deal of shouting to increase energy in a punch, and they have noticed regional differences in the shout. In Japanese it sounds like "kee-eye". The American equivalent is either "hoo-ee" or "hee-ya". Other nationalities are uniquely different.
JGoldman10
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Sep, 2019 10:04 pm
@Jewels Vern,
I think I should wait for some Asians to respond to this thread.
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Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Sep, 2019 10:50 pm
@JGoldman10,
That would be the correct way. There are many words in the Spanish language with rolled r's.

(and contrary to what max claims, Americans can roll their r's. Even I can and I am far from fluent in speaking Spanish)

(think of it this way - if his children are all able to speak 2 languages perfectly, then that is likely the case for many Americans as well. [not sure if max or his children are American. He may have said at one time, I don't recall it])
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Sep, 2019 10:56 pm
@maxdancona,
Curious about this max. Do they speak Spain Spanish and which region? Or Spanish as spoken in another Spanish speaking country? There are several dialects, some quite apart from others.
JGoldman10
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Sep, 2019 01:07 am
Are there any Japanese users on this site?
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Sep, 2019 06:24 am
@Sturgis,
My kids speak Mexican Spanish. Two of my three kids were born in Mexico.

Many Americans can not roll their rrs correctly. It isn't jjst getting a roll, it is also passing smoothly from a pure vowel to the rr. When my kids want to mock a gringo accent... burrito is the go to word because it sounds funny in an American accent.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Sep, 2019 06:27 am
@Jewels Vern,
I hope you are joking about phonemes being genetic. I fear you are not.

That is ridiculous.
hightor
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Sep, 2019 07:35 am
@JGoldman10,
I think the Japanese developed this pronunciation simply to distinguish themselves from the Chinese, as Chinese speakers tend to use the "l" sound for "r"...
0 Replies
 
Jewels Vern
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Sep, 2019 08:35 am
@maxdancona,
I am repeating what my martial arts instructor said. Deal with it.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Sep, 2019 10:53 am
@Jewels Vern,
Jewels Vern wrote:

I am repeating what my martial arts instructor said. Deal with it.


It seems highly unlikely your martial arts teacher has any background in genetics. That is an idiotic thing for him to say.
0 Replies
 
JGoldman10
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Sep, 2019 07:48 pm
@Jewels Vern,
Jewels Vern wrote:

Because the Japanese mouth is different by heredity.


That's ridiculous and that sounds very racist. I found this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Japanese_Americans

And if you take the time to look you'll find a large number of people on this list whose first names have "l's" in them.

Some examples:

Luna H. Mitani, Glen Fukushima, Bill Naito, William Saito.

I doubt these people ever pronounced their own first names like "Runa", or "Gren", or "Biru" or "Wirriam", or however they would pronounce them in Japanese.
0 Replies
 
 

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