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Pronunciation of the R’s
How to pronounce the R sounds
10 MINUTE LESSON
RULES: 1. Say the examples. 2. Pay close attention to the underlined
In this lesson we
will look at how to correctly pronounce the R sounds. For English speakers these
are probably the most difficult to pronounce, because it sounds nothing
like the English R sounds.
GOOD NEWS! Really, if you spend a little time learning
how the sounds work, you can master it in no time! Get ready!
THE LESSON YOU NEED TO KNOW…
PART ONE: The Tongue…
The sound is made by lightly slapping
your tongue just behind your upper teeth. Think of
making an L sound, like LOVE. That is the
approximate place. The only difference between the Japanese R and
the English L sound is how long the tongue is held there.
In English the tongue is held a while while air goes around it.
In Japanese, the tongue is immediately dropped.All of
the R sounds are made the same way with the tongue.
Read that again and then once more while
actually making the sound.
PART TWO: The Mouth…
The mouth takes a little practice to make
it natural, but it is also easy, really. Very simply, for RA RI
& RE the mouth is more opened and for RU & RO the mouth
is more rounded and shut. [NOTE: actually for perfect
pronunciation, ALL 5 sounds have separate mouth positions — we
will look at this, but remember basically for RA, RI & RE
the mouth is more opened and RU & RO it is rounded and
for the pictures, but here are the 5 general positions of the
mouth for the 5 different sounds… To hear a sound file for each
sound click on the letter below:
Again the most important thing is RA, RI & RE (the
yellow) have a kind of opened, wide mouth
and RU & RO (the red) have a more rounded, small mouth. Practice saying them in
order — (open mouth) RA RI (round mouth) RU (open mouth) RE (round mouth) RO.
Listen to the sound file — RARIRURERO.wav (53 kb)
Lastly remember, slap the
tongue with a wide mouth for RA, RI, RE and slap
the tongue with a round mouth for RU & RO.
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