Difficult English sounds for the Japanese (part 1, ɜː) 日本人にとって難しい英語の音 1

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Jan 16, 2011 20:02 pronunciation
This topic is basically for the Japanese.

As we already know, Japanese speakers cannot distinguish R and L sounds in English. But R and L are only part of the Japanese speaker's problems, unfortunately. In short, English has more vowel and consonant sounds than Japanese does. British English speakers tend to pronounce very strong consonants, which often sounds like non-linguistic noises to Japanese speakers. American English speakers prone to pronounce R as often as possible, which puzzles Japanese-tuned ears.

I will tell about tricky English sounds below. This wouldn't improve your pronunciation itself, but may help you to find where the problem is.

Let's discuss vowels first. There is a huge problem with English sounds which are often represented with katakana ア. In fact, there are five differentsounds in English!

1. The long vowel 'ɜː' appeared in the word fur /fɜː(r)/ ファー requires special training for the Japanese to pronounce. Quite often, katakana sound of アー doesn't function as 'ɜː'. The sound 'ɜː' is quite common in English, and you can find it in many simple words, such as bird /bɜːd/ and church /bɜːd/. However, my バード and チャーチ never worked for native English speakers. Native English speakers do distinguish this long vowel with other vowels.

I found a gentle forward movement of my chin, which I had never done before I came to the UK, help me to produce the ɜː sound. But at the beginning, I suffered from a horrible pain in my jaw joint. So, be careful.

BBCによる発音ガイド ɜː


Difficult English sounds for the Japanese (part 1, ɜː) 日本人にとって難しい英語の音 1

Difficult English sounds for the Japanese (part 2, ə) 日本人にとって難しい英語の音 2

Difficult English sounds for the Japanese (part 3, æ, ʌ, ɑː) 日本人にとって難しい英語の音 3

Difficult English sounds for the Japanese (part 4, oʊ/əʊ vs ɔː) 日本人にとって難しい英語の音 4




1. 長母音 ɜː は fur /fɜː(r)/ ファー という単語に出て来ますが、これを日本人が発音するには特別な訓練が必要です。カタカナ式で「アー」と発音しても ɜː 音としては通用しません。ɜː 音は英語にはとても一般的で、 bird /bɜːd/ 、 church /bɜːd/ といった簡単な単語にも出て来ます。しかしながら、カタカナ式の「バード」「チャーチ」は英語話者にはちっとも通じませんでした。英語話者は ɜː 音を他の母音とはっきり区別しているのです。

下顎をほんのちょっと前に押し出す動きが、そんな動きはイギリスに来るまで一回もやったことがありませんでしたが、 ɜː 音の発音に役立つらしい、ということを見つけました。しかし、当初私はこのために顎関節痛に悩まされました。(今は無事です)ご注意を。

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