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American English Pronunciation Podcast (Pronuncian.com), #05: American English pronunciation of the r sound and l sound

#5: American English pronunciation of the r sound and l sound

Practice saying and hearing the difference between the r sound and l sound

Transcript

Hello again, and welcome back to Seattle Learning Academy’s American English Pronunciation podcast.

My name is Mandy, and this is podcast #5. Today we are going to continue our study of the two liquid sounds, the r sound and l sound . Today’s practice sentence is, "I would really like a little red wagon like Laura’s." We’ll come back to that later.

Did you practice last week’s practice sentence?

"On Thursday, Thelma threw three red rocks." I’m going to start only going back and reviewing the past three show’s practice sentences or word sets. Our s sound / z sound practice with the s endings from two weeks ago was "Cats love boxes, dogs love beds." Remember that the final sound of the word before the -s ending dictates if the final s will be like an s sound or z sound . And our word set from Episode Two was: "dime, time; dense, tense; code, coat; tide, tight; spend, spent. "

Last week we talked about the fact that the General American Accent is a rhotic accent , meaning we say our r sound s, no matter where they occur in the word.

Today we are going to compare the r sound to the l sound . I find that students from Asia tend to have a lot of trouble with both of these sounds, and if your native language is Japanese, you probably already know the struggle with the r sound and l sound . Many of my Japanese students come to me and not only can’t say the sounds, but also cannot hear the difference when a native speaker of English says them. There have been many studies that link the ability to hear sounds with the ability to say them. If you are one of those people who can’t hear the difference between an l sound and r sound , go to pronuncian.com, find the sound you want to practice, and click "additional practice". Many troublesome sounds have minimal pairs for very specific practice. Minimal pairs are words like we practiced for the d sound / t sound show; they are two words that are identical except for one sound, like dime/time. English has a lot of minimal pairs between the l sound and r sound . Can you hear the difference between the following words:

play, pray
climb, crime
arrive, alive

If you can’t, be sure to do some listening practice.

Also, speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds have trouble with the l sound when it occurs near the r sound .

So, even if you aren’t from Asia, you aren’t free of l sound trouble. The reason these sounds conflict with each other is because of how they are produced inside our mouth. Remember, the r sound can have lots of formations at the tip of our tongue, the important thing is that it is the very back of the tongue, all the way in our throat, that is responsible for articulation in the General American Accent. ( r sound ). The l sound , however, happens way at the front of our mouth, with our tongue touching the tooth ridge in the same place we touch it for a t sound . ( l sound ). That requires a pretty large movement of our tongue to go quickly from an l sound to the r sound . I also want to say that the back of our tongue is low for the l sound , not high, like it is for the r sound .

People from India tend to have another problem with their l sound s. Just like people from many languages of the Indian subcontinent retroflex their t sound and d sound , they do the same for the l sound .

Retroflexing is placing the tip of the tongue too far back, behind the tooth ridge instead of at the front of it.

Let’s say some easier words with the l sound at the beginning before we combine it with the r sound .

Repeat after me.

laugh
like
let
list

Were those easy for you or hard for you?

If they were hard, please practice the l sound word list on pronuncian.com.

Now let’s practice some words that have both the l sound and r sound in them.

Ready?

girl
world
learn
early
really

Let’s say all of those again.

girl
world
learn
early
really

I want to make you that you can clearly pronounce the words word w-o-r-d and world w-o-r-l-d.

I have a lot of students who cannot say these words clearly enough for a native speaker of English to hear the difference between. You need to make sure to add the l sound to the word "world". Let’s say them both. Word, world.

So, let me give you the practice sentence for today.

"I would really like a little red wagon like Laura’s.

"

Again:

"I would really like a little red wagon like Laura’s.

"

I have to say, this is my favorite practice sentence of all because it hits a number of sound issues, many of which we haven’t even talked about yet.

We’ll come back to this sentence in the future, so you might as well memorize it.

"I would really like a little red wagon like Laura’s.

"

There you go.

Hopefully you now better understand the r sound and l sound . But we aren’t finished yet. As I said last week, another aspect of the r sound is r-controlled vowels. For people who learned Received Pronunciation, the British standard of English pronunciation, you will have some major habits to overcome if you are trying to learn an American accent, and many of those habits are elements of r-controlled vowels.

I hope you are enjoying this podcast.

Please, let me know what you think by emailing me at podcast@pronuncian.com! You can also to go pronuncian.com for show notes and transcripts. If you liked the show, you can let me know your appreciation by writing a review in iTunes.

That’s it for today, everyone.

Have a wonderful week, and have fun practicing your American English Accent! Thanks for listening.


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#5: American English pronunciation of the r sound and l sound

Practice saying and hearing the difference between the r sound and l sound

Transcript

Hello again, and welcome back to Seattle Learning Academy’s American English Pronunciation podcast.

My name is Mandy, and this is podcast #5. Today we are going to continue our study of the two liquid sounds, the r sound and l sound . Today’s practice sentence is, "I would really like a little red wagon like Laura’s." We’ll come back to that later.

Did you practice last week’s practice sentence?

"On Thursday, Thelma threw three red rocks." I’m going to start only going back and reviewing the past three show’s practice sentences or word sets. Our s sound / z sound practice with the s endings from two weeks ago was "Cats love boxes, dogs love beds." Remember that the final sound of the word before the -s ending dictates if the final s will be like an s sound or z sound . And our word set from Episode Two was: "dime, time; dense, tense; code, coat; tide, tight; spend, spent. "

Last week we talked about the fact that the General American Accent is a rhotic accent , meaning we say our r sound s, no matter where they occur in the word.

Today we are going to compare the r sound to the l sound . I find that students from Asia tend to have a lot of trouble with both of these sounds, and if your native language is Japanese, you probably already know the struggle with the r sound and l sound . Many of my Japanese students come to me and not only can’t say the sounds, but also cannot hear the difference when a native speaker of English says them. There have been many studies that link the ability to hear sounds with the ability to say them. If you are one of those people who can’t hear the difference between an l sound and r sound , go to pronuncian.com, find the sound you want to practice, and click "additional practice". Many troublesome sounds have minimal pairs for very specific practice. Minimal pairs are words like we practiced for the d sound / t sound show; they are two words that are identical except for one sound, like dime/time. English has a lot of minimal pairs between the l sound and r sound . Can you hear the difference between the following words:

play, pray
climb, crime
arrive, alive

If you can’t, be sure to do some listening practice.

Also, speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds have trouble with the l sound when it occurs near the r sound .

So, even if you aren’t from Asia, you aren’t free of l sound trouble. The reason these sounds conflict with each other is because of how they are produced inside our mouth. Remember, the r sound can have lots of formations at the tip of our tongue, the important thing is that it is the very back of the tongue, all the way in our throat, that is responsible for articulation in the General American Accent. ( r sound ). The l sound , however, happens way at the front of our mouth, with our tongue touching the tooth ridge in the same place we touch it for a t sound . ( l sound ). That requires a pretty large movement of our tongue to go quickly from an l sound to the r sound . I also want to say that the back of our tongue is low for the l sound , not high, like it is for the r sound .

People from India tend to have another problem with their l sound s. Just like people from many languages of the Indian subcontinent retroflex their t sound and d sound , they do the same for the l sound .

Retroflexing is placing the tip of the tongue too far back, behind the tooth ridge instead of at the front of it.

Let’s say some easier words with the l sound at the beginning before we combine it with the r sound .

Repeat after me.

laugh
like
let
list

Were those easy for you or hard for you?

If they were hard, please practice the l sound word list on pronuncian.com.

Now let’s practice some words that have both the l sound and r sound in them.

Ready?

girl
world
learn
early
really

Let’s say all of those again.

girl
world
learn
early
really

I want to make you that you can clearly pronounce the words word w-o-r-d and world w-o-r-l-d.

I have a lot of students who cannot say these words clearly enough for a native speaker of English to hear the difference between. You need to make sure to add the l sound to the word "world". Let’s say them both. Word, world.

So, let me give you the practice sentence for today.

"I would really like a little red wagon like Laura’s.

"

Again:

"I would really like a little red wagon like Laura’s.

"

I have to say, this is my favorite practice sentence of all because it hits a number of sound issues, many of which we haven’t even talked about yet.

We’ll come back to this sentence in the future, so you might as well memorize it.

"I would really like a little red wagon like Laura’s.

"

There you go.

Hopefully you now better understand the r sound and l sound . But we aren’t finished yet. As I said last week, another aspect of the r sound is r-controlled vowels. For people who learned Received Pronunciation, the British standard of English pronunciation, you will have some major habits to overcome if you are trying to learn an American accent, and many of those habits are elements of r-controlled vowels.

I hope you are enjoying this podcast.

Please, let me know what you think by emailing me at podcast@pronuncian.com! You can also to go pronuncian.com for show notes and transcripts. If you liked the show, you can let me know your appreciation by writing a review in iTunes.

That’s it for today, everyone.

Have a wonderful week, and have fun practicing your American English Accent! Thanks for listening.

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