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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Japanese pronunciation of English /w/

    I am currently analysing a Japanese woman's spoken English for an assignment. She pronounces woman /Ʊmən/ without the initial /w/ sound. I would like to know if this is a common Japanese error and if so why? Can anyone recommend some literature about Japanese pronunciation of English sounds that I could read up on?
    Many thanks in anticipation!

  2. #2
    Kazuo is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Japanese pronunciation of English /w/

    Hello, janannef!

    The Japanese language has the sound /w/.

    As a reason for her pronunciation, I suppose that the word ‘woman’ is used in Japanese, and pronounced /Ʊmən/.

    I’m sorry I don’t know any literature about the matter at present.

    How about trying the procedure shown below (for her) to produce the sound /w/.
    1. Pucker up the lips as forward as possible.
    2. Send out a volume of air from the mouth, feeling its(that is; air) being sent out in the form of a column or a cylinder.
    3. 1 and 2 should be done with the opening of the mouth as little as possible in the shape of that of an octopus.
    4. The idea or feeling of sending out is important.

    I hope the procedure will help. //// Not a teacher ////

  3. #3
    riverplate is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Japanese pronunciation of English /w/

    Hi there..

    I was doing an assingment about focusing on the learner and came across with a book that will be handy for you.

    Leaner English, edited by M swan & Bernard Smith / Cambridge.

    There is a Japanese section about it

    Hope that will help you..

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Re: Japanese pronunciation of English /w/

    This is certainly a common error for Japanese learners and can be difficult to overcome. Japanese has a limited sound system that contains the syllable "wa," but not /w/ followed by any other vowel. Words like "wind" and "wet" can be approximated by pronouncing them with a "ui" or "ue" sound, but "woman" and "wood" are more difficult.

    A quick read-up on kana should help you get a feel for Japanese pronuncation. Look at the first few pages of a beginning Japanese textbook or just the Wikipedia page for katakana, which is used to write and pronounce foreign words.

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