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    #1

    I can't tell the difference between l and w in pronouncing Cecil

    Hello!
    Now I'm watching the movie called "Night at the museum"

    There's a guy called "Cecil" in the movie. And without subtitle I heard it as Seesaw, thinking it's weird that they
    used a nickname for an important actor.

    The real problem is that I had no difficulty in hearing that "l" sound in other standardized form of tests.
    (In tests called Toeic I even got 100% in listening comprehension...)


    But I don't want to repeat the same mistakes when this "l" sound comes in different words...

    I wrote this thread because I have difficulty understanding movies without subtitle just because of "sound hearing."


    So what's the real difference in your tip of the tongue when you pronounce "l" in Cecil compared to "w" in Seesaw?
    Sometimes it's too subtle for me to capture the sound...

    (I want to know about the specific way because I studied pronunciation a lot and some American
    friends ask me if I studied abroad when I was young even though my general pronunciation and accent are different from them from a strict native speaker's perspective. Anyway I feel my problem comes from subtle
    differences of native speakers' and my wrong location of tongue when I pronounce "l" sound. )

    Thank you for reading it!
    Last edited by gookenhaim; 13-Jan-2015 at 09:23.

  1. Roman55's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • Italy
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      • France

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    #2

    Re: I can't tell the difference between l and w in pronouncing Cecil

    I am not a teacher.

    The name Cecil is pronounced /ˈsɛs(ə)l/ in BrE. I noticed the strange pronunciation of it in this film too, where it sounds like /ˈsiːsɔːl/.

    The tip of the tongue touches the palate just behind the front teeth when pronouncing 'l', and is pulled back and down to pronounce the 'aw'. At least that is true of my variety of English.

    Note that there are native speakers in Britain who pronounce the final 'le' in words such as little, bottle and so on, in a way that resembles 'aw' with the tongue in a sort of mid-position. This is not standard.

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    #3

    Re: I can't tell the difference between l and w in pronouncing Cecil

    I haven't seen the movie, but Cecil is played by Dick van Dyke, who is famous for his atrocious Cockney accent in Mary Poppins. If it is an odd or exaggerated pronunciation, could it be some sort of in-joke related to this? A number of the other actors in the film are noted for doing voices.

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