The Japanese language has its own particular sounds and patterns for pronunciation. When a Japanese speaker learns English, these speech patterns may act as a barrier to the pronunciation of English. This results in an accented English, such as the “Japanese accent”.
Japanese speakers tend to have some common difficulties when producing spoken English and if you come from an Japanese speaking background, you may find the following tips useful to help you improve your English pronunciation.
1. There are several sounds in English that are different to your native language and can be difficult to pronounce. For example, the “l” and “r” sounds are common problem areas for Japanese speakers. To make these sounds correctly, the tongue must be in the correct position. To make the “l” sound the tip of the tongue should touch the top of the mouth behind the teeth. To make the “r” sound the tip of the tongue is curled upwards and pointed towards the roof of the mouth.
2. The rate you speak can affect your pronunciation of English. You may need to slow down your speech to make it easier for other people to understand you.
3. English speakers change the pitch of their voice as they speak. If you listen you will hear that it is sometimes higher and sometimes lower. As a Japanese speaker you may need to work on the tone of your speech. To do this, listen to native English speakers and imitate the way the tone of their speech rises and falls.
While these are some of the common difficulties experienced by Japanese speakers, each individual will have unique areas of difficulty depending on their background and experience. To receive an accent assessment and get an accent reduction training program designed for your individual needs, contact Australia English Institute and start reducing your accent now!
Training is now available in Japan - please contact the accent reduction specialists for more information.