Japanese English! To those who teach English to Japanese

Category : Language
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Japanese English

(These are just my opinions.)



L and R
Japanese can’t distinguish “L” and “R”. If you talk with Japanese people about election, they may say…. (erection).

Japanese Engrish “L” and “R”. “Hello” and “Herro”

To Japanese learners

You may learn “ら り る れ ろ” as “ra ri ru re ro”. But maybe it’s better to pronounce “la li lu le lo”. To me, the latter ones sound more natural. (Japanese “らりるれろ” is a bit complicated.)

Japanese language doesn’t have”V”. But it may be easy for them to learn how to pronounce V.

Japanese language has “T”, but Japanese “T” sound is a bit weak (or soft) compared to English “T”. I can’t explain this well, but this video might be able to explain what I mean.

SH and S
Japanese may pronounce “sea” as “she”. But Japanese people can distinguish them when they hear “S” and “SH” unlike “L” and “R”. I did this practice in the video with my American teacher. It was very beneficial for me.

Japanese language doesn’t have “TH”. When some English teachers teach how to pronounce “TH”, they say “Bite  your tongue!”. However when they pronounce it, they don’t bite their tongues. Maybe they teach that way, because it’s easy for them and maybe it’s easy for English learners to pronounce “TH” that way.

I read that to some people including native Japanese speakers, “TH” sounds more “S”. But to some people, it sounds more “T”. It’s interesting.

N and M

Senpai or Sempai? Which is correct?



“Snack”, “hospital”, Japanese may pronounce these words more British.

/ɪ/ and /iː/
Japanese can’t distinguish them when speaking.

I guess many Japanese students pronounce “been” like “bean”.

I found this article and am now confused. It seems in the UK, “been” pronounced as “bean” is fine. But in the US, “been” has to be pronounced “ben” or “bin”. In the past, I said “bean” and my American teacher corrected it, so now I say “ben”.

This might be a good practice.

year and ear

Yes and No

In Japanese language, if you agree with what someone said, you say “Yes”. So if someone asks you “You don’t like it ?”,  you say (in Japanese) “Yes, I don’t like it” or “No, I like it”. On the other hand, in English, regardless of whether you agree with someone’s question, if your answer is positive, you say “Yes”.

Japanese people may use this rule of the Japanese language, even when speaking English.

Answering without “Yes” and “No” might be easier for Japanese.

Teacher : Don’t you think she is ugly?
Student : I think she is ugly.

This rule of the Japanese language may apply to “Of course.” too.

Teacher :You don’t like it?
Student :*Of course. (I don’t like it.)*
“I don’t like it.” would follow “Of course”  in this sentence.


Do you know what “Makudonarudo” is? It’s “MacDonald” in Japanese. People in Tokyo tend to abbreviate “makku” and people in Osaka tend to abbreviate “makudo”.

Because of the native language, Japanese people have to put a vowel sound after a consonant sound and are not good at pronouncing consonants alone.

e.g. toraburu = trouble

In my opinion, America English is more syllabically pronounced compared to British English. So in a sense, Japanese English sounds more British English.


Basically, Japanese people are polite. Punctuality is very important. So, teachers should start lessons on time. Some Japanese might be perverts. Be careful if you are good looking. Some Japanese might be too demanding. Some Japanese might complain, not to you directly, but to the staff after lessons. Some Japanese might be too quiet. Oh, it’s like teaching English to Japanese is challenging, but the majority is polite, I guess…. I hope….

Japanese Engrish “L” and “R”. “Hello” and “Herro”
Senpai or Sempai? Which is correct?
Filipino English
How English education in Japan should be!

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