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Cafetalk Tutor's Column

Tutor Bettie Ido 's Column

Pronunciation Pitfalls

May 30, 2019

When I first came to Japan with my zero Japanese, I had to relearn how to pronounce some English words in order to be understood.  For example, when I first ordered a hot dog, I got ho-to (hot coffee).  Conversely, when one of my students went to the US and ordered coffee (ho-to), of course he got a hot dog.  When I wanted to talk to my students about a theme park near Nagoya called Little World, I had to be careful to say "ree ta ru wa ru do", so they would know what I was talking about.  It was like learning a whole new language, which was actually quite fun.

These adopted English words with their unique pronunciation can cause some confusion.  Students have reported that the pronunciation of "milk" can cause some grief on the airplane, and they usually solve it by drinking their coffee black.  Oh well, practice makes perfect.


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