Learning a foreign language is hard. Even if you master all the vocabulary and grammar, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll ever achieve a native-like accent. For Japanese learners of English, differentiating between the “l” and “r” sounds and pronouncing the “th” sound correctly can be tricky them no matter how …
You ever wonder how silly English speakers sound to speakers of Asian languages?
Man, this thing. It took me a serious while to learn how to pronounce ふ. The guidance I got when I was learning was “it’s like an [f], but not really!” Which led to me sitting in my room for hours making a lot of [f] sounds before I figured out what not-quite-an-f meant.
This is where knowing a bit of IPA and articulatory phonetics would help language teachers – knowing it was a voiceless bilabial fricative would have made it so much easier for me to pick it out!
The importance of IPA ^_^