This is a brief guide on some of the problems Japanese students have with English pronunciation.

Common problems[]

problem examples
R and L sounds (listening and speaking). Glass and Grass, Rice and Lice.
V and B sounds (listening and speaking). Very and Berry.


These are some pictures that can be used as pairs to demonstrate the difference between some sounds. For flashcards with captions, see below.

One of the reasons for the problems is that the Japanese language does not have all the sounds that the English language does.[note 1] For example, the Japanese language does not distinguish between r and l. There is something in between, but not really one or the other.

Activities to use[]

Flashcards with captions[]

Pronunciation Practice[]

R - L R - L Combinations TH - S Combinations SH - S V - B
raw - law

river - liver
rake - lake
right - light
race - lace

grass - glass
free - flee
crash - flash
present - pleasant
courage - college
pray - play
grow - glow

thank - tank
thaw - saw
thing - sing
thumb - sum
thick - sick
think - sink
thigh - sigh
mouth - mouse
tenth - tense
worth - worse

sea - she
said - shed
same - shame
so - show
suit - shoot

very - berry
vend - bend
vest - best
vet - bet
vote - boat

See Also[]


  1. The Japanese language is not a subset of sounds of the English language; it has some sounds that the English language does not.

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