ukimalefu wrote: DEyncourt wrote: MacAddict4Life wrote: Geesie wrote:
matt wrote: From what I've heard, the Canadian pronunciation of "about" sounds more like "a boat" than it sounds like "a boot".
The feature is called Canadian raising and moves the initial vowel in the dipthong from low to mid position. Americans hear it as "aboot" because we don't have the equivalent vowel sound in our linguistics so we hear the nearest familiar thing. It's like the stereotypical Asian r - l confusion. Certain Asian languages and dialects have less distinction between those two glides so they hear it as the same sound.
Some languages don't have the r/l distinction at all.
Another common one is f/v and p/b. Some languages (Bahasa Indonesia comes to mind) lack one or both of these dissections, making fat and vat sound like the same word and/or making pit and bit sound like the same word.
Actually for Japanese at least--both my parents had this speech "problem"--there is a different phoneme which is kinda-sorta halfway between the Western "r" and "l" phonemes, so when native Japanese speakers try to say "look" it can sound like "rook" to Western ears partially depending on context ("look takes pawn", "rook over there"). It is difficult to "unlearn" the speech habits one develops as an infant.
I can hear and speak all three phonemes. For me nearly all Westerners simply cannot say ”らめん” (ramen) correctly.
In Taiwan people use the term "foreigner" a lot, and it took me a little while to get used to it not being intended as offensive. Outside of the big city centers, little kids often lean to their mom or friend and point to me and and say with a look of surprise or curiosity, "wai-guo-ren" (meaning foreigner).