Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish?

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby YttriumOx » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:03 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
YttriumOx wrote:I find that I myself (in English) make a /v/ slightly further back on my lower lip than I make an /f/.
I definitely don't do this.

It's entirely possible and quite likely that it's a peculiarity of my speech specifically. As mentioned in a post earlier, I'm from Southern New Zealand originally; however I have one Dutch parent, one Australian parent, one British step-parent and have now spent half of my life outside of New Zealand, with a good portion of that in non-English speaking countries and I am quite certain the combination of all of the above makes my accent somewhat unique sadly (as far as dialect is concerned, I'd say I generally speak a fairly flat international English (tending to British English spelling) most of the time but can happily stray to several different dialects depending on who I'm around (including my native "Southern NZ" English; Sydney Australian; Rural Australian; and a broad Scots influenced English (thanks to a group of friends I used to spend a lot of time with))).

I mention dialect only because I want to make it clear that my accent and dialect aren't particularly tied to each other as is the case with a lot of people. Regardless of which dialect (or to an extent, language) I am speaking, the accent patterns of my voice are quite recognisable unless I make a concerted effort to speak differently (which I usually don't).
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby goofy » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:10 pm UTC

YttriumOx wrote:I'm not sure I can clarify it much more than I did already sorry... Basically:
Say "Very" - note that you voiced the /v/.
Then say "Ferry" - note that you did not voice the /f/, but it was otherwise either identical or nearly so.
Then finally say it again (with the tooth/lip position the same as /v/ (if it was different between /v/ and /f/)) and produce somewhat less voicing on the initial sound than you do with the /v/ in "Very", but obviously more than the "none at all" that you do with the /f/ in "Ferry".


According to my understanding of phonetics, it's not possible to produce a consonant with less voicing or more voicing. So either we're talking about a different type of phonation, like breathy voice (which I doubt), or you mean that German /v/, being a fricative, can have different phonation at different points of its articulation. So it starts voiced and ends voiceless, something like that. Perhaps more of its articulation is voiceless compared to English /v/. But I think that English speakers will perceive German /v/ as either /f/ or /v/, not something in between, categorical perception being what it is.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby YttriumOx » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:19 pm UTC

goofy wrote:According to my understanding of phonetics, it's not possible to produce a consonant with less voicing or more voicing. So either we're talking about a different type of phonation, like breathy voice (which I doubt), or you mean that German /v/, being a fricative, can have different phonation at different points of its articulation. So it starts voiced and ends voiceless, something like that. Perhaps more of its articulation is voiceless compared to English /v/.

Entirely possible you're right about that - I'm a linguist, but not a phoneticist (more interested in historical linguistics and the only time I foray in to phonetics is when looking at word changes over time).
goofy wrote:But I think that English speakers will perceive German /v/ as either /f/ or /v/, not something in between, categorical perception being what it is.

May depend on the person's own judgement/thoughts on what they're hearing more than anything. I can say that as a native English speaker, before I learned any German or Dutch, it definitely sounded "half way between" to my ear (Dutch was my third language and German my fifth; so I may have already been coloured by previous languages).
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby tehol » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:34 pm UTC

As a native English speaker, I have trouble with the French (and other language?) ø and oe, and I can't easily distinguish most "r"s (les rhotiques*, such as the Spanish r and rr (ř?) or different dialects of French R vs. r vs. ʁ).

Edit1:*pardon the french name, I'm a french minor taking phonology and phonetics in french, and don't know how to say the word in english. Perhaps "rhotics"?
edit2: Also, according to my sheet, the ʁ is not a "rhotique" but rather a "constrictive" (constrictive? haha).
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Makri » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:29 pm UTC

As I understand it, "rhotics" is an intuitive phonological term, not a phonetic one. So /ʁ/ is a rhotic, even though it is phonetically a voiced fricative.

rr (ř?)


Not sure what you mean by the ř in brackets. ř doesn't really have a conventional meaning outside of Czech orthography.

As for the slightly-too-voiced f, I bet it starts voiceless and then has a voice onset before the end. The reverse would be weird in initial position.
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby skullturf » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:57 pm UTC

tehol wrote:As a native English speaker, I have trouble with the French (and other language?) ø and oe


I have precisely the same problem.

I don't have much trouble anymore with the two different vowels in the French words "vous" and "vu", but I know that beginning students of French sometimes do, if their first language is English (or Spanish, or Italian, according to some things I've read).

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Derek » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:58 pm UTC

YttriumOx wrote:Also I find that I myself (in English) make a /v/ slightly further back on my lower lip than I make an /f/ and while I haven't stared at other people's lips, I get the feeling that this "inbetween" sound has more of the /v/ lip positioning.

I'll second this. The position of both varies, ranging from teeth touching the inside of my lip to touching the outside and being more forwards the more emphasized the sound is, but for any given level of emphasis, /f/ seems to be more forwards than /v/.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Daimon » Sat May 05, 2012 11:00 pm UTC

When a Japanese word begins with れ、ら、る、ろ、り, I sometimes add a slight あ/え in the start. I can say はくれい れいむ But there`s a VERY subtle え being placed in the beggining of the れいむ part. My つ sounds like す when it`s by itself, i.e 好き 月 sound the same in my pronunciation. However they don`t when I`m taking the /u/ out of す in the first example for obvious reasons. The え is more obvious when I just say れいむ by itself without that はくれい because the い is right behind れ and I`m not REALLY starting with れ.

And I`m not pronouncing them with the English R. I can`t explain what I do without using sound, but my tongue is definately hitting the roof of my mouth when I`m doing them.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Derek » Sun May 06, 2012 1:50 am UTC

Daimon wrote:When a Japanese word begins with れ、ら、る、ろ、り, I sometimes add a slight あ/え in the start. I can say はくれい れいむ But there`s a VERY subtle え being placed in the beggining of the れいむ part. My つ sounds like す when it`s by itself, i.e 好き 月 sound the same in my pronunciation. However they don`t when I`m taking the /u/ out of す in the first example for obvious reasons. The え is more obvious when I just say れいむ by itself without that はくれい because the い is right behind れ and I`m not REALLY starting with れ.

And I`m not pronouncing them with the English R. I can`t explain what I do without using sound, but my tongue is definately hitting the roof of my mouth when I`m doing them.

Would you mind adding romanji to that post? I'ld like to know what sounds you're talking about, but I can't read katakana/hiragana (I'm not even sure which you used).

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sun May 06, 2012 2:13 am UTC

Derek wrote:
Daimon wrote:When a Japanese word begins with re, ra, ru, ro, ri, I sometimes add a slight a/e in the start. I can say hakurei reimu But there`s a VERY subtle e being placed in the beggining of the reimu part. My tsu sounds like su when it`s by itself, i.e suki tsuki sound the same in my pronunciation. However they don`t when I`m taking the /u/ out of su in the first example for obvious reasons. The e is more obvious when I just say reimu by itself without that hakurei because the i is right behind re and I`m not REALLY starting with re.

And I`m not pronouncing them with the English R. I can`t explain what I do without using sound, but my tongue is definately hitting the roof of my mouth when I`m doing them.

Would you mind adding romanji to that post? I'ld like to know what sounds you're talking about, but I can't read katakana/hiragana (I'm not even sure which you used).

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Derek » Sun May 06, 2012 7:35 am UTC

Much appreciated. My exposure to Japanese is almost entirely from anime, so I'm familiar with the sounds, a few words, and thanks to karaoke subs, romanji. But when I see moon runes I'm hopeless. For the record, I think I can produce the Japanese 'r' pretty well, I'm not so sure about 'ts' though. I also have trouble distinguishing 'e' from 'ei'.

I wonder if "learning" Japanese from anime results in any Engrish-like effects.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sun May 06, 2012 7:46 am UTC

Derek wrote:I wonder if "learning" Japanese from anime results in any Engrish-like effects.


I have heard this is true. Also, it's "romaji", no n.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby eSOANEM » Sun May 06, 2012 8:38 am UTC

I had a similar problem with doing r's (but not rr's) in Spanish (which is a much closer to the Japanese r than the English's), I couldn't quite produce it initially so I always stuck a slight vowel before it. Luckily in Spanish, initial r's are pronounced as rr's (which is trilled rather than tapped) and so, once I realised that I could get it right.

Still, the problem came back when I was learning Na'vi where the only r is the alveolar tap and it can be initial. I'm not sure how I managed to get it other than practice, it was a bit of a nuisance at first though.
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Daimon » Sun May 06, 2012 10:05 am UTC

Derek wrote:
Daimon wrote:When a Japanese word begins with れ、ら、る、ろ、り, I sometimes add a slight あ/え in the start. I can say はくれい れいむ But there`s a VERY subtle え being placed in the beggining of the れいむ part. My つ sounds like す when it`s by itself, i.e 好き 月 sound the same in my pronunciation. However they don`t when I`m taking the /u/ out of す in the first example for obvious reasons. The え is more obvious when I just say れいむ by itself without that はくれい because the い is right behind れ and I`m not REALLY starting with れ.

And I`m not pronouncing them with the English R. I can`t explain what I do without using sound, but my tongue is definately hitting the roof of my mouth when I`m doing them.

Would you mind adding romanji to that post? I'ld like to know what sounds you're talking about, but I can't read katakana/hiragana (I'm not even sure which you used).



I can`t read Romanji. I can`t tell you how many Japanese words I couldn`t read correctly in Romanji, but I could when I had the Kana. Oh, and Hiragana is pretty and cursive, and Katakana is straight and ugly.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Makri » Sun May 06, 2012 12:35 pm UTC

Well, I'll grant you that you might not be able to read Romaji fluently if your brain has stored only Hiragana forms of words, but I there is another sense of "be able to read" in which I don't think you can't convince me that you can't read Romaji: Hiragana is phonemic, so is Romaji, so putting a little thought into it, you can't not be able to read the latter. And when only single syllables are concerned, they should be essentially equivalent to you...
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Daimon » Sun May 06, 2012 1:18 pm UTC

Makri wrote:Well, I'll grant you that you might not be able to read Romaji fluently if your brain has stored only Hiragana forms of words, but I there is another sense of "be able to read" in which I don't think you can't convince me that you can't read Romaji: Hiragana is phonemic, so is Romaji, so putting a little thought into it, you can't not be able to read the latter. And when only single syllables are concerned, they should be essentially equivalent to you...


But do I even need romanji? I'm perfectly capable of reading both Kanas and some Kanji in certain combinations, i.e 儚い、見る、天気、気持ち、何も、教える、死ぬ、題、&c, which is based on my vocabulary, though I can recognise the meanings of far more Kanji. Romaji looks unnatrual. I kept pronouncing the romanised word, "Reisen" as something like らいぜん (With an English R) instead of what it was, れいせん. The roman alphabet wasn't exactly built for Japanese. Take the word, Hakugyokurou. Kind of hard to read, right? 白玉楼 -> はくぎょくろう is easier for me.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby gmalivuk » Sun May 06, 2012 2:58 pm UTC

Daimon wrote:But do I even need romanji?
Romaji, and yes, if you want to communicate on this forum about Japanese outside the Practice Japanese thread.
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Makri » Sun May 06, 2012 3:06 pm UTC

Take the word, Hakugyokurou. Kind of hard to read, right?


I don't think so. It may be hard for you to recognize if your brain is trained on a different writing system, but it's not hard to read per se.

Also, the Latin alphabet is not worse for Japanese than it is for the language it was used for originally, viz. Latin. In fact, I don't think it's notably worse for Japanese than the Greek alphabet is for for Ancient Greek.
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Daimon » Sun May 06, 2012 3:10 pm UTC

Makri wrote:
Take the word, Hakugyokurou. Kind of hard to read, right?


I don't think so. It may be hard for you to recognize if your brain is trained on a different writing system, but it's not hard to read per se.

Also, the Latin alphabet is not worse for Japanese than it is for the language it was used for originally, viz. Latin. In fact, I don't think it's notably worse for Japanese than the Greek alphabet is for for Ancient Greek.


My English brain is what takes over when I see Romanji. My "Japanese" (Which is really small in comparison) brain takes over when I read, well, Japanese. If someone asks me how to pronounce something, with my possibly thick English Japanese accent, in Japanese and gives me a word, I tell them to give me the Kanji/kana for it.

gmalivuk wrote:
Daimon wrote:But do I even need romanji?
Romaji, and yes, if you want to communicate on this forum about Japanese outside the Practice Japanese thread.


ロマジ ロマンジ, I switch between both. Probably because the N sound is usable in Japanese at the end of a syllable, and Roman -> Latin alphabet :roll: .

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby gmalivuk » Sun May 06, 2012 3:33 pm UTC

Daimon wrote:My English brain is what takes over when I see Romanji.
Then you need to train your brain out of that if you want to discuss Japanese here.

And it shouldn't be any harder for you to do than it is for every speaker of any European language that uses the Roman alphabet but has different phonetics.

ロマジ ロマンジ, I switch between both. Probably because the N sound is usable in Japanese at the end of a syllable, and Roman -> Latin alphabet :roll: .
You can switch between whatever you want, the word is romaji. And what's with the eyeroll? Are you disputing the claim that Romans spoke Latin and that English and romaji use the same alphabet?
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Derek » Sun May 06, 2012 8:42 pm UTC

I think I can understand what he means when he says Japanese is harder for him to read in romaji, and he switches into "English mode" when reading romaji. Still though, if you want to communicate with non-Japanese speakers about Japanese phonetics, you'll either need to use romaji or IPA.

I do think romaji works quite well for Japanese though, even if you're not used to it. Certainly much better than it works for English. Japanese has a relatively simple phonology and the Latin alphabet can easily cover all the sounds. The only issues I know of are that it makes some mora boundaries ambiguous, and it doesn't indicate stress (which is true for English too).

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby eSOANEM » Sun May 06, 2012 8:55 pm UTC

Derek wrote:The only issues I know of are that it makes some mora boundaries ambiguous, and it doesn't indicate stress (which is true for English too).


Also, afaik, there's no one universal system for marking long vowels and they're not particularly consistent.
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby gmalivuk » Sun May 06, 2012 9:17 pm UTC

Sure, I'll grant that it's not a perfect system. But the point is that nothing in this thread (or any other Linguistics thread besides the specific language practice threads) should be posted *only* in non-Latin, non-IPA (or SAMPA, I suppose) characters. All of us obviously read at least one language using Latin characters, and most of us who are interested in pronunciation know IPA, but we can't be expected to also have a working knowledge of every other alphabet out there.
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Daimon » Sun May 06, 2012 9:21 pm UTC

It used to be my dream to be able to read every alphabet. I just said screw it and can only read the two mentioned and Cryllic(sp).

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sun May 06, 2012 10:30 pm UTC

Derek wrote:I do think romaji works quite well for Japanese though, even if you're not used to it. Certainly much better than it works for English. Japanese has a relatively simple phonology and the Latin alphabet can easily cover all the sounds. The only issues I know of are that it makes some mora boundaries ambiguous, and it doesn't indicate stress (which is true for English too).


Mora boundaries can be marked with apostrophes, although it's only ever a problem with ん (coda only /ɴ/) followed by a vowel. Tone also isn't marked in any standard Japanese writing (I've only seen a marker used in textbooks), so that's a (minor) problem in whatever non-IPA/SAMBA writing system you use for Japanese. There's no stress accent in Japanese. Long vowel marking is inconsistent in Romaji, but all the different methods are fairly transparent.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Derek » Mon May 07, 2012 12:50 am UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:Tone also isn't marked in any standard Japanese writing (I've only seen a marker used in textbooks), so that's a (minor) problem in whatever non-IPA/SAMBA writing system you use for Japanese. There's no stress accent in Japanese.

Yeah, I meant the tone accent. Which reminds me of something that English speakers probably have trouble with in many other languages: Applying English stress patterns, including vowel reduction. I think I do this a lot when pronouncing Japanese words.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Daimon » Mon May 07, 2012 9:04 am UTC

Derek wrote:
Iulus Cofield wrote:Tone also isn't marked in any standard Japanese writing (I've only seen a marker used in textbooks), so that's a (minor) problem in whatever non-IPA/SAMBA writing system you use for Japanese. There's no stress accent in Japanese.

Yeah, I meant the tone accent. Which reminds me of something that English speakers probably have trouble with in many other languages: Applying English stress patterns, including vowel reduction. I think I do this a lot when pronouncing Japanese words.


Can you give me a few examples, since I have hardly any idea what that means. If you're going to post Japanese words, Kana/Romaji, please.

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby WanderingLinguist » Wed May 30, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

I often have difficulty distinguishing between unvoiced-unaspirated consonants and unvoiced-aspirated consonants in the initial position in Korean words. For those who aren't familiar with it, Korean has characters such as ㅈ (usually transliterated as "j") that are voiced in the middle of a word but unvoiced at the beginning. Adding one stroke to the character gives the aspirated version ㅊ which is never voiced (usually transliterated as "ch"). I have trouble hearing the difference between unvoiced "j" and aspirated "ch" (if "j" is voiced, when ㅈ comes in the middle of a word, it's no problem for me).

I understand the physical distinction between the two and have no problem pronouncing them correctly. If I listen really closely, or hear both sounds pronounced together (such as on a listening test) I can often distinguish them, and my Korean is good enough that even if I don't hear the difference I can usually understand which one was used based on context. The problem is that when I'm using the language practically (I'm a software engineers and use Korean on a daily basis to communicate with my colleagues) I'm not always focused on listening for the difference between the two sounds, so if I hear an unfamiliar word where I can't figure it out from context, distinguishing between the two sounds is difficult (so I have to look it up every possible way in the dictionary).

I think this is because I'm a native English speaker, and we don't distinguish between unvoiced "j" and aspirated "ch" in English (sure, they sound different, but we don't assign different meaning to them as far as I know). Sounds are either voice or aspirated; unvoiced and un-aspirated sounds are pretty rare, as far as I know.

Again, this is only in the initial position in Korean; the un-aspirated consonants get voiced in the middle of a word, so it's not a problem.

For the first year (roughly) of learning/speaking Korean, I had a lot more trouble distinguishing between and even pronouncing certain groups of initial consonants:
- ㅈ (unvoiced j), ㅊ (aspirated ch) and ㅉ (tense j)
- ㄷ (unvoiced d), ㅌ (aspirated t) and ㄸ (tense d)
- ㅂ (unvoiced b), ㅍ (aspirated p) and ㅃ (tense b)
(etc.)

I remember in particular, spending hours trying to correctly pronounce 달 (dal: moon), 딸 (ddal: daughter) and 탈 (tal: mask) in a way that a native speaker would understand which one I was trying to say. Now, after studying Korean about four years (and using it in work and daily life for almost three) it's much easier, but I often get confused. I know a lot of non-native Korean speakers who speak much better Korean than I do, but still get tripped up by these distinctions.

(Don't even get me started on ㅔ vs ㅐ. Some of my Korean friends swear up and down that the two are completely distinct sounds, but MOST of the Koreans I know can't distinguish them either and need to inquire about spelling for unfamiliar words. At least in the Seoul dialect, I think they are roughly interchangeable. Except 개 (dog) and 게 (crab) which native speakers seem to be able to reliably distinguish, but which I am at a total loss over...)

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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby raike » Thu May 31, 2012 12:12 am UTC

In Malayalam, I have trouble with /ɻa/, the Voiced apico-palatal approximant, and the half-u sound (that I have no idea how to transcribe, but it's not quite [ɨ] or a schwa). I tend to over-stress the latter, and make the former too close to an /ja/ sound.
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby ri.kenji » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:07 am UTC

I've always been a proficient English speaker, but after much exposure to other languages, I find that I tend to merge sounds like θ and s, or ð and z. It's only when I make a conscious decision to utter the more formal sounds that my Engrish becomes English.

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Iulus Cofield
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Re: Do native English speakers have an equivalent of Engrish

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:11 am UTC

I do that with /r/ and /l/ sometimes, probably from learning Japanese.


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