Story Number 1
Not so long ago I had a student who said that the difference between L and R sounds doesn't matter, and the following conversation ensued:
Me: So, do you like to eat natto with insects?
Student: What do you mean?
Me: (speaking slowly, showing the position of my tongue and enunciating L and R) Well, if you say that the difference between L and R sounds doesn't matter, then you can eat natto with LICE. I don't want to eat natto with lice. That's yucky. I want to eat natto with RICE; that's yummy.
If you go to a restaurant and order natto with rice, this is what they will give you:
If you go to a restaurant and order natto with lice, this is what they will give you:
Not knowing the difference between L and R can lead to a yucky situation.
Story Number 2
I don't know how true the following short story is, but this was told by my foreign students (not Japanese) sometime in 2011.
One young man bought an umbrella that looked like a katana. It was dark, and because the umbrella looked like a real katana, a policeman stopped the young man.
"Please! Please!", the policeman shouted.
"Please, what? What?", the young man shouted back and hurriedly walked to the policeman with the katana umbrella in his hand.
The policeman shot the young man's right foot.
Because the policeman did not say Please, like what the young man thought. The policeman actually said "Freeze!" which means stay where you are, don't move.
Had the young man identified P from F and L from R, he wouldn't have been shot.
See? Not being able to identify and produce the right sound can lead to a dangerous situation.
Avoid dangerous or disgusting situations. Come to ACE, we'll work on your pronunciation.
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