En réponse à John Leland :

>On Japanese having "r but no l" while other Asian languages have only "l"
>my observation (and my impression is that more qualified experts agree) is
>that this distinction is largely a matter of the way the languages are
>romanized. Listening to Japanese pronounciation the sound romanized
>as r is more like l at least in many contexts.

Not to me. The Japanese r is just an alveolar flap (and the Japanese people
I've met agree with me) which is no different from the Spanish single 'r'
between two vowels. Since they don't have a l, they replace it with the
alveolar flap (the closest thing to an alveolar lateral they have), but
that doesn't make it any l-like. And I listen daily to enough Japanese
(between songs and anime) to have quite an informed opinion on that.

>  Several Asian languages
>(including Korean and Japanese)seem not to treat l and r as separate
>sounds--for which reason my Korean and Japanese students have great
>difficulty distinguishing the spelling use
>of r and l in English. Hangul in Korean has one character for the r/l
>sound which can create odd results. In transcribing English loanwords they
>also use the same character for b and v--I recall seeing from the bus a
>Korean shop sign with pink Valentine hearts and a word I mentally
>transliterated as "roba roba"--then I realized it was really" love, love."

Same in Japanese. They don't have /v/, so old borrowings render it by /b/
instead (Spanish does that too). Except that since then, Japanese people
have, through borrowings, introduced the voiceless bilabial fricative (that
they had only as an allophone of /h/ in front of /u/) in front of other
vowels than /u/, and, seemingly by comparison, introduced a (still rare)
*voiced* bilabial fricative to render /v/ in new borrowings (this voiced
bilabial fricative is usually written with the kana for 'u' with the
'voiced' sign - the " on the top right-hand corner - followed by a small
kana for the following vowel). Currently, this /B/ and /b/ tend to compete
in borrowings (/B/ is used when the Japanese want to be more "precise" in
their borrowing), so that you get interchangeable pairs, one with /b/ and
one with /B/.

Christophe Grandsire.

You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.