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Quoting Ian Spackman <[log in to unmask]>:

> At 10:34 02/07/03, Christophe Grandsire <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >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.
>
>
> I think this is more to do with English than with Japanese.  I've heard
> English speakers describing the Japanese r as "exactly halfway between r
> and l", and there is something to this to my ear, but this is surely
> because English r is just an approximant.
>
> I sometimes wonder how speaker of those English dialects which have the
> alveolar flap as allophones of /d/ and /t/ hear it.

Someone, I can't recall who, described the Japanese r as halfway between l and
d. Seems most likely that he/she tapped his/her /d/s and /t/s.

                                                                    Andreas