The other day as I was taking my daughter Sophie to a local supermarket, she smelled “yakitori” being grilled in a small van parked in front of the store. She turned round to me and said, “Daddy, yakitori, please” so I approached the man running the stall and asked for 3-4 different types of “yakitori” including one skewer of grilled liver.
Unfortunately my Japanese pronunciation was not very good when I placed my order because he didn not understand my request for one skewer of grilled liver. After a minute or so he began to realize what I wanted and gave me a little impromptu pronunciation lesson. He said “riber?…riber?… Oh, you mean rebar!
“Yes, yes, “rebar” please!” I said. So why did I make this pronunciation mistake? Because I was thinking in English and trying to say the English word “liver” in a way which sounded Japanese so I said something like “ribar” and not “rebar”. I need more Japanese practice!
How would you pronounce the following pairs of words? (n.b. some are fictitious words!)
1. river / ribber 2. liver / river 3. labour / rebar