One of the most difficult things to learn to do when you learn a foreign language is to speak with an accent that doesn’t sound foreign. Usually when you speak a foreign language and your accent is lacking, it will shine through because the new language has a few sounds or different vowels that aren’t present or are used differently in your native language.
Some examples that I can recall include the following:
Spanish speakers sometimes have difficulty with words beginning with sp, because in Spanish, e always preceeds sp, therefore, spoon becomes espoon. Speed becomes espeed, etc. This is something minor that can be easily corrected with lots of practice.
Japanese and Korean speakers sometimes have difficulty with L and R sounds, because in both languages there is neither L and R, but a sound that is in between. Through training, L and R can be learned, however, words with both L and R in them can be difficult, especially when they are next to each other. Rally, Larry, really, Laurie, rarely, and words like that can really throw people off.
But this is all very different from saturi.
Some problems that I as an English speaker learning foreign languages include the following:
Soy sauce anyone?
The “rr” sound in Spanish is a kind of rolled r. I can definitely hear the sound, but I can’t for the life of me pronounce it. “Perro” (dog) and “pero” (but) coming out of my mouth would sound the same.
Any “ry” sound in Korean or Japanese can be pronounced with much effort, but in conversation, I drop the r, because I guess I have not trained my tongue to say this flawlessly. If anyone remembers Street Fighter, one of the special moves, the Dragon Punch is accompanied by the character shouting “Sho Ryu Ken!” (Rising Dragon Punch). Coming out of my mouth it becomes “Sho Yu Ken!” (Soy Sauce Punch).
In Korean also, I still have a lot of trouble with the following consonants “ㅃㅉㄸㄲㅆ” and distinguishing the difference between ㅐandㅔ.
By and large, I would have to rate my own accent as pretty good. I know I am probably not the best judge for myself, but I can hear a bad accent in Korean, and I sound nothing like that.
But this is all very very different from saturi.
What’s saturi? Continue reading