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It’s not a secret that English words are often hard for Japanese people to pronounce. People rely on schools, educational CDs, TV dramas and movies, and whatever else they can think of to practice their language skills. But one Japanese YouTuber recently discovered that Siri, the voice assistant feature found in iPhones that people so frequently troll, actually makes an effective (though slightly annoying) language teacher.
Having heard that the word “girl” is a particularly hard word for Siri to catch when pronounced by a Japanese person, YouTuber @はじめしゃちょー (Hajime Shachyo) decided to test it out for himself.
He first explains that the English R and L sounds are especially difficult to pronounce for the Japanese, and having the two letters placed side-by-side makes saying the word out loud even more complicated. Even for someone who has studied abroad (he shares that he studied in the UK), it’s not an easy feat.
The first part of the video is mostly him explaining, so you can skip to 1:40 to go straight to his little experiment.
At first he has little luck, and Siri continuously misunderstands his attempts for other words, like:
Determined to make her understand, Hajime Shachyo tries different ways of saying the word “girl,” until he finally seems to get it right. Towards the end he seems to get the hang of it, and repeatedly succeeds in making himself understood by Siri.
While the experiment was rather long and frustrating, he realizes that Siri actually makes for a good tool to practice pronouncing foreign words. For anyone currently learning a new language, it’s definitely worth a try.