Thursday, February 17, 2011

The "R" Is Important

When working with many people from around the world who did not grow up speaking English, it is important to keep in mind how IMPORTANT the letter "R" is, and how difficult it is for non-native English speakers to sometimes get it right, and to not confound the use of "R" and "L" with each other.

Cancer       becomes "Cancel"
Titration     becomes "Titillation"
Increment   becomes "Inclement"

The examples are endless, but these are a few that I've heard in the last several days from Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic native speakers.  I try very hard, when pronouncing non-native English words and names to get it right, the way the local native speaker would pronounce it.  In English, when there's an "R", use an "R" and not an "L" or a "W" or a silent letter.  When there's no "R" (like the word "India") please don't add an extra "R" in there.  =)

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