Are there any words or phrases in Japanese more specific than イングリッシュ, but still used in normal Japanese conversation, to describe native speakers of Japanese either mis-typing or mis-pronouncing an "R" for "L" or vice versa when they are typing or speaking English?

A term that covers all consonant-related issues is fine.

  • 3
    I would describe this as L1-L2 interference (or L1-L2 interaction, more neutrally). The terms L1 and L2, in the context of language learning, refer to native and non-native languages respectively. I recall reading that there's a shared phonological space and that altering one's set of phonemes after early childhood is difficult but possible, so your L1 phonology influences that of your L2, and vice-versa; see Jim Flege's research. Of course, this is Not An Answer, since it's not a common term, nor is it as specific as you'd like. (And of course, it's not in Japanese.)
    – user1478
    Commented Sep 15, 2013 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


I think that's what we call the Japanese accent. If you speak/write English as you would do Japanese in some way or another, your English is 日本語訛りの英語 and vice versa. It may not be as common to call it a foreign accent if it's writing. But it is a quintessential example of foreign accent as a result of influence from your native language.

I tend to doubt that L vs. R is so special in this regard it deserves its own term in a colloquial everyday language. I never heard of such a specialized term myself, although accent trainers, linguists specializing in L2 acquisition, and other professionals might have come up with one. But if they did, I still highly doubt it became part of the Japanese vernacular.

FWIW, I'm a native Japanese speaker who is interested in human language and language learning in general, and have never heard my fellow countrymen use such a specialized term that only refers to one specific aspect of the typical Japanese accent that only manifests when we speak one particular foreign language called English. If anything, it's quite rare for your average Japanese guy on the street to talk about a foreign language in the first place.

Would the word "日本語訛り" be too general of a term for your purpose?

  • I'd also be interested in the linguistic term as it applies to native speakers of Japanese speaking English, if anyone knows since it would supplement this answer.
    – virgil9306
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 7:21

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