As "処女" and "少女" are both nouns, swapping them will not change to grammatical correctness of a sentence?
No, both are nouns, however, since there is a big difference in the meaning between
them, although I do not comprehend what you are trying to mean by "grammatical",
if you differenciate these two words, a huge problem could be arisen because while
"処女” means a virgin, while "少女” means a little girl. And in this case, I recommend
not to use "処女” so often otherwise with your girlfriend or very close friend, since
it IS really sexually offensive.
Are not "少女" and "処女" similar enough in meaning that, in certain contexts, mistakenly saying "しょじょ" instead of "しょうじょ" does not change the meaning, but it does introduce sexuality into the sentence?
Yes, please refer to the above explanation.
My way of avoiding that issue has always been to say "女の子" instead of "少女". That is almost the same meaning, right?
It is really hard for me to "judge" only from your short ( sorry ) sentence. It really
depends upon the "whole meaning of what you are trying to say"
In summary, I don't want anyone to think I am discussing the virginity of young girls. Do the similar pronunciations of "少女" and "処女" present such a risk?
Yes, I think it is safe to say "unlike" English, which had undergone "Great Vowel Shift",
Japanese vowels need to be sounded as they are. So in short, just be a bit more careful
when speaking vowels in Japanese.
To user 312440, let me say like this. First thing I personally think you should try in order to improve your Japanese, is to understand the difference between the 2 languages and
and how to actually pronounce correctly the Japanese vowels. I found here a cute lady's lesson ha-ha http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSlDo_XE4FM. If you listen to her, you MIGHT feel some sort of, so to say, "the difference of tone ( or either pitch, I would like to say )", because to me, personally Japanese sounds "lower" than English, if you believe the theory of the sound wave length of the languages, you might be able to have your opinion.
Since every language is spoken with their tongue and lips and teeth moved differently, don't you think? So let me go back to "how to pronounce 少女", according to her ( I mean above girl, she says " Your mouth stays in the same position for all the vowels", however,
I MAY agree, after checking myself, for each vowel from a to o, as she says, the position of the tip of your tongue remains at the same position, which is, I think at the back of your lower teeth. For o, particularly, may be in my opinion, the tip of your tongue at the back of your lower teeth, deep may be, and and do kindly not open your lips so wide rather
make them round small. As for consonants, she says, Japanese has wholly has the "aspiration", however, most of them look like so, if you believe it or not, you can listen to her, but let me write my opinions for sh and j to produce the sound of "少女”. Now for sh, in English, according to her http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr2adpD6sYUI, right, teeth shut, air flown, THE POSITION OF YOUR TONGUE A BIT HIGHER. However, in Japanese, for sh, or rather more for sho ( for sho-u-jo ), TO ME, ( please listen to the cute babe too ( smile )), teeth shut, THE TIP OF YOUR TONGUE AT THE BACK OF YOUR LOWER TEETH, and air flown. And last for not least, for jo, PERSONALLY, first teeth shut, then open your mouth with your tip of your tongue "slung" to the top at the position of the Englsh's R or L position, up in the mouth, INSTANTLY, and air out. Pfew, I think alternatives or not, I recommend first of all to learn the pronunciation rather than the usage of the words, because the words can be used variably according to the "situation". Good for you.