I moved to a different country and joined a new karate club. Sensei speaks only Japanese and I'm ok with the commands he gives, but the ridiculous situation is that he can't pronounce my name (Povilas).

It became a comic problem when he names everyone - Tom, Ann, Patrick, etc., but I'm left alone and he just points at me and asks - "What's your name again?".

How would "Povilas" sound in Japanese? Maybe there's a similar sounding word or combination of two words?

Help is very much appreciated - I just want him to know who I am.

  • 1
    Keep in mind that people that speak languages other than Japanese also have this problem as well. It does not seem intentional.
    – oxr463
    Sep 25 '19 at 16:52

I have found one famous person has the same name as you in Japanese Wikipedia.

"Povilas Vanagas", a Lithuanian ice dancer, is translated as 「ポヴィラス・ヴァナガス」 .

Japanese don't distinguish [l] and [r] , [b] and [v]. It might be difficult for your karate sensei to catch and distinguish the sounds of your name by their ear at first time.

If you accept Povilas as「ポヴィラス」to be spelt in Japanese, I assume one of the explanation to pronounce it like:

"Po" as "Pokémon" : 「ケモン」

"vi" as "Venus" : 「ヴィーナス」

"las" as "Last" : 「ラスト」or "Las Vegas" 「ラスべガス」.

Use the bold part and concatenate altogether to pronounce your name. I hope it works.

I remember it was very difficult for me to pronounce "Woolworths", supermarkets in Australia. I pronounced "Wool" + "Worths" very slowly and tried to pronounce them at once. I recommend you ask him to pronounce your name very slowly at first.

There are questions discussed about the difficulties for Japanese to distinguish those sounds:

Do Japanese actually pronounce the "v" sound?

Why do Japanese speakers have difficulty pronouncing "L"?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.