体 (からだ)Pronunciation advice

Hello, all!!
Last night, I introduced this vocab; 体、からだ; Body (n & adj). I’ve continued to struggle with it’s pronunciation - the らだ part. I just keep tripping over it, and it gets jumbled in my mouth. I have a fair understanding of the distinctive sound and oral technique between the ら vs だ , but still, after reviewing it maybe 6 or 7 times and repeating the word aloud lots of times each review, it’s still a mess.

I’ve found that r-romanji (ら、り、る、れ、ろ)vary in sound depending on the word, ranging from what sounds like L,LR,R,D.

Has anyone else struggled with this? I know that I can achieve good pronunciation eventually with repetition, but I know some advice from you WaniKani veterans may help immensely.

If it is helpful to understanding my struggle, here’s audio of my current pronunciation:

Thanks everyone!!

edit/update:

It’s still far from perfect, and I’m certain I have a some sort of mid-western american accent but I feel as though I’ve made a nice improvement. I’ll keep working on pitch and inflection and now my studies have been more pronunciation oriented(I installed the WaniKani pitch info script).

Improvement!

You’ve all been super helpful! I’ll continue working on it.

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The consonants sounds fine, but you kinda sound like you’re saying かるだ.

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Well, not really, as far as I’m concerned, though it’s true that the Japanese R is quite unique, even if it’s supposed to be the same sound as the tapped R in Spanish (or at least, that’s one way of pronouncing it)…

Based on this, perhaps what’s happening is that you’re unconsciously trying to reduce or rush the second syllable, possibly because it uses the same vowel as the final syllable, or because you’re telling yourself that R and D are similar in Japanese, which is messing with your pronunciation. The very first time you say ‘karada’ in the recording, we can hear all three syllables distinctly, but once you start speeding up, the second syllable disappears. I suspect that what you’re doing is that you’re trying too hard to curl your tongue up for the R, and so it somehow gets ‘stuck’ in that position. Perhaps the ways you pronounce R and D in Japanese are too similar. I’m not sure.

In any case, for me, the main difference between R and D in Japanese is that for R, my tongue is further back in my mouth, pressing on the bump behind my teeth. (By the way, I don’t curl my tongue very much for the Japanese R. It’s more like my tongue is forming a little S in my mouth. The upper side of my tongue presses against the roof of my mouth, not the underside.) For D, my tongue gets really close to my teeth. Also, the R is a very light sound, simply requiring me to move the tip of my tongue downwards almost vertically, whereas for D, more of my tongue is pressed against the area behind my teeth, and it stays horizontal as it comes down. I also tend to release air with slightly more force when pronouncing a D instead of an R.

Something else that might help you (which will also give you the correct pitch accent, by the way) is focusing on pronouncing ら and だ at exactly the same pitch and for exactly the same amount of time. Go syllable by syllable. The way you’re pronouncing からだ now is more like ka-RA-Da. (Musically, in solfege using English-speaking musical conventions, it’s do-mi-re, or G-B-A if I’m not wrong about the notes – I needed a keyboard to compare the pitches, but I’m pretty sure about the intervals.) You start low, go high (up two tones), and then come down a little (down a tone). It should be more like ka-RA-DA: start low, go up about a third (1.5 tones), and stay there. Here are some samples: https://ja.forvo.com/word/身体_(からだ)/ You need to allow yourself to complete the second syllable before moving on to the third. Make sure your tongue is fully disengaged from the roof of your mouth before you start forming the D. When you eventually start speeding up, you should feel your tongue lightly tapping/jabbing the roof of your mouth twice in a row, moving slightly further forward for the second tap compared to the first.

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Like @Jonapedia said, you’re definitely rushing the second mora. In Japanese each mora should get the same amount of time. Saying just the second mora a bit slower to match the rest should take care of the problem @Belthazar mentioned and possibly some of the other things you’re experiencing.

The other way this manifests is it sounds like you’re emphasizing the first part like KARA-da. It’s a heiban pattern word so there shouldn’t be any emphasis.

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Wow! Thank you for the detailed response. This is incredibly helpful, especially the advice on oral form.

The use of solfege to explain pronunciation is very useful. I like KaniWani.com because every word/phrase has a graphic that visualizes the correct pitch. My main source of pronunciation at this time is the WaniKani audio, just doing my best to memorize patterns they use for pitch. That website you linked seems very useful and I’ll likely use it as an additional resource.

Thanks so much!!!

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One thing to note about the WK audio is that Kenichi “talks like an older dude”.

For example, on 体, Kyoko has the standard mora timing, but Kenichi stretches that last だ out just a tiny bit more and his mora timing is looser in general.

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I found this video very helpful in getting much better pronunciation for the Japanese “R” sounds. Hopefully it helps you too.

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Seeing this already solved, I thought I’d add in my tangent to it. I’ve actually been having the opposite issue with 正しい because in my dialect of English, d sounds can be turned into a tap, making my d identical to a Japanese r, so I get like たらしい instead of ただしい.

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For the ‘d’ sound, move your tongue about a millimeter back from where it taps the roof of your mouth for ‘r’. Maybe even half a millimeter. Just play with the placement and you should get a better distinction.

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