Hi! I just came across 両日 - both days. The listed pronunciation is りょうじつ. So far so good, I know both of those. But Wanikani also has the very helpful button you can click where you hear a fluent speaker pronounce the words. And he pronounces it ようじつ. No matter how many times I listen to it, I can’t hear any trace of the り. Is there some quirk of Japanese here where り is sometimes mute? I’m really just wondering if there is something I have failed to pick up on, because if I only learned りょうじつ and heard ようじつ in the wild, I wouldn’t immediately guess that they were the same word.
I can hear the slightest trace of an “r/l” sound in there, but it’s so faint it’s hard to tell whether it’s there or if it’s just my mind. I tried out other words starting with りょう、りょ、りゃ、etc. , and while some of them sounded slightly clearer, it’s still quite faint. My guess is that it’s just due to the two sounds being sounded out in quick succession.
My suggestion is you create a couple of contrast / minimal pair decks in anki, where you can practice this sound. (You can have mine, I linked it below, but I suggest you make your own).
The words I have used:
The sound of this guy on WK is actually quite clear! I can think of less clear examples. Try this one out for size: wkscripts.nfshost.com/15-ryaKUZI.ogg
To actually answer your question: The sound here is りょ, not り. The r articulation is accompanied by palatalization, that is, the back part of the tounge is in position to make the y sound while the tip makes the flap-r. It is not mute or whispered, but it can sound kind of slurred.
This made me curious and I went to listen for myself, Personally I hear a very clear りょ at the beginning and not よ, no matter how many times I listen to it. I suggest maybe trying some listening practice because a lot of these sounds are so similar, its hard at first. While i’ve never tried the suggestion above, that may be a place to start!
While the R sound is “fainter” than the English R, I can tell it’s there.