I recently learned an interesting thing about the English and Japanese languages: Japanese has only about 108 distinct sounds, while English has (are you ready?) over 1800!
I’d known for a long time that there were sounds in English that just don’t exist in Japanese, but I didn’t realize just there was that many. This gives me a lot more sympathy for my students as they try to wrap their mouths around the complexities of English pronunciation.
It also explains why so many Japanese words sound the same to me and are so hard to memorize. Or, at least, that’s my excuse now.
(posted Dec. 15 ‘10)