My children are learning to read and write by working through every letter of the alphabet. When a new letter is introduced they listen to a small story that features an abundance of the the new letter. Such as,
"La llama llorona esta llorando porque se perdió su llave."
(The crying llama is crying because she lost her key.)Clearly that lesson is about the "ll".
I knew this day would come, I was simply waiting for the humiliation. One of the things I find most fascinating about languages, is the difficulties non-native speakers have when trying to pronounce difficult native sounds.
1. "th" in English is incredibly difficult for Spanish speakers because there is no such sound in Spanish
2. The German umlaut (ü) is one of the impassable barriers between my German and the German I would like to have. I once told a receptionist that I need to "push my paper" because I can't correctly pronounce the difference between "drücken" (to push) and "drucken" (to print).
3. Then there is the horrible rolling of the "r". This hinders me from distinguishing between words like "dog" & "but" and "car" & "expensive"
Today my kids learned the "rr". Last week they learned about "rr"'s weak Superhero friend, the single "r". This weak "r" is scared by vowels so he makes a very quiet sound. But strong "rr" isn't afraid and makes a loud rolling sound.
The Spanish teacher left the room for a while so I had to help the students and needed to tell them words like "cart" and "vineyard," all with the "rr". I took to simply writing them down because I can't properly pronounce them and felt like I was hindering their understanding of the differences between the sounds.
When the teacher came back, I sheepishly told her that I can't roll my "r"s and using hand drawn illustrations, showed me how I can properly train my tongue to make the sound. She finished her explanation by saying, "You simply need to train the tongue. Since there are very few strong sounds in English your mouth is weak."
Hmph. At least I've still got "th".