I'm a French speaker and actually I have some problems with the sounds l , r and o in lawyer. Do you have any advice for me on how to place the tongue and so on?
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As David Wallace wrote, there is lots of variation in pronunciation. The answer to the question, depends on which form of English you learn. This link is a good one, because it has sound recordings of the different ways in which this word is pronounced in British and American English. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/lawyer?q=lawyer
When I pronounce l, my tongue either protrudes forward, touching the bottom of my upper lip, with the center of my tongue touching the bottom of my teeth; or bends up and flattens in the front of the roof of my mouth, pushing against the back of my top teeth.
When I pronounce r, my tongue is either in a similar position to the second position noted above for l, but with the tongue not quite touching the roof of my mouth; or curled back slightly in the center of the roof of my mouth.
Both consonants are voiced.
You might try looking at the videos and animations at Phonetics: The Sounds of American English. (I'm assuming that you are looking for General American pronunciation, not RP or other flavors of the language.)
L and R will be under Liquids (although for the R in "lawyer," you might do better to use ɚ from Central Vowels instead).
Oddly, they don't have any sound that really corresponds to the stressed vowel of "lawyer" - the closest, to my ear, is ɔ among the back vowels, although for "lawyer" and similar words the lips are rounded a little more.
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Dec 3 '13 at 16:17
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