Chinese Speakers Confuse the /n/ & /l/ Sounds

In my accent reduction coaching program I often find that my Chinese clients from Hong Kong and mainland China often confuse the /n/ & /l/ sounds when they are speaking English.

If you do this, it can really create confusion for your American listeners! ☹

Problem words include:

  • financial
  • initial
  • development
  • intelligent
  • economical

If you are a Chinese (or Japanese or Korean speaker)  words with both an /n/ sound  & an /l/ sound with can be very difficult to articulate!

When I work with my accent reduction clients I help them feel the difference between these two English sounds. I tell them that:

The /n/ is a nasal sound. The airflow moves through your nose.

The /l/ is a liquid sound. The airflow moves along the sides of your tongue.

If you’d like a copy of my 7 page reportAmerican English Pronunciation Tips for Chinese Speakers, just send me an email message at

I’ll send you a PDF copy of my report asap.