Common mistakes… (9)

He’s got a nice tongue!?

That may not be what you want to say, but if you use Katakana pronunciation that’s kind of what you are saying.

In Katakana, tongue and tan are written and pronounced the same way:


 It’s important to note, though, that neither of these words are pronounced タン in English.

Tongue is pronounced /tʌŋ/. The first two sounds /tʌ/ are the same as in tough /tʌf/ and the final sound /ŋ/ is also found at the end of ring /rɪŋ/.

The dog above has a pink tongue, but the one below has a purple/bluish-black one.


Tan, on the other hand, is pronounced quite differently: /tæn/

The middle sound /æ/ is pronounced the same as ‘a’ in cat /kæt/. This sound is not used in Japanese, so it can be a tricky one to pronounce correctly at first.

Their feet are tanned in a funny way.

As mentioned in Common Mistakes… (7) using Katakana pronunciation can make it more difficult to be understood.  So, take care of how you pronounce ‘tan’ and ‘tongue’, so that you don’t get strange looks.


If this post has been helpful, you might consider studying with S. and L. English Lessons.  Get in contact today to organise a trial lesson and let’s continue the conversation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.