Serf-demonstlating velsion hele.
Where a joke is made about pronouncing "R's" and "L's" incorrectly in Japanese, or other pronunciations.
While it is true that the Japanese Language cannot easily distinguish 'l' from 'r'; in fact, most Japanese just turn all l's into r's and other affects of their speech are more distinctive than the l/r issue.
When this trope is used, the letters are often reversed where the sounds they are making are not ones that would cause that problem—i.e. "R" (when pronounced "are") being replaced with "L", when a long "ah" sound would be more likely.
There is some truth to this: Japanese has neither English R nor English L - it has a sound that might be best described as a combination between an R and Lnote physiologically this sound does exist in American, Canadian, and Australian English but for psychological reasons sounds quite different: it's the alveolar tap used to make the quick 't' or 'd' sounds in words like "better" or "rider"., if not for the incredible variation it sees in various dialects of Japanese. So, a native Japanese speaker who's not fluent in English can have difficulty telling when to use an R or an L, or will simply use their native R/L sound (which quite often sounds like the wrong letter to an English native). If you want to know what this is like, try pronouncing some Welsh or Gaelic words. The same is true of Korean - it has R's and L's, but these are different allophones of the same phoneme, which is pronounced as an L when it's at the end of a syllable (which doesn't happen in Japanese). Sometimes it's an honest mistake, rather than humor.
Also applied to other Asians - even if the accent doesn't fit (though Chinese are prone to r/l mistakes as well), or with exaggerated accents of their own.
The Japanese R can also occasionally sound to English-speakers like a D (specifically, the "tap" that replaces unstressed /t/ and /d/ in North American and Australian English), but not much seems to be made of this in media.
Involved in some cases of Spell My Name with an S. Often used as part of Asian Speekee Engrish.
There is one more problem like this - "V" is replaced with "B".
Ret's keep the obvious and numelous erectolar jokes to a minimum, sharr we?
Exampres of use fol humol:
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An old Jell-O commercial from the 50's shows a Chinese baby trying to eat Jell-O with chopsticks while the narrator speaks Japanese Ranguage. This is a good demonstration of the trope applied to Chinese accents: all the R's become L's, but the L's are untouched (it's not Jerr-O).
A Japanese commercial for Jelly Beans (cell phones, not the candy) was accompanied by a song about... Jerry Beans.
Anime and Manga
Usually, whenever the opening or ending theme of an anime has a moment where the singer sings English, you'll tend to find an example of this, due to the abundance of common English words with either "R" or "L."
A good example here could be Beck Mongolian Chop Squad, where the interplay of plot and music is very frequent (since the protagonists are a rock band). Very notable when it's Koyuki's turn to sing; all of his songs are in English... A language he, let's just say, doesn't master very well.
UFO Robo Grendizer: This trope affected the main character, Duke Fleed, whose name was written like "Dyūku Furīdo". Several of his enemies also suffered from it: "Blackie" was written "Burakki", and Gandal was turned into Gandar.
This is actually the proper spelling, as the name of the nation is meant to reference the similarities between Amelia and Sailor Moon.
Then, of course, in the second episode of Try, Amelia's fist reads "HUNGLY" in one frame.
Durarara!! subbers often accidentally put "Dulalala" on the title in the opening sequence.
That's actually sort of correct. The title refers to Celty, a Dullahan, so spelling it Durarara is itself an example of this.
It's also supposed to be the onomatopoeia for the sound of a motorcycle ("Drrrr"), so it's basically an untranslatable pun that would be "incorrect" either way.
There's a fair chance that Japanese Ranguage may have been involved in the naming of "Kallen" from Code Geass. When pronounced it sounds more like "Karen" and was in fact used by some fansubbers. However, the official transliteration is Kallen, which could possibly be due to someone aware of the problems with Japanese Ranguage and overcompensating. Granted there's no actual evidence for this, but it is at any rate a theory held by a decent enough portion of the fanbase, and there are fans that reject the "Kallen" transliteration outright.
At least one fansub of One Piece pronounces the town of Alabasta as Arabasta.
It was explicitly used in some fansubs, where she called herself Kallen when referring to her English bloodline, and Karen to Japanese.
It should be noted however, that Karen is a common name in both the English and Japanese languages, in English it was derived from Kathrine and its Kanji [ 可憐 ] means lovely, when referring to a girl or flower.
In one episode of Love Hina, Keitaro and Naru are studying English, and trying to figure out if a particular word is pronounced "correct" or "collect".
"Alucard" from Castlevania fame predates Hellsing and the author wanted to avoid any legal issues, so in his characteristic Obfuscating Stupidity he let the name spelling be wrong and the fans to figure it out. It is even lampshaded by some antagonist (something about the lines of "I don't care if your name is Alucard or Arucardo")
This trope, combined with the Japanese confusion between 'B' and 'V', led to Verthandi becoming Belldandy in Ah! My Goddess from the original Japanese to English. Belldandy, or more appropriately, Berudandi, is the closest Japanese can get in regards to a phonetic spelling of Verthandi in Japanese kana. Considering when the series first started, both Fujishima and various translators let the error stand, since that's how fans knew the name. The Scandinavian translations get the various names of the deities correct. It should also be noted that the translators started getting the names correct for new deities and such over the course of the series.
A recurring instance of this comes in many Mecha series, where the giant robots' heads-up displays will read "ROCK ON" instead of "LOCK ON". Banpresto included a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of this in the Gameboy AdvanceSuper Robot Wars games, where Wing Gundam Zero's targeting display says "ROCK" on the left side...and "N ROLL" on the right.
The anime series for the second Super Robot Wars Original Generation game seems to be turning this into a running gag, as the term "ROCK ON" appears twice within the first four episodes. Then again, if "AN ERROR" is any indication, it may be a legitimate mistake.
Speaking of mecha, an infamous Japanese scan claimed the L-Gaim Mk. II featured a Morvabul Flame, which is a seriously impressive example (for the record, it's supposed to be the much less epic-sounding "movable frame").
The late 70s anime Captain Future was adapted from an American pulp science-fiction series. Unfortunately, these American roots were unknown to or ignored by the makers of the German dub, resulting in pseudo-English character names re-translated from Japanese: female sidekick John Randall turns into Joan Landor, Marshall Ezra Gurney becomes Ezella Garnie, and Arch-Enemy Ul Quorn goes by the name of Vul Kuolun.
Rebuild of Evangelion: Kaji's attempts to speak to Americans in Rebuild 2.0. Everyone else who speaks English in the film is really quite good, but Kaji is ear-crunchingly awful. If it weren't for the subtitles he'd almost be unintelligible.
Subbers of Inu Yasha can't seem to decide between "Kilala" and "Kirara". Actors in the dub say "Kilala".
Though "Kirara" makes more sense (this is Feudal Japan we're talking about).
Ravi/Labi/Rabi/Lavi from D.Gray-man. Even the official publishers don't know how to translate this guy's name!
On the same note, Maito Guy/Might Guy/Mighty Guy/Maito Gai/Mighty Gay from Naruto.
In Azumanga Daioh, Tomo and Osaka comment that Bruce Lee's name sounds like "Blue Three," causing them to imagine him beating up Blue One and Blue Two.
The B-V version of this trope is probably the reason Black Lagoon's female lead is nicknamed "Revy." "Reby" would be a more natural shortening of "Rebecca," but "Revy" is the official translation for some reason. Possibly because it looks and sounds cooler. "Levy" also crops up in some translations.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE has been using English words for the Mecha Expansion Packs the AGE Gundams use throughout the series: AGE-1 Titus, AGE-2 Double Bullet, AGE-3 Fortress, etc. Most of them have been translated fine, except for the AGE-1's close-combat high-speed form: the AGE-1 "Spallow" (presumably meant to be "Sparrow").
In the trailer for K-On! the movie, Ritsu shouts "Lock 'n' LOLL!!"
Voltaire's (not thatVoltaire) comic Deady Big in Japan features this, for the most part in lieu of actually speaking Japanese. It even lampshades it, when they refer to a "Escuratuh Attendent" and the bottom says "Escalator Attendant, for those who don't speak Japanese". Of course, he's pretty good about getting the accent right, instead of just replacing Ls and Rs, still.
American Born Chinese is a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang that features Chin-Kee, a hollibel Chinese steleotype who tarks rike this. This trope is actually being deliberately invoked in-universe, as Chin-Kee, who is in reality the legendary Monkey King (It Makes Sense in Context), actually speaks perfect English, and is speaking in this manner for reasons that are never adequately explained.
Every Asian in Mortadelo y Filemón (And most stuff from Spain for that matter) speaks with the "L in place of R" variety, regardless of their country of origin. Then again, they look so racistically caricaturesque it's almost fitting.
A oriental Martial Arts expert in a Spirou and Fantasio comic used "L"s instead of "R"s (in the original French version anyway).
A Greek man loves going to a certain Chinese restaurant and asking what the special is. The special is always fried rice, and he loves hearing the waiter say "flied lice" - it makes the Greek laugh and laugh. The waiter HATES this, and is horribly embarrassed by it. When the Greek has to leave town for a month on business the waiter works with a speech therapist and tries hard. When the Greek came back and asked what the special was, the waiter said "The special today is fried rice. How's THAT, you clazy Gleek??"
A common and slighty more off-color variant is omit the man's Greek ethnicity and replace "Gleek" with "plick."
There were three men working for a construction contractor, two Americans and a Japanese man, and the contractor told the first American to dig out a hole to lay a concrete foundation, and the second American to mix the concrete, and the Japanese man to go out and get the necessary supplies to dig the hole. He comes back the next day, and sees that no progress has been made, so he goes to the man who was supposed to lay the concrete and starts yelling at him, but he says "It's not my fault, the other guy never dug the hole, so I couldn't lay the concrete." The contractor goes to the other man and yells at him, but he says "It's not my fault, the Japanese guy never got me the digging equipment." Annoyed, the contractor looks for the Japanese man, but he is nowhere to be found. Frustrated, he sits down, and suddenly the Japanese man pops out and yells "SUPPRISE!"
A Japanese woman goes to an eye doctor. The doctor tells her, "I'm sorry, but you have a bad cataract." The woman says, "No, not cataract. Is Rincoln Continental!"
In Good Omens, Newt Pulsifer has a car called a Wasabi, an early example of Japanese car manufacturing. And it talks, and actually shoehorns Ls and Rs in where neither belongs:
"Prease to frasten sleat-bert."
Robert Anton Wilson's Schroedinger's Cat trilogy has a character who gives an impassioned pre-hanging speech with all the Ls and Rs swapped.
Remo Williams did this to intentionally anger his master Chiun, even though there's no indication Sinanju shares Japanese linguistic patterns.
In one of the Jennings books, Pettigrew makes an Incredibly Lame Joke about a Chinese stamp-collector. The punchline is "Philately will get you nowhere".
Henry Beard's Latin for All Occasions is basically a phrasebook for those times when you need to speak classical Latin. For times when you're in a Chinese restaurant, he helpfully translates "Do you have 'flied lice'? Ha ha ha!" as "Habesne olyziam flictam? Hae hae hae!"
Similar to Anime, if a Japanese Live Action Show theme uses English (Mostly seen in Toku), than there tends to be some of this. For example, in the main theme of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, there's a moment where the singer is suppose to say "Let's go! Let's go!", but instead says "Ret's go! Ret's go!" (Even the subtitles say "Ret's").
Monty Python also had a song on their audio recordings which was the old standby Anglican hymn "Jerusalem" with all the L's and R's swapped, thus retitling it "Jelusarem". ("And did those feet, in ancient times, wark upon Engrand's mountains gleen...")
Chapman again played an Chinese stereotype in the "Cycling Tour" episode, who had difficulty pronouncing Cornwall. "Colrnlrnwarrll..."
Chapman seemed to be fond of portraying the Chinese stereotype, as in the School Prize-Giving sketch where he portrayed a chinaman impersonating to be the Bishop of East Anglia rewarding the prizes to China.
Top Gear: Jeremy Clarkson sometimes indulges in this. For example his version (based on prior urban legend) of how the Mitsubishi Starion got its name is that the American advertising agency misheard the Japanese executive saying Mitsubishi Stallion, and ends with a comedy "marverrous". Then again, he switches into an equally daft American accent; "Ok, weeee'll have the BROchures prinned tonight!"
Used (subverted?) in Da Kath And Kim Code (movie-length Christmas special of Kath And Kim). As the family is sitting down for dinner one of the characters says "this chicken is bloody rubbery". The others think he's making one of these jokes, but the "chicken" turns out to be the latex fake breast Kath had lost earlier in the episode.
In the "China" episode of Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off, Giles attempts the same joke, which the waiter interprets literally and starts apologising for profusely, whilst Giles feebly explains what he was trying to do.
Jasper Carrott did a routine referencing this about how if a group of British people go to any far-eastern restaurant somebody in the group will impersonate the waiter too loudly "Flied lice, ha ha ha! As if he's deaf! He gets it every night of his life. He goes straight to the kitchen and pisses in the soup, it's your own fault!"
In an episode of Are You Being Served?, a Japanese Tourist came into the store with his "Cledit Caa" (Sooooooo!). Captain Peacock's attempts to communicate with him are at least as hilarious as the tourist himself ("You wanty buy?" "Whaty-wanty?")
MrHumphries: You know, I would have thought that it was just a matter of practice...
Get Smart had a Chinese villain who called himself "The Claw." Unfortunately, he had trouble getting this across properly. His catchphrase was "It's not 'The Craw,' it's 'The Craw!'"
One episode of Have I Got News for You had a joke featuring this, resulting to one of the panellists complaining about "razy lacism".
The Dutch version, after an item about an escalator being stolen in China, had a pun featuring this. Sadly, it doesn't work in English.
In the pilot of Modern Family, Mitchell and Cam introduce their adopted Vietnamese daughter, who they've named Lily. Dimbulb Phil thinks she'll have trouble saying that name.
Official PlayStation Magazine featured a fake Japanese game contest commentator who employed this trope. As a joke, he once denied being one of the writers in a "lacist" persona.
In a Cracked Mazagine spoof of Black Sheep Squadron many years ago, Capt. Boyington is disguised as a Japanese person. He gets almost found out at one point, being asked, "Are you sure you're Japanese?" To which he replied, "Of course. Didn't you notice I'm reversing my Rs and Ls?"
The DragonForceGag Dub video "Herman Li is Cool" exaggerates Herman's accent by making him speak like this.
The final gig of X Japan's 2010 North American Tour happened to be located at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City.Yoshiki Hayashi had to talk about this in a promotional clip. The result? ROWSWAND BAWWROOM, MOTHERFUCKER!
Fans have started referring to the concert as "Yellow Fudge Cakes" after Gackt's...interesting pronunciation.
Rucka Rucka Ali (pronounced in the song as "Rucka Rucka Ari") is intentionally making fun of the various Asian stereotypes in "Ching Chang Chong".
Rin and Len from Vocaloid are sometimes mistaken for Lin and Ren. Luka is also sometimes called Ruka.
Miriam's genderbend is called William. In English, the two names don't seem to rhyme (genderbend names are usually supposed to rhyme with their real counterparts), but since the Japanese pronounce Miriam "miriamu" and William "uiriamu", they do actually rhyme.
Japan has a particular fondness for the Dullahan, an Irish legendary spirit who's similar to the Headless Horseman. However, there's a tendency to mistranslate its name back as Durahan. The Dragon Quest series and Monster Rancher are among the series to bear Durahans where they realy should have Dullahans.
Vagrant Story uses both spellings inconsistently, depending on whether you're fighting the Dullahan or looking him up in the bestiary.
Also, check the Durarara!! example in the Anime/Manga section.
The NFL blog "Kissing Suzy Kolber" does this with their fictionalized Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward (an Korean-African American) character.
There's a The Wizard of Id strip where a stereotypical Asian person gets tossed into the prison, and strikes up a conversation with perennial inmate Spook. He remarks that he's hungry, and would "rike big dish of flied lice". Spook tells him the food's bad enough already, don't go giving them ideas...
Christmas Eve speaks like this in Avenue Q, plus idiosyncratic grammar. Her pronunciation of "recyclables" as something along the lines of "lee-psych-er-a-burrs" is incomprehensible to anyone but her husband. One of her songs is "The More You Ruv Someone (The More You Wanna Kirrem)."
Steleotypicer, but rike she says, "Evelyone's a ritter bit lacist!"
Used for a joke in "Gliding Through My Memoree" from Flower Drum Song, with an obviously Asian girl being passed off as Irish:
Frankie: Say something Irish. "Irish" Girl: Ellin go blah.
Shadow Hearts has the problem of translator turning all R's into L's, and all B's into V's. There's a character called Halley - didn't it occur to anyone on the translation team that his name might be Harry?
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment has the same problem with a spell: Lily's Jail or Release Jail?
Also crops up in anime sometimes, though a little differently. On more than one occasion screens had announced missile lock with 'Rock On,' unintentionally invoking a different trope at the same time.
Video games have done that too: in one of the Mega Man arcade games, Wily telegraphs an attack with a moving crosshair that adds a small "ROCK ON!" label shortly before firing. Unless it turns out to be a pun on the protagonist's Japanese name.
An interesting example exists in Guilty Gear, where the special blocking technique that avoids chip damage but uses up the super bar can be transliterated as Faultless Defense or Fortress Defense, both of which describe the technique accurately. Also, a variant of an Animation Cancel move that requires super bar energy can be either False Roman Cancel (False because it resembles the real one but uses half as much energy) or Force Roman Cancel (an FRC can always be used, even if your attack misses, while a regular RC can only be used if you make contact).
Arc System Works apparently likes puns based on this trope, considering that BlazBlue can be read as "Blaze Blue" or "Brave Blue" from the kana.
Kirby fans familiar with the early games may know a recurring miniboss character named Mr. Frosty, an ice cube-throwing walrus. The localization staff for Kirby & the Amazing Mirror must not have been so familiar, as the character was dubbed Mr. Flosty.
In the NES version of Double Dragon, the name Roper is romanized into "Lopar" in the manual.
The NES version of Double Dragon III has Bimmy Lee.
Speaking of Metal Gear, the main heroine in the MSX version of Metal Gear 2 is named "Horry". Later releases of the game spells it "Holly".
And in a strange aversion, in Metal Gear Solid 2Kojima confirmed that the spelling/writing of Raiden's name was changed so that this would not transliterate his name into (bin) Laden, as the game was released shortly after September 11, 2001.
Touhou 12.8: Fairy Wars has one of the more amusing instances of this, as the accompanying English translation for the final battle music with the intended Title Drop is written as "Faily Wars".
Air Gallet: "Air Garrett, blows your socks off!"
An engrish mistranslation resulted in one of the bosses in Devil May Cry, Nero Angelo (Black Angel in Italian), being referred to as Nelo Angelo.
Similarly, the fourth game has a demon named Berial, rather than Belial.
Valis, or Varis? This mistake sometimes occurs in the English dubs of Valis 2 and III for the TurboGrafx-16.
In the international version of Super Mario Bros. 2, the enemy Clawgrip was mistranslated as Clawglip. This error even remains in the SNES version (Super Mario All-Stars), but was finally fixed in the GBA version (Super Mario Advance).
The early The Legend of Zelda games had an enemy named Zola, which was changed to Zora in later games.
Vowels are not exempt from this in Japanese, most especially the 'u' as pronounced in words like "bug" or "slug". In every Dragon Quest game prior to VIII, Bubble Slimes were referred to as Babbles. In Mega Man 2, one Robot Master is variably called either Clash Man or Crash Man, and many believe the actual name was intended to be Crush Man.
Metroid: Although "Varia" does evoke a certain sense of endurance and versatility appropriate to the armor upgrade's effect, if it had been transliterated as "barrier", it might have made a bit more sense ("b" and "v" can be transliterated interchangeably, and as alluded to in the description, an "-er" ending can be approximated by an extended "a" or "ah" sound).
Taken Up to Eleven in the episode where the Chinese Mafia is shaking him down... by tipping over the food trays. "Not the shitty beef!"
Also done in the appropriately-named episode "The Chinese Probrem", where Cartman and Butters are infiltrating PF Chang's to find out the Chinese invasion plans. Cartman instructs Butters that all he needs to do is squint and say "Herro, prease" to pass off as a Chinaman. Needless to say, the real Chinese people aren't impressed.
The majority of examples above are "real life" in that they're not a result of someone deliberately attempting to invoke the trope, they're examples of the reason the trope exists in the first place.
Since it's easier to learn an accent than a language, but you usually start learning a language with your own accent, a speaker with an otherwise good English accent might keep doing this out of habit even when they should know better. (This Troper is a Spanish native speaker and it really peeves him to keep mixing voiced TH's [as in this] with D's in English.)
In World War II, this was also used as a shibboleth. If an American unit spotted someone claiming to be Filipino, they would ask him to say "Lolapalooza"; if they said "roraparooza", they were shot.
Some European languages and dialects have trouble with English Ls and Rs as well. Molisan, for example, has L and R sounds, but Ls and Rs are silent if preceded by certain vowel sounds. Attempts to render these in English are difficult even for experienced speakers, a common mistake is "Rey cherry"(really chilly).
Used frequently in stand-up acts, particularly that of John Pinette, when talking about a Japanese family wanting to see "Free Willy". Hilarity ensues.
When Douglas Mac Arthur was considering running for President, a sign erected by Japanese citizens in Tokyo read: "We pray for MacArthur's erection."
In Bill Bryson's BBC radio series about the English language "Journeys In English", one of his guests, a well-spoken Japanese university lecturer living in England, while speaking about the problems for any Japanese learning English still says "plonunciation" and "my Engrish sometimes causes some probrems".
This is acknowledged by many Japanese citizens, particularly when they're attempting to learn English or similar.. The word "Really" has proven to be a good test.