All D’s Were Not Created Equal – How to Sound Less Like A Foreigner

All D’s Were Not Created Equal – How to Sound Less Like A Foreigner

‘D’ not ‘G’!

This is a continuation in my series of clips of how to evade the ‘foreigner speak’ trap when learning a language and speak more like a native.

Another trap we can fall into is using our mother tongue’s renderings of certain letters in place of how the native speakers of a language we’re learning pronounce them. In this clip, I take you through some examples I have experienced in Mandarin, Thai, Vietnamese and Spanish to show that indeed, not all ‘D’s were created equal.

I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions. If you would like to contact me, you can drop me an email via my website –

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Stuart Jay Raj is a polyglot who specializes in the languages and dialects spoken in South East Asia and China. His talents have allowed him to earn a professional living as a simultaneous interpreter in Thai, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Indonesian, among others, providing language and cultural training for multinational companies in the region and hosting his own TV programme on Thailand's Channel 5. He holds a degree in Cognitive and Applied Linguistics from Griffith University and has become an expert in the field of language acquisition with a strong track record of success. Stuart's background knowledge of Sanskrit, Khmer, Lao and various Chinese dialects and minority languages enables him to present a fascinating and unique perspective on the Thai language which makes everything fall logically into place.

    You have came up with good examples in the video above. Video quite interesting! I got your point, not all ‘D’s were created equal.

  • Chris

    Thanks Stu – your videos are always so insightful. I’m curious, given the dangers of using our native language to approximate foreign sounds, what is your view on the use of pinyin in learning Mandarin?

  • Curt

    Non-plosive? The term you’re looking for is voiceless, unaspirated plosive 😉