Pronunciation Guide & Super Star Sounds

South Asian Languages: Pronunciation Guide

BhashaKids bilingual learning products are designed to be easy to read for young learners. We don't expect young learners to understand confusing symbols, diacritics or the phonetic alphabet. A lot of work went on behind the scenes to accurately match the South asian alphabet to the correct sounds. 


However, no book or flashcard will teach a child pronunciation with 100% accuracy. They will need guidance from a teacher and a native speaker. They will also need to practice listening, speaking, make mistakes, and continue to make improvements. 

super star sounds

What are "Super Star Sounds"™?

These are sounds not found in English. Children will need to pay attention to these sounds in particular. They have a great chance to learn native pronunciation by the age of 8. This will take concerted practice for listening and speaking, and learning how to move the muscles in the mouth, use the tongue and teeth to properly articulate these sounds. 
This image is from our upcoming new release. Soon, you will be able to click on a link per language and sound to learn the correct pronunciation. While our audio files are in progress, please refer to the videos below to help you. 

Soft Retroflex sounds

Found in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu.  
Marked with a star, written with blue zh, ll or r.
Here's a video by EliKutty, a Malayalam learner, on how she learned how to make this sound properly. Learning from a non-native speaker helps, because she knows exactly what us heritage language learners struggle with. 
I love this video by Sabtha at The Tamil Channel. I must have watched it 100 times. Growing up in the US, not exposed to lots of Malayalam, I couldn't even hear the difference between the ZH sound and an R sound. Sabtha nicely breaks down the difference between the sounds and gives great examples. 
The soft L sounds in Malayalam. 

Hard Retroflex Sounds. 

This is a hard and soft D sounds. 
The following video is in Hindi, but clearly explains how the hard retroflex sounds are made. 

Aspirated Sounds. 

Here's a great video on Hindi that includes an explanation of "Aspirated" sounds. This is the blue H on our BhashaKids cards.  Forward to 1 min and 55 seconds. 
Nasal Sounds. Still looking for good videos on this. Stay tuned!