The name of the girl in the TV show (Nguyen) I mentioned may have been americanised by the voiceover guy or by the family itself. Maybe all Vietnamese Americans with that name pronounce it Nwin outside their language community because they realise we can’t pronounce it easily or be bothered trying. Some may not even speak Vietnamese at all.
I am familiar with the sound in Thai at the beginning of words because I hear it a lot and like to think I can make a fair stab at it. That is why I posted this earlier so people unfamiliar with the sound could hear it in action. Mod gives it more welly than her brother except, winningly, for the word for stupid. I will concede ‘Ng’ as a Chinese surname in some dialects does sound odd to my ears but it’s all part of phonetics’ rich tapestry.
Are there other unusual and arresting (to us) single words in other languages, as sounds in isolation (is phoneme the word)? Click consonants? Oo is a surname in Burmese though it’s easy to pronounce. I once read that anyone learning a foreign language over the age of 12 will have an accent though from kids I have taught who attend international schools I would put this higher. What have you found? My French is pretty bad but when I was in France when I was 18 with an English bloke who had studied it longer than I had and who was going totake it at Oxford to ask some girls we knew to speak French with a very strong, parody English accent. I couldn’t tell at all.