How words and characters in Japanese sound when spoken aloud.

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3
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2answers
2k views

R sound vs L sound

First, I'd like to mention that I've seen this question, which is related but doesn't quite seem to be a duplicate. I've covered some Hiragana lessons and it seems there is no L in Japanese. The ...
7
votes
3answers
367 views

Teaching the difference between “see” and “she” in English

I've been teaching ESL for over 30 years, but for the last three I've had almost exclusively Japanese students (I teach mostly 1-on-1 classes over Skype, to students from High School to Business ...
16
votes
1answer
388 views

When is 行く pronounced as いく, and when is it ゆく?

Are there any rules or guidelines as to when to pronounce 行く as いく or ゆく? I looked it up on jisho.org, and the two pronunciations have the exact same definition. I tend to hear ゆく more often in ...
5
votes
2answers
223 views

Pronunciation of 天爾遠波 (てにをは)

Straightforward question. 天爾遠波 (or 弖爾乎波) - written as てにをは - is a term used to refer to the Japanese particles (助詞) or sometimes Japanese grammar as a whole (文法). So how to do pronounce the は at the ...
1
vote
0answers
62 views

Pronunciation of 千鳥 and 鳥 [duplicate]

In the Naruto manga, character Sasuke Uchiha performs a technique called “chidori” (千鳥), which means one thousand birds. However, as I understand it, “bird” (鳥) is pronounced “tori,” not “dori.” Why ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

Hyakunin Isshu pronunciation; ちはやふる vs. ちはやぶる?

In the Hyakunin Isshu, the 17th poem (found here) has me stumped. In the manga/anime ちはやふる, the title is written and pronounced as ちはやふる, but on the card for the game the manga revolved around (also ...
3
votes
1answer
367 views

Does おお sound different from おう?

I know おう sounds like a long o, but does おお sound the same, or should it be pronounced differently?
3
votes
1answer
176 views

How to pronounce 研修生?

I'm totally a beginner in Japanese. I'm confused about the pronunciation of 研修生. In the textbook, it's written as けんしゅうせい. When I listen to the tape, I found that う is not pronounced. Could anybody ...
6
votes
2answers
216 views

Pronunciation of イ列 + う

It is somewhat uncommon, but some words such as 気宇{きう} and the name 霧生{きりう} end with イ列 + う. I thought the pronunciation might be different from a simple concatenation of the two vowels, since 言う{いう} ...
9
votes
3answers
626 views

How is リィ pronounced?

I'm confused about リィ. (That's big リ followed by little ィ.) Although this combination isn't part of the official orthography (as far as I know), it seems to be fairly common. I asked a Japanese ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Pronunciation of ワンマン運転

I hear ワンマン運転 as ワンマウンテン, with the ん of マン dissapearing, or perhaps being very soft. Here's an example:http://youtu.be/DZnuH1XkE7s?t=49s Another question shows that there can be something ...
7
votes
2answers
416 views

Encountered な with ten-ten

I am currently reading a manga for studying Japanese and encountered something strange. A girl exclaims「な゛?!」 The situation is that she has just had water squirted up her nose, so I am guessing it's ...
2
votes
0answers
207 views

Does all kana in the う line rhyme?

I've heard many people pronounce す, つ, く, and る as if く and る rhyme, す and つ rhyme, but not any other pair. It seems as if す is sometimes pronounced [sɨ] and く is pronounced [ku]. This doesn't seem to ...
1
vote
2answers
165 views

What's the pronunciation of 1点差?

Intuitively, I would guess it's 「いってんさ」, but I could image 「いちてんさ」just as well. For bonus points: is there any reference or dictionary that explains the pronunciation of numbers with counters ...
4
votes
2answers
693 views

Should I use On reading or Kun reading for numbers?

I've just started to learn Japanese, and I've been looking at the Joyo Kanji. Most of the words have On reading and Kun reading. I was wondering, which one is most popular and when should I use one ...
3
votes
1answer
218 views

pronounciation of じょ and よ

Spanish is my mother tongue and I almost can't differentiate じょ and よ sounds. Maybe the same thing happens to english native speakers. How do you solve that problem in english... are there a common ...
5
votes
3answers
316 views

What is the difference between the wave dash 〜 and long vowel marker ー when marking long vowels?

I know that the wave dash 〜 can be used in place of the long vowel marker ー sometimes, but I'm not exactly sure what the differences are. Is there any difference in pronunciation? I read once that ...
6
votes
1answer
201 views

Is む sometimes pronounced more like ん?

I'm curious what the relationship is between む and ん. I have the feeling that sometimes, む is pronounced more like ん: むむむ: is this really /mumumu/? Or does it become /mmm/? うむむ: is this really ...
9
votes
1answer
186 views

「はは」(母) and ハ行転呼

It occurred to me the other day that if ハ行転呼 had affected all applicable environments without exception, 母 /haha/ (or I guess properly it was /ɸaɸa/, right?)should have become /hawa/. The Japanese ...
6
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2answers
169 views

Help translating よなも in a song

This is from a Trigun soundtrack, song called Sound Life (lyrics), 3rd line: 3つ目の夜に ワルツの子は世界面にウエーブを 打つ The 世界面 is translated as "world face", however pronunciation is given as よなも. I can't find ...
5
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0answers
324 views

Which readings are used for 漢文?

If I am reading a Chinese text to a Japanese audience, how can I know which reading to use for each character? Of the 音読み, there can be 呉音, 漢音, and 唐音 to choose from. Also for pronunciation, would ...
3
votes
2answers
200 views

How is the name “河内” pronounced, コーチ or コウチ?

How is the name 河内 pronounced, is it コーチ like 講師 = コーシ, or コウチ, like 子牛 = コウシ? I have checked this word in the 三省堂明解アクセント辞典 but cannot find it.
9
votes
1answer
256 views

What is the proper pronunciation for 十分/10分? じっぷん or じゅっぷん?

My Japanese textbook only lists じゅっぷん. Our Japanese sensei (a quite old woman) says じっぷん but notes that it's optionally じゅっぷん. Our TAs all say じゅっぷん. I understand that Middle Chinese 十 was "jip" and ...
0
votes
2answers
452 views

How are し, ち, and じ pronounced differently than in English?

I know that sh, ch, and j are pronounced differently in Chinese than in English, but what about Japanese? I have read that し, ち, じ are pronounced slightly differently than they would be in English ...
5
votes
1answer
492 views

What are the pronunciation differences between speaking and singing Japanese? [closed]

I've noticed that some pronunciation is different in singing than in speaking. For example, I often hear を pronounced as /wo/ rather than /o/. What other pronunciation differences are there?
7
votes
1answer
430 views

Pronunciation of しゃ, し, しゅ, しぇ, and しょ

Now I understand that although all the morae mentioned in the title are written in Hepburn as "sha shi shu she sho", they are actually palatalized and sound quite different (the little や makes it ...
10
votes
2answers
598 views

How do you write the sound “wu”?

As in "Wu Tang" or something similar. Would it be something like ウゥ? I know that "wool" is written as ウール, but 1) the "woo" sound is pronounced slightly differently than "wu", and 2) ウール doesn't ...
3
votes
1answer
188 views

Why is 仕事 pronounced as こと [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are some lyrics words written in kanji whose usual reading is not how it is sang? So, we were reading Hunter X Hunter manga in Japanese (page 16 if you're ...
5
votes
2answers
378 views

How is アェ pronounced?

A video game I've been playing has the following word in it: アェウクス I'm not familiar with アェ. Does it represent a specific sound? If so, what sound? If it makes sense to do so, please include ...
3
votes
2answers
245 views

Insertion of “y” sound between vowels

I was watching some anime today, and I heard "y" sounds in places I didn't expect. Here's a sound clip (MP3) and my transcription: 私の世界へようこそ。 今やこの世界をコントロールできる唯一の人間だ。 There are two "y" ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

Open /o/ and closed /e/ - what are these allophones?

Some speakers, mainly middle-aged and older males, sometimes pronounce ねえ as [ne:], i.e. with a more closed variant of the usual /e/-sound, let's call it [ɛ]. There are also speakers for the same ...
2
votes
6answers
7k views

Why do Japanese speakers have difficulty pronouncing “L”?

Why is it that native speakers of Japanese have a hard time pronouncing "l"? Whenever a western word contains "L" I see that they pronounce it "ru", "ra", "ro", "ri", or "re".
8
votes
1answer
581 views

Difference between うーん and ううん

What is the difference between うーん and ううん? In a comment on Pronunciation of ううん, paullb said that he usually sees the negative interjection ううん written as うーん. This confused me, because I thought ...
5
votes
1answer
243 views

Pronunciation of ううん

The pitch contour of the interjection ううん has been described as high, low, middle. Alternatively, it has been described as a falling-rising tone. In either case, this appears to be unique in ...
14
votes
2answers
692 views

Rules for emphasizing by lengthening sounds

Sometimes, sounds are lengthened for emphasis. For example, see "とっても versus とても". What are the rules governing this process? Are there restrictions on where lengthening can be inserted? とっても or ...
6
votes
1answer
262 views

How do Japanese pronounce microseconds (μ秒)?

From this sentence I read: これらの手法はクリティカルセクションが(例えば100μ秒以内などの)一定時間以内に終わるよう精密にプログラミングすることを要求する。 How am I supposed to pronounce μ秒 ? Should I pronounce it as "mu byou"? or "micro byou"? I also ...
5
votes
1answer
332 views

Pronunciation of 日 in compound words

I learnt from my teacher that the days of the month from 1 to 10 use kun and irregular pronunciations: 一日: ついたち (irregular) 二日: ふつか (kun) 三日: みっか (kun) ... 十日: とおか (kun) But for words like 一日目, 二日間 ...
14
votes
5answers
704 views

Except for pitch, what are the differences in pronunciation between Kansaiben and Tokyoben?

I have tried to ask people this type of question on many occasions and the answer is always the same, but people are notoriously bad at evaluating their own language, so I ask here: Apart for pitch, ...
7
votes
3answers
483 views

[父]{ちち} vs. [乳]{ちち} — father vs. breast

Can one differentiate by pronunciation between [父]{ちち} and [乳]{ちち} (as for 雨 and 飴)? If not, does anyone have a reasonable explanation for why 父 and 乳 have the same pronunciation? It seems unlikely ...
13
votes
3answers
663 views

Why is “Xy” pronounced as “Ki Shi” in Xylitol「キシリトール」?

Why is "Xy" pronounced as "[Ki Shi]{キ シ}" in [Xylitol]{キシリトール}? I believe "Xy" can pronounced as "Zai", which is probably a valid sound in Japanese. I would like to know its etymology too, if there ...
17
votes
3answers
971 views

How 「えい」 should be pronounced in the words like 英語, 先生, etc?

P.S.: I heard that 「生」 (せい) in the word 先生 can be pronounced either as [sei] or as [see]. If it is so, is there any semantic difference between these variants?
5
votes
1answer
160 views

クラウド上で - pronunciation?

I've seen 上で quite a few times recently, in contexts like: In the cloud クラウド上で and: On the computer コンピュータ上 In this case, is it pronounced うえ, as in クラウドうえで, or じょう? Silly ...
2
votes
1answer
412 views

“Mari” or “wari” ? Is this a consonant sound that changes with inflection?

In my audio learning, I hear the beginning consonant sound of the same word spoken by two different speakers to be as a "w", as in "wari", or to be an "m", as in "mari". While it seems clear that the ...
3
votes
2answers
370 views

Can genki be pronounced as henki?

I've watched a few anime and keep coming across a word that sounds like "henki". In the subtitles, the sentences are like "Are you ok?", "How are you feeling?". With those translations, I'd expect the ...
7
votes
2answers
353 views

Utterance initial [ɾ]

According to The sounds of Japanese (Vance 2008): When /ɾ/ is the first phoneme in an utterance, the tip of the tongue is already resting lightly on the alveolar ridge, and /ɾ/ is produced by ...
8
votes
2answers
422 views

How to say 24 divided by 8 equals 3

Pretty sure you have to use 割 but I don't know which pronunciation to use and how to say "equals" in this context.
15
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2answers
1k views

What is the more common pronunciation for the r­ōmaji letter Z in Japanese?

I was on the phone with NTT the other day and things were going well (or as good as they could), until I had to spell some email address for the customer rep, and fell upon the letter 'Z'. ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is the Japanese currency pronounced “yen” in English?

I'm wondering what the reason for the mispronunciation of 円 in English came to be "yen". I can understand how some words like 東京 became "Tokyo", but "en" to "yen" seems strange. On a side note, why is ...
5
votes
0answers
92 views

Why is “there” pronounced あそこ and not just あこ? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Irregularity of あ-series in demonstratives Maybe this is a little hard to answer, but I'm curious why the typical これ/それ/あれ pattern doesn't apply to ここ/そこ/あそこ. Is anyone ...
6
votes
2answers
320 views

Why is 「この人」 sometimes pronounced like 「このしと」? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why the “H” is pronounced Sh in some cases. I notice native speakers frequently sound as if they are reading 「この人」 as 「このしと」. I am aware of instances where ...