How words and characters in Japanese sound when spoken aloud.

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7
votes
3answers
403 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
480 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
233 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
132 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
518 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
187 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
229 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
670 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
113 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
424 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
3k views

What differences should I look out for between male vs female speech?

I was told a story where a male westerner learnt Japanese from his girlfriend and ended up speaking more like a female. The storyteller thought this was hilarious. What important differences should I ...
2
votes
0answers
230 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
244 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
226 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
190 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
votes
2answers
175 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
563 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
273 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
598 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?
10
votes
2answers
695 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
199 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
399 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
287 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" ...
30
votes
3answers
9k views

What are the differences between じ and ぢ, and ず and づ?

The Japanese hiragana and katakana syllabaries can mostly be described as phonetic. But there are two exceptions, the two pairs of syllables modified to be voiced with the dakuten diacritic which ...
9
votes
4answers
636 views

What changes are made to the pronunciation of gairaigo?

What changes are usually made to the pronounciation of gairaigo? I notice that vowels are often added between multiple consonants and to the end of words (eg "programmer" => "puroguramaa" (プログラマー)), ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is 「昨夜」 pronounced as 「ゆうべ」 {yuube} and 「今日」 as 「きょう」 {kyou}?

「ゆう」 is neither the kun'yomi nor on'yomi of 「昨」 and 「べ」 is not a pronunciation of 「夜」 either. The same can be said about the pronunciation 「きょう」 for 「今日」. So how come the pronunciations of the two ...
8
votes
1answer
716 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
703 views

Voiced or unvoiced syllables in compound words

Examples first. First example: 空 {そら}. Almost all compound nouns for which 空 is the second component pronounce it as ぞら (zo ra): 青空 {あおぞら}, 夜空 {よぞら}, 星空 {ほしぞら}. There is at least one exception ...
6
votes
1answer
271 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
1k 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?
6
votes
1answer
282 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
383 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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
522 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Actual phonetic realization of “devoiced” vowels

Descriptions of Japanese phonology (such as Wikipedia's) usually describe high vowels between voiceless consonants (or word-finally) as "devoiced". For example, the pronunciation of ⟨圧⟩ 'pressure' and ...
7
votes
2answers
392 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
526 views

Are there many words that have the same pronunciation ambiguity as Nihon/Nippon?

Wikipedia says that 日本 can be pronounced either [にっぽん]{nippon} or [にほん]{nihon}. Does this ambiguity in pronunciation happen with other words? If so, does it only happen with words that originated ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

How do you pronounce を after a subject?

For example :日本語を勉強します. Do you pronounce ni hon go wo or ni hon go---
5
votes
1answer
166 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
496 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
428 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
486 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.
14
votes
4answers
758 views

とっても versus とても

I've had a teacher flatly tell me that とっても is incorrect, but I do see it written here and there and I'm pretty sure I hear it as well. Is it just so informal relative to とても that I should never use ...
12
votes
2answers
501 views

Pronunciation and meaning of  [closed]

I just received an email ending like this: 是非是非また誘って How to read the  ? Zero results on Google. As for the meaning, is it equivalent to よ ?
12
votes
4answers
390 views

Pronunciation of 閾値 : いきち or しきいち?

Last week I saw the word 閾値 and when looking it up in Gjiten I see two pronunciations, both marked as "popular": 閾値 (いきち) (n) threshold (amount, dose, etc.); (P); 閾値 (しきいち) (n) threshold (amount, ...
5
votes
0answers
94 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
361 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 ...
31
votes
2answers
4k views

What are the rules regarding “mute vowels” (“u” after “s” and “i” after “sh”)?

When you first begin to learn Japanese you are taught that Japanese has no stress and each syllable should be pronounced equally. You also learn that certain vowels are not pronounced, or only ...