How words and characters in Japanese sound when spoken aloud.

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5
votes
1answer
96 views

How to pronounce 繁栄 han'ei?

How to pronounce 繁栄 han'ei? Is there a glottal stop between the two syllables? Is it //haɴʔeː//, //haɴeː//, //haŋʔeː// or //haŋeː//?
21
votes
5answers
744 views

Modern names of the obsolete kana ゑ and ゐ

In modern Japanese, the kana ゑ/ヱ (we) and ゐ/ヰ (wi) are largely obsolete. Words formerly containing them now are pronounced with /e/ and /i/, so they were replaced by え and い, respectively. But when ...
2
votes
2answers
83 views

Pronounciation of 三分 when it means three minutes

According to jisho, when 三分 means three minutes, it is pronounced さんぷん, however google translate mentions it as さんぶ. Are any of these wrong, or is it dialect? Are there other pronounciations?
5
votes
2answers
140 views

燻る{いぶる}、燻る{くすぶる}、燻る{くゆる} - difference?

Is there any semantic difference between the three? Which is used more often? Is there any nuance to picking one over another (formality, sounding more literary etc.)?
2
votes
1answer
102 views

manzai vs banzai

In ancient times people usually said 'banzai, banzai'. But the kanzi 万歳, according to the context in dictionary, has two different ways of reading, banzai and manzai. So which one is correct in which ...
3
votes
1answer
278 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
1answer
197 views

Pronunciation of the Japanese ん and nasalized vowels

I've been trying to grasp how ん sounds when placed after a vowel. Apparently the vowel becomes nasalized (and extended?) but does it get rid of the n sound completely then? If so wouldn't ほん have its ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

Why are 兄(あに) and 姉(あね) pronounced differently in お兄さん and お姉さん?

姉 is pronounced ane, but お姉さん is pronounced oneesan. What happened to the initial a? Likewise, 兄 is pronounced ani, but お兄さん is pronounced oniisan. What is the rule governing the change in the ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Pronouncing abbreviations, acronyms, letters? (NHK, CM, JR, A…)

I've been noticing that Latin letters in abbreviations and acronyms are (obviously) common in Japan. For instance: JR becomes ジェイアール CM becomes シーエム N3 becomes エヌさん NHK becomes エヌエイチケイ (I think) ...
2
votes
2answers
57 views

Does the pronunciation of ん also change with another word within a sentence?

For example, the word かばん (bag) is pronounced kabaN when it's alone but what if another word like と (and) comes after it? Would it be still pronounced kabaNto, or should you consider the following と ...
23
votes
6answers
3k views

Pronouncing が as 'nga'

I'm a beginner and am learning from CD (Pimsleur). There are two native speakers going through the dialogue. One, the man, pronounces が as I would expect - 'ga'. The other (female) pronounces it as ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

How do you tell the sound of と from ど like in 男(おとこ)? [duplicate]

I found that the と in おとこ sounds very similar to ど, how do you tell which one is said if you hear the word for the first time?
3
votes
2answers
107 views

Difference between んい and に

I noticed that the word 単位 is written as たんい in hiragana, not たに. Is there a difference in the way んい and に are pronounced? If so, does the same principle go for んあ and な, んえ and ね, etc.?
1
vote
1answer
153 views

町{ちょう}、町{まち}、街{がい}、街{まち} - how to pick the correct pronunciation?

I've grown accustomed to enunciating both 町 and 街 as まち in my head but it turns out this may have been totally incorrect, as 三省堂{さんせいど} lists two possible pronunciations for 町 and only one (がい) for 街 ...
2
votes
2answers
107 views

前 in 十年前の話 - ぜん, まえ, or さき?

十年前の話 I'm not sure how 前 is supposed to be read in constructs like these. Is it safe to assume that because 十年{じゅうねん} is 音読み then I should use the whole thing as じゅうんえんぜん (IME is returning both ...
1
vote
2answers
148 views

Is “げえしゃ” a valid pronunciation of “芸者”?

I've read on various web sites that in English, some people pronounce the word "geisha" as "geesha", and that it's a mispronunciation. For example, from Wikipedia: They almost exclusively ...
3
votes
0answers
121 views

Why are Japanese vowels occasionally rhotacised in songs?

This might be a bit weird, but when I listen to Japanese music, sometimes I notice "r"-like sounds in syllable-final positions, or between vowels where there should be no [r]. I know that /r/ is not ...
1
vote
0answers
50 views

How do you pronounce the U in mas? [duplicate]

I have been studying Japanese with iStart Japanese. For words like tabemasu (たべます) and nomimasu (のみます), the Japanese speaker pronounces the 'u' quite noticeably. However, I've also been studying ...
2
votes
3answers
321 views

How does one keep from being confused about the pronunciation of 地下鉄?

[地下鉄]{ちかてつ} How does one know the "hiragana spelling", i.e. the hiragana representation of the word is ちかてつ but not other forms involving misspelling one or more of the following か vs. が て vs. で ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

How do I pronounce these Katakana Onomatopoeia (words that sound like noises)?

こんばんは。 When I have been reading Manga recently I have encountered many onomatopoeia words such as シャカシャカ as in 'Brush Brush' and パタパタ for 'rush rush/flap flap' but I have found some words such as シャッ ...
2
votes
7answers
10k 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".
0
votes
1answer
90 views

Effects of あ after other vowel endings

In usages of あ after other syllables such as け or め, is the あ pronounced or does it prolong the previous vowel's sound? Taking the Katakna spelling of "Mary": メアリー is that "Meh-ah-ri" or "Mehhh-ri"
4
votes
1answer
162 views

How is the Iroha poem usually pronounced?

I have read on Wikipedia that the Iroha poem has a modern version with updated hiragana and stuff. However, it seems that most times people recite the poem (as in, every time I've seen/heard someone ...
5
votes
1answer
203 views

How is 家 in [name]家 pronounced?

How would [name]家, for example 田中家, be pronounced when referring to somebody's home in an informal or casual way? I think I've heard it pronounced ち but it could have been うち too. Perhaps both are ...
4
votes
1answer
90 views

When would I use ふん instead of ぷん?

What's the difference for using these? Examples: さんじごじゅうぷん ろくじよんじゅうごふん
10
votes
1answer
442 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
244 views

Am I the only one who never says “少女{しょうじょ}”?

Only a tiny extension in the first syllable separates the pronunciation of "少女" and "処女{しょじょ}". No matter how skillful one might be, those without the ability to speak with the rhythm and flow of a ...
23
votes
3answers
635 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
821 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
135 views

Should 「ソウル」 be pronounced as “so u ru” or “so: ru”?

According to the ipadic attached to Mecab, it's "so u ru". According to the bccwj dict attached to Julius, it's "so: ru". Which one is correct? Or are they both OK?
1
vote
0answers
61 views

I have a puzzling question about Japanese pronouncaiton [closed]

The Hepburn rōmaji is more famous than kunrei-shiki rōmaji in spelling around the world because of its close pronunciation to English and the convenience of reading for foreigners. However, Hepburn ...
5
votes
4answers
151 views

Pronunciation of 九

The dictionary I'm using lists two common pronunciations of 「九」: 「きゅう」 and 「く」. I've usually heard it as 「きゅう」 before, but when saying 「9時」, it always seems to be 「くじ」. Is there a rule to this?
2
votes
2answers
125 views

How are 超域 and 学際 different?

As I understand it, the word 学際 is usually used to mean "interdisciplinary" when referring to college courses. However, I recently came across the word "超域文化科学" while browsing college websites. In ...
2
votes
4answers
446 views

Why are し/ち transliterated as 'shi'/'chi', and not 'si'/'ti'?

In Japanese あいうえお are pronounced 'a i u e o', かきくけこ are pronounced 'ka ki ku ke ko'. The spelling is simple and natural. However, when it comes to サ行, さしすせそ, its relevant roman spelling is 'sa shi su ...
1
vote
2answers
300 views

What does Japanese sound like for non-native Japanese speaker? [closed]

Let me know what does Japanese sound like to you. I am a native Japanese speaker and I've been so curious about it since I was a child. There is no exemplary answer for this topic. Please don't ...
3
votes
1answer
146 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
2answers
201 views

Why is Austin spelled with an オ?

Based on the pronunciations here, what I hear in Anime, and the way I hear kana pronounced in Japanese class, it seems to me that Austin should start with ア rather than オ, but it is clearly spelled ...
19
votes
6answers
2k views

Why the “H” is pronounced as “Sh” in some cases?

My first question is about the rules of pronunciation of the letter "H". Some people pronounce the "H" as if it were "Sh". For example, "Shijutsu" instead of "Hijutsu", or "Shiyori" instead of ...
1
vote
2answers
200 views

How do you write 縮めて in IPA?

How do you write 縮めて in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)?
7
votes
1answer
251 views

Pronouncing + in dictionary definitions

Dictionary definitions often use plus signs when describing what words or phrases are made of. For example, the definition for たところで…ない in 大辞泉 says: ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

What's the reading of 傾げる? かしげる or かたげる?

I was watching http://youtu.be/FiqsDshUSDA?t=6m40s. At the 6th minute, he reads 傾げたく as かしげたく. Jisho.org lists both readings. Goo's dictionary gives a preference for the かしげる reading (insofar as ...
4
votes
1answer
190 views

Why is “UFO” pronounced as if it were a word?

In English, "UFO" (Unidentified flying object) is generally pronounced with each letter being pronounced. By contrast, I've read in my textbook that in Japanese, "UFO" is pronounced "ユーフォー". Is ...
3
votes
2answers
232 views

How to properly pronounce コップ?

How to properly pronounce コップ (meaning: cup)? Should it be コ + short and quick ツ + soundless プ or something different? BTW, is there a good online source where I can look up word with proper Japanese ...
-1
votes
1answer
135 views

Why many words (nouns?) end with つ?

Why many words (nouns?) end with つ? Some examples include 寝室{しんしつ}、万年筆{まんねんひつ}. Is there some underlying patterns or rules that Japanese language learners should be aware of?
6
votes
2answers
416 views

Are katakana names pronounced as they are written?

My name is Laurence. I would write this in Japanese as ロレンス (rorensu). My question is, when I introduce myself, do I pronounce my name as it is in katakana, or as it is in English?: That is, would I ...
3
votes
1answer
304 views

Is /z/ pronounced as [z] or [dz] or both?

I am not sure how these two sounds are used in Japanese. Which one is more common, in terms of frequency? Under what cases is the other one used?
15
votes
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'. ...
15
votes
5answers
860 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
270 views

Is the 'h' in Japanese pronounced the same as the 'f'?

I'm aware that the so-called 'f' in ふ isn't pronounced with the English labiodental fricative [f], but rather the bilabial fricative [ɸ]. I'd like to know if Japanese speakers also use the bilabial ...
4
votes
2answers
256 views

Pronounciation of the hiragana け and か

I have just started learning hiragana, and am confused about the pronunciation of some of them. I have heard some pronunciation guides for け which say it should sound like kay, and some which say it ...