How words and characters in Japanese sound when spoken aloud.

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19
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
1answer
73 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
116 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
163 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
64 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
420 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
207 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
559 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
780 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
119 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
59 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
133 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
123 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
222 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
129 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
144 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
173 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
186 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
247 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
111 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
162 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
8k 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".
3
votes
2answers
212 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
127 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?
5
votes
2answers
359 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
245 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
2k 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'. ...
14
votes
5answers
763 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
192 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
235 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
558 views

How do we tell whether two hiragana should fit in one mora or two?

How do we tell whether 2 hiragana should fit in 1 "mora" or 2? For example, why is it that 四季 and 士気 are pronounced as "Shiki" 1 mora, whereas 式 and 指揮 are pronounced as "Shi Ki" 2 morae? N.B. Links ...
7
votes
2answers
278 views

Words that have been borrowed twice, with different pronunciations?

We all learn early on that hamburger can be translated into Japanese in two different ways: ハンバーガー meat patty in a bun ハンバーグ just the meat patty (or salisbury steak to be exact) Likewise launder ...
6
votes
1answer
185 views

この間 pronunciation

Probably a very simple question for those more familiar with Japanese language. How この間 are usually pronounced? Dictionary gives both このかん and このあいだ, I was wondering which one is most likely to be ...
9
votes
2answers
341 views

How to Pronounce 化学 “Chemistry”?

A Japanese teacher on Twitter posted that 化学 is pronounced かがく and means "chemistry". I double-checked it on tangorin.com and it lists that pronunciation but says that it's pronounced ばけがく to avoid ...
4
votes
2answers
180 views

Pronunciation: W杯?

From Jim Breen's EDICT: ワールドカップ, ダブルはい 【W杯】 What is most commonly used? Is W ever pronounced the same as 'W' in English and not ダブル? Will people ever say: ダブルカップ? ワールドはい? I know ...
8
votes
3answers
364 views

Repeating the vowel sound of the mora that precedes gemination in songs

I noticed that in songs, the vowel sounds of the morae that come before geminations are sometimes repeated. For example, the first lyric line of “マジカルちょーだいっ” is sung as しらんぷりをしたあって where the line is ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

What does the little っ (tsu) signify when at the end of a word?

The small っ (tsu) is usually used before a consonant to indicate gemination, less technically known as doubled consonants, which is how they are transliterated in romaji. I have seen it at the end of ...
4
votes
1answer
166 views

Why does 背く sound like そむふ in this sentence?

The clip and subtitles: http://clyp.it/fmzowhxt 組織の命令に背くという事は どういう事か お前は わかってない! So why is 背く being pronounced like that? I don't hear a く at all and hear a ふ instead. Also, maybe the following is ...
2
votes
2answers
257 views

字幕:一ヶ月前⇒発音:いっかすまえ?

In the finale of a drama called お天気お姉さん, around 8:26 in, I saw this subtitle: 一ヶ月前の僕のアリバイかい But the pronunciation of 一ヶ月前 sounded either like いっかつまえ or いっかすまえ to me, with no sign whatsoever of ...
24
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are the particles “は” (ha⇒wa), “へ” (he⇒e), and “を” (wo⇒o) not spelled phonetically?

As far as I know only three words (or particles) have irregular, non-phonetic spelling in Japanese: "は" - The topic particle is pronounced "wa" but the kana is otherwise pronounced "ha" "へ" - The ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

Perceiving Initial r in names likes 隆介(りゅうすけ) and 綾(りょう)

I've chosen the name a bit at random, but for reason I don't understand I have trouble hearing the initial r-sound on several of my male Japanese students' names. Two examples chosen someone at ...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

Which words can be pronounced as either -aai or -awai?

Some speakers of Japanese pronounce 場合【ばあい】 as ばわい. Do those speakers also pronounce similar /Caai/ words like 他愛【たあい】 and 間合い【まあい】 differently? (I've seen たわいない listed as an alternate reading for ...
4
votes
1answer
95 views

Looking Up Whether 御 is お or ご

Is there a good was to look up whether a 御 prefix is お or ご for a word? I know there is the Chinese origin versus Japanese origin thing (mentioned here). But is there a way to look up for a certain ...
6
votes
2answers
178 views

How do native speakers “read” single-kanji signs when those kanji are not also standalone words?

In my time in Japan I've noticed a few kanji that can be used on their own commonly in various kinds of signs, yet I don't think they are also words in their own right: 押 引 危 開 閉 Since all kanji ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Pronunciation of 七々々 in this name?

In an anime, 龍ヶ嬢七々々 is pronounced as りゅうがじょう ななな. I'm wondering why 七々々 is prounounced as ななな, since 七 is なな, and there are two repeat signs. Is this some sort of special case where 七 is prounounced ...
6
votes
4answers
193 views

ブラウザ or ブラウザー? Words borrowed from English which end with -er

I noticed that some (most? all?) words that were borrowed from English and end with -er in English can have either short or long vowel at the end: browser - can be ブラウザ or ブラウザー driver - can be ドライバ ...
4
votes
4answers
277 views

Does Japanese have a silent ん?

Often, I can't hear ん in words. Most recently I've seen this in 攻殻機動隊. Examples: もう少し詳しい検査をしてみないと何とも言えませんが、おそらく外的な要因は見つかりそうもありません... 要因 sounds like ようい しくじれば、Spring-8の4倍の税金をかけた橋を… Sounds like ぜいき ...
4
votes
2answers
134 views

On the two words, several pronunciations, and many spellings for “sake cup”

When I was in Okinawa drinking sake I asked my host what the Japanese word for the sake cup was and was told: お猪口{ちょこ} Then today I went to the Nezu Museum in Tokyo which currently has a ...
7
votes
1answer
188 views

Why does this store named サァラ have a small ァ in the name?

Over on this awesome answer about old and unused katakana forms, I notice that among the examples is the word "valve", written as ヷァルブ. It has a small ァ character in addition to the ヷ that precedes ...