The dish yakisoba is clearly written as やきそば or 焼きそば. When I hear native speakers speak it, it sounds to me like the "い" sound in "き" is silent. I've heard it pronounced like "yak-soba". Is there a reason for this and is it correct to pronounce it like "yak-soba" or should I pronounce it like the hirigana is written?

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    But the consonant /k/ is still palatalized as it is in き. In IPA it would be [kʲ] rather than just [k]. Native speakers would hear "yaksoba" as やくそば if it's pronounced the way English speakers would expect it to be pronounced from that spelling.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 22:27

2 Answers 2


Sounds like a textbook case of devoicing. I am not at all well-versed in the rules and exceptions to this phenomenon, but some information can be found here on Wikipedia.

Note that there are certain regions and dialects of Japan where devoicing is not observed. If you hear a word pronounced not like what you would have expected, always try to consult a dictionary like this one (In this link, devoicing of the キ is represented by a discontinuous circle around the katakana).


The vowel of the second syllable does appear to be devoiced, compare the pronunciation of 競う and 生蕎麦, where the 'i' of the initial 'ki' is quite definitely devoiced.

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