Example for りぃ and リィ

I'm confused about リィ. (That's big followed by little .)

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 friend, and she said it's pronounced similar to like English -ry, but I'm afraid I don't trust my ear enough to hear exactly what she means by that. I think I might do better with a more technical explanation. My guess is that it's something like /rji/, but I'm having trouble pronouncing that.

Here are my questions:

  1. How do I pronounce りぃ? Is it the same as a "normal" kana or pair of kana, like or リー?

  2. Is りぃ one mora or two? I think one is plausible, like りゃりゅりょ, but I also think two is plausible, like よぉ or ねぇ. (I hope I'm not wrong about these last two being two moras long!)

I made a list of similar kana pairs, just in case it made more sense to answer generally about all of them. (If it doesn't make sense, please ignore this list!)


  • 1
    I have sometimes seen ィ being used to denote /i/ + palatalisation, but I think it is more commonly just an alternative for a long vowel.
    – Zhen Lin
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 16:31
  • In this particular case, is it possible that the わりぃ word could be a certain way to say わるい? If so, would this indicate some sort of a るい sound for the character that is speaking? ^^
    – summea
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 16:53
  • @summea Yeah, わりぃ for わるい is pretty common (in manga and such). I don't think that means リィ is pronounced ルイ though.
    – user1478
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 19:07

2 Answers 2


From my experience, it's no different than リー as you mentioned. My name has a in it, although it has been incorrectly guessed to be an elongated sound by people who don't know me that well. As such, there have been occasions when my former Japanese teacher (older woman) and 事務員's have written it as both シー and シィ.


In my opinion, it is pronounced as (Rii---) and then the coming characters next to it. It's pronunciation may change depending upon where it is attached.

  • 1
    What do you mean when you say it is pronounced as (Rii---). What do the hyphens indicate? Just how long is the [i] sound? Can you give an example when the pronunciation changes, depending on "where it is attached"?
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 5:32

You must log in to answer this question.