5

I am trying to read this sentence:

水の音が聞こえる

Which I think means

You can hear the sound of the water (lit. sound of the water is audible)

But not 100% sure on how to read 水の音 here.

Google translate suggests

みずのね

But not sure how trustworthy this is, as another translation plugin I have gives me

みずのおと

Is there any best practice I can follow here in a case such as this where I don't have an audio reading of the word?

I found this post which gives a few examples, but it doesn't really clarify my scenario, unless it's a "kanji on its own" in which case I should use おと.

Which one is more natural/correct?

7

https://www.weblio.jp/content/%E9%9F%B3

In this dictionary entry, おと is defined as follows:

①空気・水などの振動によって聴覚に引き起こされた感覚の内容。また,その原因となる空気などの振動。

ね, however, is defined differently:

①人・鳥・虫などの音声を,情緒的にとらえていう。 「虫の-」

②物の発する快い響き。 「鐘の-」 「笛の-」

This means, that おと is generally used for sounds. This can also include annoying sounds or noise. ね is used, when the sound creates an emotion or when the sound is perceived as pleasant or enjoyable.

So, both みずのおと and みずのね are correct, they just have a different nuance. If the speaker just objectively describes the sound of water or perceives it as annoying, then みずのおと would be correct. However, if the speaker finds the sound pleasant or uses it in a poetic way, then みずのね is correct.

5

I got a chance to ask a native speaker, and they confirmed that the normal reading would be おと, but you could use to make it sound more poetic.

Since this is from the first page of ぼのぼの as part of what looks to be a song or poem, I guess ね works.

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