For example, 化粧 is read けしょう. When followed by を, how is it pronounced?

  • 1
    For that matter, try saying 呼応を!
    – mamster
    Feb 18, 2018 at 20:58
  • 1
    There's also 王を覆う。 Feb 18, 2018 at 21:05
  • I haven't heard that one. Excellent!
    – mamster
    Feb 18, 2018 at 21:22
  • 3
    Forget that, use the volitional form. 王を[覆]{おお}おう. Or the volitional of the verb [装]{よそお}う: that's [装]{よそお}おう.
    – istrasci
    Feb 18, 2018 at 21:35
  • 1
    This might be helpful
    – Flaw
    Feb 19, 2018 at 6:01

3 Answers 3


There are two things you should try to pay attention to when trying to listen to or pronouncing a long O.

  1. Rhythm

    The language is modelled on morae (sing. mora) creating a rhythm. For example こんにちは is different from こにちわ and a "long O" is either 1,2,3,... morae long. (Also see Distinguishing between んな/な, んの/の, etc)

  2. Pitch

    Individual morae can have either a low or a high pitch. A drop or rise in pitch marks a mora boundary, so this can also help you count.

For example, 化粧を is pronounced [ケショオオ]{LHHLL}. The オオ at the end being twice as long tells you that the final オ should be を.


けしょうを - Keshō o. Use google translate link here and click on audio button.

You do not want to shorten vowels. Each 'sound' has its place and should not be modified.

You could potentially eliminate the particle を, but that is a separate issue.

  • Is it one continuous sound? Or is there a noticeable break between 化粧 and を? Feb 18, 2018 at 21:07
  • It is not one continuous sound. The o (often better represented as 'wo'), has a particular sound which is different than the o sound and the u sound. O-U-WO. Once trained, your ears will pick it up.
    – BJCUAI
    Feb 18, 2018 at 21:17
  • In Google translate I put: 王を過ぎる and to me it sounds continuous. Is it just a very subtle difference? Feb 18, 2018 at 21:21
  • In your example (王を過ぎる)it is pretty hard to recognize. There is a slight 'gutteral(?)' break between 王 and を. I had to listen on headphones (especially 王を覆う) because people were wondering what the heck I was listening to;) I was hesitant to use Google Translate as an example, as it can be hit and miss.
    – BJCUAI
    Feb 18, 2018 at 21:31
  • 5
    O-U-WO is a representation of kana spelling, not pronunciation.
    – user1478
    Feb 18, 2018 at 22:34

Some sounds are very indistinct in nihongo, such as the U sound in です. It’s there, but so barely pronounced that it’s almost silent. The same can be said for words that end in ん followed by に. In this way, words that end in the o sound such as の or お, followed by わ, the W sound is nearly indistinguishable, but is still there. So the sound should be like owo, but the W is so under-pronounced that you can barely tell it is there in casual speech.

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