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I am aware that [行く]{いく} is sometimes read 「ゆく」 but I do not think it is mostly read as 「ゆく」except in combinations. 例えば、行く手・行く先・行く春.

Whereas I almost never hear 言う as いう. These are the only two examples I know of where an alternate reading is as common or more common than the common reading and where the commonly spoken phrase is adding or changing a sound rather than omitting a sound.

NOTE: I am not talking about changes that omit sounds like in すき・です・ます but ones that add sound. On this same note, I am also not interested in words where the vowel sound is dropped - like 「の」 becoming 「ん」. I am looking for cases where a sound is added rather than omitted.

Are there any other words where an alternate reading is more common than the dictionary-given reading of the word, especially when the word is not part of a combination word? Or is this only common for the「い」 sound being slurred into 「ゆ」?

  • Japanese has a ton of kanji that have more than one way to pronounce. For example, 「悪い」 can be 「わるい」 or 「にくい」. Also, the history of 「行く」 being pronounced as either 「いく」 or 「ゆく」 goes a long way back, and they should both be listed in in your dictionary as correct pronunciations. That specific example is rather situational more than anything else in modern Japanese. Japanese can be super confusing because of the multiple pronunciations thing, I wish you the best of luck in navigating through the fascinating chaos that is the Japanese language. – Halfway Dillitante Sep 4 '18 at 1:10
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    I'm aware that kanji have multiple pronunciations, although often the case the alternative pronunciation is archaic, out of use, or uncommon. I'm specifically looking for words where an "alternative pronunciation" is what is spoken more frequently than the "standard reading" of the word as given in any dictionary. Edit: Matching that criteria, 言う is spoken ゆう although the dictionary will only ever tell you いう is the reading and ゆう is "an alternative" when, if anything, it is the other way around in practice. Hope that makes sense! – Nadya Sep 4 '18 at 1:19
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    Ah, gotcha. Then I must admit that 「言う」 as 「ゆう」 is the only one that comes to mind. That is the only one that I can think of that is frequently used both in informal and formal speech preferentially over the primary dictionary reading. I suspect that you are correct in your guess. – Halfway Dillitante Sep 4 '18 at 1:27
  • What about words which are sometimes but not "almost always" pronounced another way, like 場合 or 雰囲気? – snailboat Sep 4 '18 at 1:51
  • @snailboat I am not familiar with the alternative pronunciation of either of those words actually! I had to check a few dictionaries to see 「雰囲気」 is read 「ふんいき」 but also 「ふいんき」and none of the dictionaries I checked showed an alternative for 「場合」. While possibly interesting and maybe warranting a question of its own, I feel it does not fit under the question I asked unless the variants are spoken as frequently, or more than, the "dictionary standard" readings. I'm willing to let some wiggle room in for "approximately half the time" but not "infrequently" or "how only the elderly say it". – Nadya Sep 4 '18 at 2:07

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