How do I determine the pronounication of compound nouns such as 来年夏.

Obviously 来年の夏 is pronounced らいねんのなつ but what happens when I remove the の? Does it just become らいねんなつ? My guess from everything I've read is that it's more likely to use an 音読み reading, which gives me a choice of らいねんか or らいねんげ. It would be quite vexing if simply omitting the の changes the pronunciation, but I fear this may be the case.

Compounds like this don't appear in any dictionaries I've seen, so are there some general rules to apply?

Here's another example from the same article: 登山者数. Is it とざんしゃかず or とざんしゃすう

  • 1
    「来年夏」 would be らいねんなつ. Although, "next year's summer" is actually called 「来夏(らいか)」. 「登山者数」 is 「とざんしゃすう」. I don't know the exact rule for this so I would be interested to know as well. Sep 11, 2018 at 1:55
  • Perhaps not super helpful, but you can submit the words to forvo.com. A Japanese person may give you the pronunciation.
    – JulioJ
    Sep 12, 2018 at 10:01

2 Answers 2


来年夏 is pronounced "らいねんなつ".

Words that are not followed by any hiragana are mostly pronounced with 音読み. However, in this case, 来年夏 is just a short form of 来年の夏, which means it is not an independent word. 来年夏 is composed by 2 different words "来年(らいねん)" and "夏(なつ)", and it’s not a single word. As a single word, 来年/夏 are pronounced らいねん/なつ。 Because 来年夏 is a collocation of these two words, both words have to be pronounced in the way each of them makes sense as a single word.

The reason why "の" is eliminated is not something grammatical, but it just works naturally that way.

<来年、今年 or 去年> + <春、夏、秋 or 冬> are all pronounced as <らいねん、ことし、きょねん> + はる、なつ、あき、ふゆ> for that reason.

This way of eliminating "の" usually sounds more formal, and is used in written forms or news channels, professors’ lecture... or something a little bit formal.


If it is a simple omission of の, each word should keep its independent pronunciation. So it should be らいねん + なつ.

But if you are attaching an affix, then it must be pronounced as an affix. So it is とざんしゃ + すう.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .