I know only 2 sources (websited) where I can see how to pronounce Japanese words. These sites are OJAD and WaDoku.

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I like everyting, but in WaDoku transcription they put middle dot, which I do not know what might mean.

Can you please, explain me, how this dot influence pronunciation?
For example, what is the difference in pronuciation with dot [だい・とし] vs w/o dot [だいとし]?

Does this dot mean some kind of little pause?

[だい・とし] = [dai][pause][toshi]
[だいとし] = [daitoshi]

Or maybe WaDoku just put it for "beauty"-reason?

1 Answer 1


I am fairly certain that the・dot does not indicate a pause, as that fundamentally changes the pronunciation of the words. It clearly is not to do with the pitch accent either as that is shown in the light grey dotted line.

I would venture that the・is an aid to reader on how to parse the word. For example, I checked the word 人間関係 (human relations) on wadoku. This word is a compound of the word 人間 (human) and 関係 (relation, relationship, concern); and it shows にんげん・かんけい as the reading. So, the・I think is just showing where you “break” the word up into smaller words/suffixes/prefixes which meaningfully contribute to the meaning of the word.

In the case of your example 大都市, I think it is showing だい・とし as the 大 is essentially acting as a prefix to 都市 to modify the meaning from “city” to “large city”.

Would that interpretation make sense with other instances that you have seen on that website?

  • 1
    This is exactly right.
    – Gene
    Jun 19, 2019 at 16:17
  • @henreetee Thank's for explanaition. Anyway, your version is the only one reasonable, I can even imagine. I just wonder If to follow your logic why they divide into [dai * toshi] instead of [dai * to * shi], because in Jananese 都市 [toshi] is a word and 都[to] is a word and 市 [shi] is a word too.
    – Tchibi-kun
    Jun 19, 2019 at 17:25
  • 3
    @Tchibi-kun but you wouldn't have 都 and 市 next to each other like that unless they were making a single word together. 大 is functioning as a prefix, and so it can be thought of separately.
    – Leebo
    Jun 19, 2019 at 21:26

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