I've noticed when listening to some recordings of ん before a vowel, such as 万{まん}円{えん}, that the ん sound tends to be assimulated and almost vanish into the vowel's sound (sounding almost like まーえん). But there's just a hint of a naselization I think is being said, but I can't seem to replicate it at all, and pronouncing it with a ŋ ('ng') sounds stronger than the recording.

I've searched some of the past questions on the site related to how ん is pronounced prior to a vowel, but I haven't found a response that really gives a precise answer, as most say 'nasalized vowel' without many instructions on how to actually pronounced it.

  • As far as I know, vowels in Japanese language are, by default, nasalized when adjacent to nasal stops. Also written in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_phonology#Nasalization I think it is possible that, in a fast speech, the nasal stop is deleted and left the nasalized vowel along.
    – NoNames
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 14:57
  • 1
    Nasal vowel itself is nothing rare. Say, if your native tongue is American English, vowels that come before -ng are most likely naturally nasalized. Then what you have to put effort is isolating them from "ng"... Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 20:10

2 Answers 2


There are several ways to pronounce「ん」in Japanese. But you don't have to worry too much about it.

To be able to pronounce the「ん」correctly, it's best to hear the correct pronunciation and then imitate it.

The following YouTube link explains Japanese pronunciation of「ん」in an easy-to-understand way.


Please refer to it.

  • The issue with this is that the ん sound seems to vary between each vowel, and I can't see their tongue position either.
    – user154989
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 21:17

Say あー, and while your breath lasts, hold your nose. If the sound changes, it is nasalized. Practice till you can transition from the un-nasalized sound to the nasalized sound smoothly without changing the position of your tongue.

Many natives say げーいん for げんいん (原因), and some say ふいんき for ふんいき (雰囲気). It seems especially hard before い.

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