I've seen that seen that the g can be pronounced as ŋ. But I have no idea how to replicate that, all I've seen is the it sounds like the ending of sing, but I still don't really know, so my questions is, is it important to learn this? Or can I just say g when saying something like 長い.

  • 2
    No, it doesn’t. I’m a native but never say がぎぐげご with /ŋ/. It’s always /g/ or /ɣ/ for me.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 12:10
  • ↑ 💯 Nasal g is pretty uncommon among speakers from Tokyo (who haven’t been trained to do it). Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


I don't know how much you can understand Japanese, but here's a video(in Japanese) by a Japanese linguist that discusses the exact question: the different pronunciations in Japanese, and the difference between "g" or "ŋ" using the example word 老害. He also discusses other stuff related to the Japanese phonology such as how the sounds shifted over time.

In short, if you don't want to watch the video, or can't yet understand well, basically what he said was that it doesn't matter if you say "g" or "ŋ", it's merely a difference of dialect and whichever one is correct. How one chooses to pronounce a word is simply affected by his/her family and surroundings.

A screenshot:

enter image description here

  • 1
    This is not completely correct. The video argues that either /g/ or /ŋ/ are acceptable for that specific word rogai, which is true. However, the position of the phoneme (its environment) is a crucial factor in determining whether a sound is acceptable or not. In general, word-initial position /g/ sounds are not interchangeable as /ŋ/ in Japanese. Thus, you may hear people said roŋai or rogai, but you are unlikely to hear ŋakko instead of gakko.
    – kandyman
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 12:07

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