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Questions tagged [pronunciation]

発音. How the Japanese language i​s pronounced. For questions about which readings to use for particular kanji, use the "readings" tag instead.

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Rules or criteria for 連濁: Voiced or unvoiced syllables in compound words

Examples first. 空 {そら}. Almost all compound nouns for which 空 is the second component pronounce it as ぞら zora: 青空 {あおぞら} 夜空 {よぞら} 星空 {ほしぞら}. There is at least one exception though: 美空 {みそら}. 蕎麦 {...
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1answer
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What are the rules regarding “mute vowels” (“u” after “s” and “i” after “sh”)?

When you first begin to learn Japanese you are taught that Japanese has no stress and each syllable should be pronounced equally. You also learn that certain vowels are not pronounced, or only ...
12
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1answer
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The nasal allophones of /g/

In this this post's comments, Zhen Lin said that the rules surrounding the nasal allophones in compound words are 'complicated', but couldn't remember them. I'd like to know what these complex rules ...
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4answers
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How to choose between “よん” (yon) vs “し” (shi) for “四” (4) and “しち” (shichi) vs “なな” (nana) for “七” (7)?

Two numbers in Japanese have two pronunciation alternatives. 四 / 4 can be pronounced either "よん" (yon) or "し" (shi) 七 / 7 can be pronounced either "しち" (shichi) or "なな" (nana) I know that "し" (shi) ...
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7answers
63k views

Why do Japanese speakers have difficulty pronouncing “L”?

Why is it that native speakers of Japanese have a hard time pronouncing "l"? Whenever a western word contains "L" I see that they pronounce it "ru", "ra", "ro", "ri", or "re".
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6answers
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Pronouncing が as 'nga'

I'm a beginner and am learning from CD (Pimsleur). There are two native speakers going through the dialogue. One, the man, pronounces が as I would expect - 'ga'. The other (female) pronounces it as '...
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4answers
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When Chinese personal names are written in Japanese in kanji is there always an obvious reading?

In their comment to an answer on the question "Are foreign personal names usually written in katakana rather than Romaji?", user sawa says: ... Chinese names should be written in kanji rather than ...
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6answers
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Why the “H” is pronounced as “Sh” in some cases?

My first question is about the rules of pronunciation of the letter "H". Some people pronounce the "H" as if it were "Sh". For example, "Shijutsu" instead of "Hijutsu", or "Shiyori" instead of "...
58
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1answer
27k views

Why are the particles “は” (ha⇒wa), “へ” (he⇒e), and “を” (wo⇒o) not spelled phonetically?

As far as I know only three words (or particles) have irregular, non-phonetic spelling in Japanese: "は" - The topic particle is pronounced "wa" but the kana is otherwise pronounced "ha" "へ" - The ...
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3answers
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How 「えい」 should be pronounced in the words like 英語, 先生, etc?

P.S.: I heard that 「生」 (せい) in the word 先生 can be pronounced either as [sei] or as [see]. If it is so, is there any semantic difference between these variants?
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1answer
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Why is konnichiwa spelt こんにちは?

Why is は used at the end of こんにちは? Is the last letter the particle は, or is there a different explanation? Which is correct: こんばんわ or こんばんは? mentions konnichiwa, but the question is interpreted more ...
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2answers
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Why is は pronounced as わ when used as a topic particle?

The particle は is pronounced similarly to わ (unlike the rest of the ハ行 kana) when used as a particle; why is this? What historical shifts went on to cause this irregularity?
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4answers
342 views

ブラウザ or ブラウザー? Words borrowed from English which end with -er

I noticed that some (most? all?) words that were borrowed from English and end with -er in English can have either short or long vowel at the end: browser - can be ブラウザ or ブラウザー driver - can be ドライバ ...
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4answers
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What are the differences between じ and ぢ, and ず and づ?

The Japanese hiragana and katakana syllabaries can mostly be described as phonetic. But there are two exceptions, the two pairs of syllables modified to be voiced with the dakuten diacritic which ...
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7answers
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How important is one's pitch when speaking Japanese?

I'm aware of some words in Japanese that have the same reading but different meaning depending on the pitch of each syllable. The canonical example is はし (hashi), which can mean either chopsticks (...
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4answers
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What differences should I look out for between male vs female speech?

I was told a story where a male westerner learnt Japanese from his girlfriend and ended up speaking more like a female. The storyteller thought this was hilarious. What important differences should I ...
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4answers
2k views

とっても versus とても

I've had a teacher flatly tell me that とっても is incorrect, but I do see it written here and there and I'm pretty sure I hear it as well. Is it just so informal relative to とても that I should never use ...
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3answers
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When is 行く pronounced as いく, and when is it ゆく?

Are there any rules or guidelines as to when to pronounce 行く as いく or ゆく? I looked it up on jisho.org, and the two pronunciations have the exact same definition. I tend to hear ゆく more often in songs,...
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3answers
496 views

Is there any difference when pronouncing 橋 and 箸?

I once heard from my friend that the two words: 橋 and 箸 have different stress (stress falling on the first/second syllable). Is that true?
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4answers
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What does the little っ (tsu) signify when at the end of a word?

The small っ (tsu) is usually used before a consonant to indicate gemination, less technically known as doubled consonants, which is how they are transliterated in romaji. I have seen it at the end of ...
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2answers
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R sound vs L sound

First, I'd like to mention that I've seen this question, which is related but doesn't quite seem to be a duplicate. I've covered some Hiragana lessons and it seems there is no L in Japanese. The ...
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3answers
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Actual phonetic realization of “devoiced” vowels

Descriptions of Japanese phonology (such as Wikipedia's) usually describe high vowels between voiceless consonants (or word-finally) as "devoiced". For example, the pronunciation of ⟨圧⟩ 'pressure' and ...
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4answers
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Does Japanese have a silent ん?

Often, I can't hear ん in words. Most recently I've seen this in 攻殻機動隊. Examples: もう少し詳しい検査をしてみないと何とも言えませんが、おそらく外的な要因は見つかりそうもありません... 要因 sounds like ようい しくじれば、Spring-8の4倍の税金をかけた橋を… Sounds like ぜいき ...
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4answers
987 views

What changes are made to the pronunciation of gairaigo?

What changes are usually made to the pronunciation of gairaigo? I notice that vowels are often added between multiple consonants and to the end of words (eg "programmer" => "puroguramaa" (プログラマー)), ...
18
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4answers
767 views

Do native speakers think of prolonged vowels as one long vowel, or two vowel sounds following each other?

In a native speaker's mental model, are long vowel sounds - for example the おう in 「教室」 the ああ in 「唐揚げ」, the えい in 「先生」 or just 「いい」 (I chose these examples quite deliberately, since they represent ...
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4answers
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How do you pronounce “☓☓” as a placeholder?

I have come across the following in a piece of fiction (「永遠のジャック&ベティ」, by 清水{しみず}義範{よしのり}): 「今日は上着を着ているためには暑すぎます」 ◯◯するには☓☓すぎる。つまり、暑くて上着なんか着ていられない、という意味だった。 As you can see, the bolded sentence ...
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2answers
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Pronouncing ない as ねい / ねえ (also ~oi to ~ei)

I noticed that in anime and other Japanese shows, people often pronounce 「ない」 as 「ねい」. For example, instead of saying 「使わない」, the person will say 「使わねい」, but the translation is the same. I have many ...
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2answers
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How to Pronounce 化学 “Chemistry”?

A Japanese teacher on Twitter posted that 化学 is pronounced かがく and means "chemistry". I double-checked it on tangorin.com and it lists that pronunciation but says that it's pronounced ばけがく to avoid ...
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2answers
989 views

Encountered な with ten-ten

I am currently reading a manga for studying Japanese and encountered something strange. A girl exclaims「な゛?!」 The situation is that she has just had water squirted up her nose, so I am guessing it's ...
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3answers
170 views

How do I read 上 in ご注文の際は予めそちらをご了承の上お願い致します? What does it mean?

ご注文の際は予めそちらをご了承の上お願い致します。 How do I read the 上? うえ? or じょう? What is the meaning of 上 in that sentence?
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How do we decide if 中 is ちゅう or じゅう?

How do we decide if 中 is ちゅう or じゅう ? For example, in this sentence 10人中3人はビデオを持っている which pronunciation should we use? What about this: そのピアニストの演奏中、彼らは一心に耳を傾けた。
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1answer
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when is ん pronounced as “m”?

I've been initially told that ん is always pronounced like the n in pink. But I've been looking at this wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA_for_Japanese#cite_note-stop-2 And it is ...
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2answers
6k views

What is the more common pronunciation for the r­ōmaji letter Z in Japanese?

I was on the phone with NTT the other day and things were going well (or as good as they could), until I had to spell some email address for the customer rep, and fell upon the letter 'Z'. ...
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3answers
6k views

Why is 「昨夜」 pronounced as 「ゆうべ」 {yuube} and 「今日」 as 「きょう」 {kyou}?

「ゆう」 is neither the kun'yomi nor on'yomi of 「昨」 and 「べ」 is not a pronunciation of 「夜」 either. The same can be said about the pronunciation 「きょう」 for 「今日」. So how come the pronunciations of the two ...
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1answer
348 views

Pronunciation of「ww」(笑い)

In Japanese internet slang, you see people use「ww」to mean something like "lol". I was curious how this would be pronounced if read aloud. In English, I hear people say either /ɛl oʊ ɛl/ or /lɑl/ for "...
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3answers
848 views

How does one keep from being confused about the pronunciation of 地下鉄?

[地下鉄]{ちかてつ} How does one know the "hiragana spelling", i.e. the hiragana representation of the word is ちかてつ but not other forms involving misspelling one or more of the following か vs. が て vs. で つ ...
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4answers
400 views

Pronunciation of 九

The dictionary I'm using lists two common pronunciations of 「九」: 「きゅう」 and 「く」. I've usually heard it as 「きゅう」 before, but when saying 「9時」, it always seems to be 「くじ」. Is there a rule to this?
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1answer
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Are there rules of thumb for counter sound changes?

I'm wondering if there are consistent (or at least fairly reliable) rules for how to read numbers next to irregular counters, i.e. counters where you can't just put together the number and counter ...
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1answer
518 views

What is the proper pronunciation for 十分/10分? じっぷん or じゅっぷん?

My Japanese textbook only lists じゅっぷん. Our Japanese sensei (a quite old woman) says じっぷん but notes that it's optionally じゅっぷん. Our TAs all say じゅっぷん. I understand that Middle Chinese 十 was "jip" and ...
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2answers
320 views

Use of Dash or Hyphen in Telephone Numbers

If reading out a telephone number e.g. 123-456789 Denwa bangō wa ichi ni san - yon go roku nana hachi kyū desu What is the dash / hyphen called? Is it spoken? If so how is it pronounced or how do ...
4
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2answers
263 views

Is it correct to read 黒川 as くろかわ or is くろがわ correct?

I always run into this problem. Sometimes か and が are very similar to me so I have to type them in the computer to find the correct pronunciation of word. When I type くろがわ or くろかわ they both give me ...
3
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1answer
167 views

Pronunciation of interpoint when listing items

話者の希望・意向を表す文や働きかけの文は来ない。 This is a case when interpoint (中黒) is used for listing like a conjunction. I wonder how would a native speaker pronounce such an expression? Simply きぼういこう きぼう (pause) いこう ...
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8answers
20k views

I am looking for an online Japanese dictionary with audio pronunciations [closed]

Does anyone know any online Japanese dictionary which provides audio reading?
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6answers
7k views

How do you pronounce the Japanese “r”?

How do you pronounce the Japanese "r"? Is it more like an "l" or something inbetween? Would there be any picture or video explaining it correctly, please link it!
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2answers
3k views

How is 'w' pronounced?

When I listen to "watashi wa", for example, sometimes I have the impression that the 'w' sounds like 'v' as in "vial" or "violence" in English (Similar to 'w' in the German Language). Nevertheless, I ...
28
votes
4answers
23k views

What is 「々」 and how does it affect meaning and pronunciation?

I've seen this symbol in various places, such as 「日々」, 「色々」, and 「人々」. What is it, and how does it affect the meaning and pronunciation of the word?
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4answers
14k views

Is it just me, or is “ryokai” pronounced “yokai” regularly?

I realize anime is not like real life. In any case, I have noticed for a long time now that when saying "roger", they sound like they are saying "yokai" when in fact there should be a "r" sound in the ...
5
votes
1answer
486 views

Native pronunciation of the character "し”

I have recently become aware of the difference between the English and Japanese "sh" sounds, which I understand are formalized as the palato-alveolar fricative [ʃ] and the voiceless alveolo-palatal ...
4
votes
1answer
616 views

Dakuten on る character

I saw a dakuten used on a る, but it doesn't seem to exist in basic rules. My assumption is it's some sort of slang or implied definition as opposed to "proper" Japanese (it was in a manga). Does ...
14
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5answers
6k views

What is the difference between tori vs. dori?

In Aikido, different dojos seem to latch on to using either dori or tori when describing grabbing attacks. For instance one dojo might say: Katate Dori Another would say: Katate Tori Each dojo ...