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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30
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1answer
3k views

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 {...
52
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1answer
46k views

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 ...
17
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6answers
95k 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".
43
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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 ...
64
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4answers
103k views

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) ...
15
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
19
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4answers
7k views

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 ...
40
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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 '...
22
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3answers
7k views

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?
19
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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 ...
82
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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 ...
65
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1answer
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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 ...
30
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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 "...
10
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4answers
490 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 ...
8
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2answers
9k views

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 ...
7
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1answer
595 views

Confusion with pronunciation in some words: 'm' and 'n' sounds when there is 'g'

It has been bugging me for a while; I'm using memrise for learning and for example: ちゅうごく China → I hear it pronounced chūmoku かがく science → I hear it pronounced kanaku Is this an error from memrise'...
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4answers
4k 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 ...
46
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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 (...
28
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4answers
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How can I tell if a Japanese person's given name is male or female?

I am hoping that there may be some particular kanji and/or sounds used in determining if a persons given name is male or female.
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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,...
39
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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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5answers
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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 is ...
14
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2answers
46k views

Do Japanese actually pronounce the "v" sound?

Do Japanese actually pronounce the "v" sound? They do have a kana character (ヴ) dedicated to transcribing foreign "v" sounds, but do they actually pronounce them like the English phoneme /v/ (using ...
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2answers
1k views

Can a Japanese word combine both on'yomi and kun'yomi characters?

I would like to know whether a Japanese word combining at least two kanji can combine both on'yomi and kun'yomi characters, within the same word.
5
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1answer
438 views

日曜日,the different meanings and pronunciations of 日

I am not sure about the pronunciation rules of kanji in Japanese. I understand that there are several pronunciations for each kanji, and I am wondering how native speakers decide when to use which ...
36
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4answers
6k views

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 ...
10
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2answers
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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 ...
16
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6answers
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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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4answers
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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
2k views

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
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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)), ...
3
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1answer
622 views

Are there many occurrences of elongated syllables throughout the language?

I've been studying Japanese through Duolingo and I wouldn't say I've progressed very far. I've learned some of the basics of Hiragana and it's beginning to transition into Kanji. While learning ...
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2answers
747 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
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"z" sound, which to choose?

I've read about if "z" sound is pronounced /z/ or /dz/ and found the answer here that: Typically, though not consistently, [dz] occurs at the beginning of a word or in the middle of a word ...
2
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1answer
176 views

What is the function of 一 in バスルーム and コンピュータ?

Is 一 in バスルーム and コンピュータ meant to indicate a drawn out vowel? Like ba-su-ruuu-mu and kon-pi-yuuu-ta? Or is it a counter somehow? And it's the line radical (http://www.kanjidamage.com/kanji/1-one-line-...
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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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2answers
10k 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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2answers
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Is /z/ pronounced as [z] or [dz] or both?

I am not sure how these two sounds are used in Japanese. Which one is more common, in terms of frequency? Under what cases is the other one used?
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1answer
504 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
1k 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?
8
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4answers
655 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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5answers
2k views

Is it possible to algorithmically convert Japanese text to Romaji?

I am a programmer and I recently wrote two browser extensions, one will translate English text to "pronunciation" replacing all words founf on a web page, and another will replace all Chinese ...
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2answers
2k 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
198 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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1answer
123 views

「卯月」 pronounced as 「うすき」(?)

In a scene from the Japanese movie 「四月物語」, the heroine introduced herself, saying 「[卯月]{うづき}です」, which is her given name. The 「月」 part is kind of whispered (?) , and sounds to me more close to 「すき」. ...
37
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2answers
6k views

Why is Katakana not pronounced Katagana?

I am a beginner in Japanese and I've noticed that when two words are compounded into one word the first letter of the second word changes. hira + kana = hiragana ko + hayashi = kobayashi ori + kami ...
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3answers
3k views

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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4answers
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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 ...
6
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1answer
1k 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 ...