Questions tagged [phonetics]

音声学. The physical properties of the sounds of Japanese. Divided into articulatory phonetics (how the sounds are produced physically), auditory phonetics (the physical sounds we're able to hear physically), and acoustic phonetics (the measurement and analysis of the sound waves produced in human speech). Please put phonetic transcriptions in [square brackets].

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Pitch accent differences between Praat and OJAD

I am currently trying to get my head around the pitch accent based on the following dialog and especially the marked sentence: 遠足に来ています。合う絵はどれですか。 女 いいわね、広々としていて。気持ちまでゆったりするわ。遠くに一本だけ見える木がまたいい。 … I'...
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How is the あ vowel produced?

I've been reading about the sounds of Japanese and always thought the あ's highest point is shown as in this diagram: Which I learned narrowly can be transcribed like [ɑ̞] (the diagram is taken from ...
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Yet another seemingly unvoiced voiced sound?

In a recent Japanese movie, the leading actor is acting as Uncle Vanya on a stage, saying 「おまえはぼくの人生を踏みにじった」, in which the 「じ」sounds to me very similar to 「し」. I wonder how this sounds to a native ...
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ト and ツ in English loanwords

When it comes to gairaigo, every time there's a consonant cluster or a final one you generally add a -u to it. Glass=gurasu, plan=puran, story=sutoorii, wrestling=resuringu. As far as I can tell, this ...
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イ音便 Outside of the て and た Forms

I understand that a lot of the time the consonants in き, ぎ, し and り were dropped, making 書きて into 書いて, 焼き刃 into やいば, 良し into 良い, etc. When it comes to verbs, it affected their て form as well as た/たら/...
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What are the phonotactic rules of 促音 in lexical items?

In comparison to 連濁, finding rules on 促音 seems much harder. If possible, I would like to figure out what the rules are, that is, in which positions 促音 can occur, and in which positions 促音 is likely to ...
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What is the function of っ in these words ending with っこ? [duplicate]

I've noticed some words ending in こ which seem to insert a っ where it is seemingly unwarranted phonetically. Examples are 末っ子, 売れっ子, 江戸っ子, 町っ子, etc. I don't see any phonetic issues with the 'expected' ...
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Which character set are typically used to transliterate "roman abbreviations" in named entity?

When translating named entities (for example, a person name), phonetical translation (known as transliteration) is used to make Katakana characters sound like its roman characters equivalent. This ...
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Do loanwords have quasi-phonemic vowel reduction?

I've started to notice this, and I'm not sure whether my eyes are deceiving me or not, but it seems as if several, but not all loans have a high statistical probability of vowels being reduced/...
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How can I find the pitch-accent pattern for 頭高型?

I don't mean the meaning of 頭高型, but the pitch-accent pattern of the actual word 「頭高型」. I've found several pitch-accent dictionaries including the two OJAD sites (here and here), but the first site ...
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Correct pronunciation of voiceless bilabial fricative [ɸ]

I found that there are two different pronunciations for the [ɸ] phone. For example, in Japanese compare those two pronunciations for same word 冬 (for which I believe will has [ɸɯjɯ] as phonetic ...
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Why did Japanese evolve to have a ''she'' mora instead of a ''see'' mora in さしすせそ?

In the さしすせそ series, し is an exceptions to the pattern. Is ''she'' easier to pronounce than ''see'' or why does Japanese have this feature?
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Pronunciation question for consonants k/g and t/d

I was wondering if someone could help me clear up some confusion Sometimes when I hear people speaking Japanese in videos, I hear them swap the k/g consonants, as well as the d/t consonants.. Like ...
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Do native speakers learn consonant and vowel length easily, or is it difficult?

Just want to ask if this is normal or I am just fighting the wrong way. かっこいい say this word has the final 2 い which shall take 2 length of the i sound. I am struggling to keep trying to speak with 2 ...
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pronunciation of 拗音

I have difficulty to pronounce (あ段, お段) 拗音, e.g., きゃ, きょ, ひゃ, ひょ correctly. My Japanese language teacher is a native Japanese. What she taught me is the same that I can find on the Internet. For ...
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Did labialized consonants remain in Ryūkyūan?

The labialized velar consonants are rare even in historical Japanese; besides (possibly) one verb (kweru), they (kwa-, gwa-, kwe-, gwe-) occur only in some Sino-Japanese morphemes. In Japanese, they ...
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Why are voiced and unvoiced consonants both acceptable for the same word?

It's common enough to see two possible pronunciations of a word in Japanese. For example, take the word 容態 (meaning 'condition' or 'state'). According to 三省堂 スーパー大辞林, both ようたい and ようだい are ...
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Pronunciations of と/ど, た/だ, ち/じ [duplicate]

I am a Japanese beginner, and a lot of times I find it hard to distinguish the pronunciations betweenた/だ, と/ど, ちじ etc. For example, わたし, the pre-record pronunciation online sounds like “wadashi” to me;...
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What is the correct romaji/kanji for a phrase that sounds like “fui cabaru”

A japanese Aikido master used the term that sounds like “fui cabaru” or the “up” position of the a sword. I also believe it means something like “the place your hat goes”. Can you tell me the correct ...
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What is the correct pitch accent for ううん?

For ううん to express negation, Weblio gives the pitch accent as 【2】, i.e. ううん 【LHL】 However, (to me) this doesn't sound like how people actually pronounce the word. I've always thought that it ...
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2 votes
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Pronunciation of words with ん followed by sokuon

How do you pronounce words like 「ごめんってば」 or 「日本人っぽい」?
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Are the Japanese し and the Mandarin "xi" really both [ɕ]?

I've had this question for several months now, and haven't been able to find a satisfactory answer online. The Japanese し and the Mandarin "xi", as in 西, are listed equivalently as [ɕ] in the IPA. ...
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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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Why is the English word "studio" transcribed as スタジオ?

So I'm aware that transcription into Japanese is not always clear-cut, and there are plenty of exceptions. It sort of makes sense that "Australia" is オーストラリア not *オーストレリア and "stadium" is スタジアム not *...
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What is pimsleur saying (shtain desnoga)?

Listening to the first Pimsleur Japanese audiobook and I'm having a hard time recognizing the words its saying. It says to say "I want to go shopping" and then in Japanese says something that sounds ...
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What does the て and た forms look like before 音便?

I learned that the reason why て and た forms conjugate the way they do is because of a phenomenon known as 音便. And I know that 音便 happens because it's easier to say the word this way. However, what is ...
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3 answers
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When is お pronounced「ä」instead of「ō」?

Most often お is pronounced [ō], however sometimes I hear an [ä] instead. It might be arbitrary, but it sounds so consistent to me, thus I ask, are there? And if so, what are they?
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3 votes
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連濁 in proper nouns

There was already this answer regarding the basic rules of rendaku. However, it seems that these rules do not apply at all to proper nouns, especially toponyms. Examples include 秋葉原{あきはばら} (no rendaku)...
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5 votes
4 answers
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Pronunciation of ん before a fricative

I've seen many questions asked about the ん sound, both on this site and others, but I'm still uncertain about how it should be produced before a fricative (e.g. さ, し, ひ, ふ). So I'm hoping someone can ...
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Why is -ng transcribed as ング?

Why are English words ending with -ing often transcribed with ング? For example, timing = タイミング, morning = モーニング, and diving = ダイビング. My guess is that グ is formally pronounced with 鼻濁音{びだくおん} , i.e. ...
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7 votes
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Can we predict if a kanji has a reading that ends in long う

Can we predict if a kanji has a reading that ends in long う? By "long う" I mean that the preceding mora also is in a u-row syllable such as ふう, くう, つう. Consider these. I will list the kanji followed ...
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Desu pronounced dess: what about other words? [duplicate]

On a CD that came with my text book I hear that desu is pronounced dess. Are there many other words in Japanese, where done of the sound from the kana spelling actually falls off, like in this example,...
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45 votes
4 answers
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What do the shapes △ ◯ ╳ ◻ mean in Japanese? And are there variations in meaning, depending on whether or not the shape is filled?

I am interested in Japanese culture and the symbolism used in Japan, specifically I'd like to know what the △ triangle, ◯ circle, ╳ cross and ◻ square mean to a Japanese person. How are those shapes ...
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7 votes
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Origin of the pronunciations of 観音 and 漢音

The Japanese name for the deity Guanyin, 観音, seems as far as I can tell to be almost universally pronounced かんのん Kannon, and not かんおん Kan’on. The origin of the name, as Wikipedia correctly gives it, ...
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2 votes
2 answers
237 views

Why isn't the word for triangle トラヤングル?

What's the phonetic difference between toraianguru (トライアングル, the correct word in Japanese) and torayanguru (トラヤングル)? Do they both sound the same and it's purely a matter of orthography, or is there ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Rule on vowel devoicing? [duplicate]

Ok, so I mostly understand how vowel devoicing works in Japanese, but there's something that's making me a bit confused. On all the sources I've found, most say that vowel devoicing usually occurs in ...
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14 votes
2 answers
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Is there a radiotelephony alphabet standard for kanji, similar to NATO phonetic alphabet ("alfa, bravo, charlie")?

NATO phonetic alphabet is used for precise dictation of English letters: "A" is pronounced as "Alfa" "B" as "Bravo" "C" as "Charlie", etc. There are similar alphabets for other languages. There are ...
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When spoken casually, how different do 「た」 and 「だ」 in 「頂きます」 sound to native speakers?

For example, it's very difficult for my ears, which have been accustomed to Mandarin that does not differentiate voiced sounds and unaspirated voiceless sounds, to tell the difference between 「た」 and 「...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is there any phonetic rule behind readings 馬場{ばば} and 馬場{ばんば}?

I understand that place names often undergo changes separate from regular language, but I always wondered if there was any phonetic rule behind reading for the word 馬場. Meaning "horse riding grounds" ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
237 views

Pronunciation of マッハ or シャッフル

How do the Japanese actually pronounce words such as マッハ (Mahha - Mach) or シャッフル (Shaffuru - Shuffle)? I know gemination is a feature of Japanese phonology, but I've only managed to articulate such ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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How to pronounce 繁栄 han'ei?

How to pronounce 繁栄 han'ei? Is there a glottal stop between the two syllables? Is it //haɴʔeː//, //haɴeː//, //haŋʔeː// or //haŋeː//?
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14 votes
2 answers
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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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Is the 'h' in Japanese pronounced the same as the 'f'?

I'm aware that the so-called 'f' in ふ isn't pronounced with the English labiodental fricative [f], but rather the bilabial fricative [ɸ]. I'd like to know if Japanese speakers also use the bilabial ...
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Why does 背く sound like そむふ in this sentence?

The clip and subtitles: http://clyp.it/fmzowhxt 組織の命令に背くという事は どういう事か お前は わかってない! So why is 背く being pronounced like that? I don't hear a く at all and hear a ふ instead. Also, maybe the following is ...
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1 answer
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Siri's pronunciation of ふ

Recently, I've been using Siri in Japanese to set cooking timers. I've noticed she pronounced the「フ」in「十五分」clearly as /hu/, not /fu/. From Wikipedia: Old Japanese does not have /h/, but rather /ɸ/ ...
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When does /r/ become a trill?

In a video that snailboat pointed out in a comment on my question about geminated /r/, at least one speaker of Japanese sounds to me like they trill both the /r/s in タリアテッレ. It's my understanding ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Teaching the difference between "see" and "she" in English

I've been teaching ESL for over 30 years, but for the last three I've had almost exclusively Japanese students (I teach mostly 1-on-1 classes over Skype, to students from High School to Business ...
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

How is リィ pronounced?

I'm confused about リィ. (That's big リ followed by little ィ.) Although this combination isn't part of the official orthography (as far as I know), it seems to be fairly common. I asked a Japanese ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Pronunciation of ワンマン運転

I hear ワンマン運転 as ワンマウンテン, with the ん of マン dissapearing, or perhaps being very soft. Here's an example:http://youtu.be/DZnuH1XkE7s?t=49s Another question shows that there can be something ...
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