7.4. What parts of Japanese are difficult for English speakers to pronounce?
The following features of Japanese pronunciation cause problems for
The tsu in tsunami (tidal wave), especially at the beginning
of a word.
The sound represented in rōmaji as r is not an English `r'
or an English `l'. See 7.3. What is rōmaji `r' really? for a full discussion.
Words like hyakutake, the name of a comet, are difficult because
there are no English words that have a consonant followed by a `y'
sound and a vowel in the same syllable, unless the vowel is `u' (as in
Hugh). So hyakutake may come out like hiyakutake.
Japanese pitch accent. See 7.5. What is Japanese pitch accent?
It is difficult for English speakers to correctly produce Japanese
short and long vowels, such as correctly pronouncing ito (string)
and Itō, a surname.
- It is difficult for English speakers to distinguish between the
`n' in kon'yaku (engagement to be married) and in kon'nyaku
(a jelly-like foodstuff), or to correctly pronounce a Japanese name
like Shin'ichi or Jun'ichiro. See
7.1. What are the differences between kana writing and pronunciation? for a fuller discussion.
Jaime Benito de Valle Ruiz
/ 7. Pronunciation
Copyright © 1994-2013 Ben Bullock
If you have questions, corrections, or comments, please contact
or use the discussion forum / Privacy