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Can you tell me if I'm correct


22 Jul 2003
hi, can you tell me if im pronouncing these correctly. thanks

ri- li
mi- me
hi- he
ni- knee (is it said like knee(body part) or ne(as in neh?)
she- she
ki- key
i- E
ru- loo(the u's are pronounced as oo(as in goop)??)
yu- yoo
mu- moo
fu - foo
nu - noo
re- leh
me- meh
he - heh
ne- neh
te - teh
se - seh
ke - keh
e - eh
mo - moe
ho- hoe
no - no
to - toe
so - so
ko - ko (sounds like coco?)

sorry.. -_- lol i feel so stupid.. but please tell me if im saying these correctly.. (i read on a site that r's are said like l's?)
Originally posted by kemuri8
hi, can you tell me if im pronouncing these correctly. thanks
sorry.. -_- lol i feel so stupid.. but please tell me if im saying these correctly.. (i read on a site that r's are said like l's?)
No, it means that English l's become "r" sounds in Japanese -- they don't have an l sound. The "r" also rolls slightly more than in English, almost like a "dd" and "r" combination. There are some sites out there with extremely in-depth pronouncation guides, though, which could make you sound almost too perfect. :eek: But which I will try to post sometime if I have a chance.
Well, I'm no expert, but for however many years I've been knowing anything about Japanese, I have pronounced and been told to pronounce things spelled with an "r" in Romaji like our "l". That is why I changed the Romaji spelling of my son's name from Ryuukai to Lyuukai so that people wouldn't go around saying his name like the R in my name (Rachel). Our r and their r takes totally differnt tongue and lip movements as far as I'm aware. I couldn't tell you how many times I've had to correct my husband and other friends of mine from saying my name like Lachel instead of Rachel, which I think is spelled "Recheru" in Romaji. The r's in that sound like l's, though. Many other cases have had to be corrected too. For example, unless they know the difference, you cannot tell if they're saying "Lowe's" or "Rose".

I should say it's more between an r and an l, but more like an l. It kind of starts out as an r sound in the very back of the mouth, but ends up with the tongue and the lips in the same movement as the English l. It's very difficult to explain, I guess. You really have to watch the movements the mouth makes when saying it.

*Edited after pronouncing "ryu" many, many times and getting Moto to pronounce it many, many times, while I watched. Tongue is tired now.:p
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so...... ru would just be roo right? (r's stay r's?)

also.. can u tell me if i said all the other things correctly? ty
My two yen:

The other stuff "sounds" fine. r's remain r's but they are not pronounced as r's.

I'll see if I can explain it. Say the following using English pronunciation: ra, la, da

With ra you purse your lips and your tongue doesn't touch anything, right? With la, your tongue tip touches the roof of your mouth. With da, your tongue tip touches the roof of your mouth but lets the sound build up a little pressure behind it before it is released to create the d sound.
Now, the Japanese "ra" is a cross behind the English la and da sounds. I think it has more in common with the da than the la in terms of the way it's formed but it sounds more like a cross between l & r.
That's my take on it anyway.
Since everybody seems to have a take on this, here's mine.

Any text book or Web site that uses sounds from one language to approximate the sounds in another (whether it's Japanese or French or whatever), is doing two things:

1. Leading you to reason language which, if you don't plan on doing any translation, you don't have to do and in fact should not do. (That's one of the reasons why kids are so good at learning other languages, because they just accept what is without trying to reason out the rules behind it.)

2. Screwing up your pronouciation. The Japanese "i" does NOT sound like the English "e". The English "e" is too long. The Japanese "i" is very short, like the "y" sound in "puppy" or "happy". Same thing for the Japanese "u" sound. It absolutely, positively never sounds like the English "oo". (oo is too long, comes from the throat, whereas u is short and comes from the mouth) I can't think of any sound that approximates the Japanese "u" sound in English. The "r" and "l" thing is really tough. it's as tough as it is for English speakers to pronounce the French "r" sound correctly.

If at all possible, what I'd do is find a Japanese national, get him/her to tape you the pronouciation of all 46 sounds and associated derived sounds (ju, juu, etc.) possible in Japanese, and you should try to emulate these sounds instead or trying to reason and approximate them.

Of course, if you're only aiming at being able to speak and don't care overmuch about pronouciation, then what mdchachi said is true, "the other stuff sounds fine". At least, that's my take on it.
There's also fu.The "f" part has kind of a "h" sound to it, sometimes. Some people just use foo. So fu kind of sounds like "f~hoo" (sounding nearly like "who") said quickly where the "f" part is not strictly pronounciated
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