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Please help me with something

Joe17

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hello, i need some help with pronouncing something in japanese.

i know when there is an 'i' in a word it is said 'ee' example:
ima nanji desuka? (what time is it? it is said like e-ma nan-jee desuka)

but... im having trouble with words like 'kawaii' since it has two i's.
is it said like: ka-why-ee ?? like.. the first i is pronounced like the english letter i, but the second is pronounced as in ee (feet)

i hope i made some sense so people understand this.. i really need help on this :eek: :D :p :sorry: (sorry, i just love these faces 😌 [domo sumimasen deshita")
 

tasuki

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Actually, if you go about it that way, you're going to encouter more problems in the future. "i" is closer to a short "e", than "ee". So when the "i" is doubled, you get closer to "ee". So English-style, kawaii would be pronounced "ka-wa-ee"...
 

Joe17

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?

can u give me an example to a word where the i is said as in a short e, please.
 

tasuki

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All words with an "i" in them. But I've expressed myself wrong. Thinking further about it, you should probably think of "i" in Japanese as you would "y" in English, as in the word puppy. "onegai" (please) does not sound like "o-ne-ga-ee" it sounds like "o-ne-ga-y", but with the "y" sound just as in "puppy".

So "ii" becomes closer to "ee".

Does that make more sense?
 

Joe17

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blah

yes i see what you mean.. but still.. err (pls dont get mad.. im new to this :p )

how come some things like ima nanji desuka.. how come the ima sounds like ee-ma? but other words like onegai sounds like a y instead of ee? is there a way to tell how to pronounce them? because i would like to learn this before i continue learning vocabulary.. so i dont learn how to say things incorrectly
 

tasuki

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They don't. It sounds exactly like "y-ma" ("y" as in puppy). But "i" approximated as "ee" is usually the way English text books of Japanese approximate it. It's usually also why you can tell an English native speaker who speaks Japanese from a French native speaker who speaks Japanese, because the "i" sound as it is pronouced in Japanese exists in French and doesn't in English... When native speakers of English pronouce the Japanese "i" sound as "ee", it gives them automatically away because the sound is too long...
 

mdchachi

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> but... im having trouble with words like 'kawaii' since it has two i's.
> is it said like: ka-why-ee ?? like.. the first i is pronounced
> like the english letter i, but the second is pronounced as in ee (feet)

Both i's are pronounced the same. Kawaii is pronounced kah-wah-ee-ee but when you put wah and ee together what do you hear? wah-ee --> why

As Tasuki says, the problem is that if you think "i" sounds like "ee" you are likely to elongate the ee sound too much.

> how come the ima sounds like ee-ma? but other words like onegai sounds like a y instead of ee?
It's the same thing -- oh-neh-gah-ee. ah+ee sounds like ay. Say them separately then say them quickly one after the other. You get "ay" right? Similarly you get the long "a" sound when you combine "e" and "i". Try it. "eh-ee" said quickly sounds like a long "a" doesn't it? Like in the word "sensei."
 

budd

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i hear that word a lot, so DEFINITELY good move trying to get it right, especially when it's so close to kawai (kawai-so)
much props, i gave up saying it cause it made me too nervous (the thought of getting it wrong with the wrong person)
 

kinjo

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Have you learned Hiragana, or Katakana? If you have, then it's much easier to pronounce words, instead of just winging it with the speech.
 
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