What's new

Welcome to Japan Reference (JREF) - the community for all Things Japanese.

Join Today! It is fast, simple, and FREE!

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

Quick Pronunciation Question

Peter Milne

後輩
Joined
16 May 2018
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Hi there!

I was hoping someone could tell me the correct way to pronounce the Japanese word for dragon - ryū. There seems to be many variations among Westerners (either ree-you / rye-oo / rye-oh etc).

Any help greatly appreciated!
 

Majestic

先輩
Joined
12 Oct 2013
Messages
1,924
Reaction score
919
The pronunciation for 龍 (dragon) is closest to your ree-you as you have written above. But if you pronounce it as two syllables it will inevitably come out wrong, because in Japanese it is a single-syllable word. The "ree" gets contracted with the "you", and the result is a sound that isn't found in any English word. Because westerners find it hard to approximate this sound, it gets corrupted into a more easily graspable ree-you (or any number of mispronunciations).

Note that 龍 + something else might change the pronunciation. The name of 19th-century samurai turned politician Sakamoto Ryōma (坂本龍馬) is one such example. In this case it is something like ree-yo, again with the ree combining closely with the yo to form a one-syllable word, as opposed to being pronounced as two distinct sounds.)
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Top Bottom