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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone! I’m Michelle Yamamoto.
Welcome back to The Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide at JapanesePod101.com.
In this lesson, you'll master the first of 2 consonant groups.
Each group is broken down into rows, following traditional Japanese practice. The first of these is the k-row.
か、き、く、け、こ
Can you recognize the "k" sound in き is a little different to the k sound in か、く、け、こ?
When pronouncing か、く、け、こ, raise the tongue to the back of the mouth, block the breath flow completely with the tongue, then release the sound. Try it!
For "き", raise the tongue to the roof of your mouth, release "k" and make a sharp い sound.
Repeat after me.
Next is the "s" row.
さ、し、す、せ、そ
Did you notice that "し" is different from the English pronunciation of "si" in "signal"? In Japanese, し is romanized as "s/h/i". So, it's not "si" but, し.
Also, be careful, because it's a little different from the English pronunciation of "sh" in "sheep." Don't round the lips like you do in English.
Repeat after me.
Next is the "t" row.
た、ち、つ、て、と
When you pronounce these three sounds, た、て、と、you can pronounce the "t" sound like an English letter T, but softer
Repeat after me.
The next sound is ち. The first consonant sound is just like the "ch" in "chicken".
"The next sound is つ. Be careful to pronounce it like "tsu" and not "tu" or "stu."
When you say "cats" in English, hear the "ts" sound at the end?"
Repeat after me.
Tighten up the front edge of the tongue, unlike "す". Repeat after me again.
Great! Are you getting the hang of it now?
Next up is the "n" row.
な、に、ぬ、ね、の
Place the tip of your tongue on your teethridge and pronounce the "n" like in English. Put the front edge of the tongue between the back of the teeth and the teethridge. It's also nasal. You know you're making a nasal sound when you feel your voice vibrating up through your nose.
Repeat after me.
Next is the "h" row.
は、ひ、ふ、へ、ほ
Let's try these three sounds
は、へ、ほ
Repeat after me.
Don't make the "h" sound too soft, otherwise these syllables will just sound like "あ、え、お".
Let's try again.
Okay, moving on to the next two sounds, ひ and ふ.
These sounds don't exist in English, so practice these the most!
When you say ひ, your tongue position and mouth shape is similar to when you say い. So, try to say い first and say ひ.
いーひー,
いーひー
ひ"
Repeat after me.
Let's practice some words now!
ひも string、ひ・も、ひも
Repeat after me.
ひも
The next one is ふ. This sound is unique to Japanese.
ふ is like a soft, free-flowing "f" sound. Bring the lips together but don't let the lips or teeth touch. Imagine you're getting ready to blow out a candle, but you're just allowing the air to escape. ふ
Repeat after me.
Let's practice ふ in some words!
ふね ship、ふ・ね、ふね
Repeat after me.
ふね
Okay! Let's review some more sounds in words.
Repeat after me.
かさ, umbrella, か・さ、かさ
かさ
しお, salt, し・お、しお
しお
つき, moon, つ・き、つき
つき
くち、mouth, く・ち、くち
くち
なつ summer, な・つ、なつ
なつ
ほし star, ほ・し、ほし
ほし
You heard a lot of sounds in this lesson. Some are similar to English sounds, while others may sound new to you. Keep listening and practicing to tune your ears to the sounds.
You're more than halfway through the consonant groups. In the next lesson, you'll master the remaining consonant groups.
What was the most difficult sound for you to pronounce? Tell us about it in the comments!
See you in the next Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide lesson!

81 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 28th, 2014 at 06:30 PM
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Do you know any word that contains one of these consonants?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
July 2nd, 2020 at 07:18 PM
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Konnichiwa Yvonne,


Thank you for your comment!

ふ=ɸ

When you pronounce " ɸ ", you are going to bring your lips close together and make a sound by causing friction as air passes through the chink between your lips.

ふ=ɸ differs from the English sound "F" which is made with upper-teeth and lips.

This page explains well how to pronounce it with video:https://www.japanesepod101.com/lesson/video-s2-6-kantan-kana-6/


Keep up the good work!

Sono

Team JapanesePod101.com

Yvonne
June 9th, 2020 at 02:19 PM
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The ふ is hard. Not sure if I make F sound or soft H.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 5th, 2020 at 06:09 PM
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Allisonさん


Thank you so much for your comment😄

Sounds good! がんばってください👍

Please let us know if you have any questions :)


Sincerely

Ryoma

Team JapanesePod101.com

Allison
June 2nd, 2020 at 11:01 AM
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Shi and fu were definitely the most difficult for me. I will be listening to them and for more examples they are used so I can hear more variations.

Great Lesson! 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
April 29th, 2020 at 12:55 PM
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Ernestさん


コメントありがとうございます😄

You've got this👍

Please let us know if you have any question :)


Sincerely

Ryoma

Team JapanesePod101.com

Ernest
April 26th, 2020 at 04:09 AM
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Shi, fu,& hi seemed most difficult. So i will have to review and practice several more times.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 22nd, 2020 at 10:11 AM
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Gabinoさん


質問(しつもん)ありがとうございます😄

Like the description up there says, the tsu is the same as "ts" as in "cats."

Try saying "cats" without the "ca" to make this sound 👍

Please let us know if you have any question :)


Sincerely

Ryoma

Team JapanesePod101.com

Gabino
March 17th, 2020 at 04:25 PM
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Hi,


After seeing how my tongue's supposed to be when saying tsu I've been saying su more often unless I say tsu with the t- su. Kinda hard for me to adjust my tongue when saying things but I don't know if I'm saying it properly now. But saying su now is easier I just saying the u part a bit longer than usual. Saying "Tsukasa" now sounds like Sukasa XD


I need your opinion on the matter.


P.S. I tend to eat my words a lot thus why even when I speak in English folks barely hear me speak unless I use a microphone.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
December 5th, 2019 at 10:39 PM
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Hi Sadie,


Thank you for your comment!

It's interesting that in every language there are some hard part to pronounce. 😄

For most Japanese people, it's really hard to pronounce "th", "v", and "r."

I'm sure if you work on "fu (ふ)" more, you'll get a lot better!👍

Please let us know if you have any questions!


Best regards,

Izumi

Team JapanesePod101.com

Sadie
December 2nd, 2019 at 08:53 AM
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for me it was probaly fu also i cant spell well😅