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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let's try these three sounds
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.
Repeat after me.
Let's practice some words now!
ひも string、ひ・も、ひも
Repeat after me.
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.
Okay! Let's review some more sounds in words.
Repeat after me.
かさ, umbrella, か・さ、かさ
しお, salt, し・お、しお
つき, moon, つ・き、つき
くち、mouth, く・ち、くち
なつ summer, な・つ、なつ
ほし star, 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!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

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?

February 25th, 2021 at 03:41 AM
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Hi there,

The TSU is hard to pronounce correctly and the video contradicts it's self a little, the video shows the tongue at the back of the top set teeth, then just after Yamamoto says to put your tongue on the back of your bottom teeth. I'm having a little trouble is there any thing you can suggest.

Kind regards,


JapanesePod101.com Verified
January 7th, 2021 at 07:42 AM
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こんにちは ,

You are very very welcome. 😇❤️️ We were so happy to read your positive message!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

We wish you good luck with your language studies.

Kind regards,

レヴェンテ (Levente)

Team JapanesePod101.com

January 7th, 2021 at 07:12 AM
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Thank you for showing the くち positioning, it makes it much easier to learn (especially for ふ)! Love learning this from いえ!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 21st, 2020 at 05:24 PM
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Hi Jonah,

Thank you for your comment and I'm sorry for this late reply.

As you say, Japanese pronunciation "hi" and English "he" (not strong sound) is

almost the same in vocalized sound.

Unfortunately, we don't have any notification system of reply to your comments for now.

It would be helpful for you if we have...

Thank you for learning Japanese with us:)



Team JapanesePod101.com

October 4th, 2020 at 03:01 PM
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Am I mistaken that Japanese pronunciation 'hi' and english pronoun 'he' is the same vocalized sound?

I can definitely hear how 'fu' is completely unique but I cannot tell the difference with 'hi' and 'he' (english pronoun).

Also, is there an option to be notified when a question has been answered or when someone has responded to one of my comments? Thank you!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
August 21st, 2020 at 12:53 AM
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こんにちは Rakshith,

Thank you for your message.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies!😇

Kind regards,

レヴェンテ (Levente)

Team JapanesePod101.com

August 18th, 2020 at 08:48 PM
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Ok Ryomaさま. I understand it. Thank you for your reply😄

JapanesePod101.com Verified
August 17th, 2020 at 08:45 PM
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Thank you for your comment😄

Behind this website, there is a team of many people who work very hard, investing time and effort to produce every lesson. They are not volunteers. We try to keep our standards high; therefore, we require payment for giving you access to our extra services. Of course, there is also a large number of lessons that are provided absolutely free! We hope you can find these lessons useful!

We kindly ask for your understanding on this and wish you all the best on your language studies!

Please let us know if you have any questions :)



Team JapanesePod101.com

August 14th, 2020 at 08:25 PM
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Please can you make this course free? Because it is a vital part in learning Japanese.


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

Thank you for your comment!


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!


Team JapanesePod101.com