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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 second of 2 consonant groups.
Again, this group will be broken down into rows. The m-row is next.
ま、み、む、め、も
The consonant m is the same as the English "m"-sound as in "map". Close the mouth, put the lips together and make the nasal sound, "m".
Repeat after me.
Did you notice that when you say み, the tongue position changed? The front of your tongue is raised to the roof of the mouth, because it's influenced by the following "i" sound.
Next is the y-row. There are only three sounds of this group in modern Japanese
や、ゆ、よ
y-sound is the same as "y" at the start of the English word "you". The position of the mouth and the tongue is the same as "い", but it moves to the next vowel.
Repeat after me.
The next group is the "r" row.
ら、り、る、れ、ろ
When you say "r" in Japanese, you lightly tap the teethridge that's just behind your top row of teeth with the tongue. It's very different from the English r-sound. It's actually similar to the "l" sound. Don't roll your tongue.
Ready? Repeat after me.
Now onto some words.
Repeat after me.
りす squirrel、り・す、りす
りす
からい spicy、か・ら・い、 からい
からい
Next is the w-row. There are only two sounds in this group in modern Japanese.
わ を
The "w" in わ is similar to the English w-sound, however, ease the pressure a little when you round the lips.
Repeat after me.
The を sound is grouped in this consonant w-group, but it's pronounced the same as お in Japanese.
Repeat after me.
The final consonant is "ん".
"ん" can stand alone, and is a syllable on its own.
ん, ん
Block the breath flow far back in the mouth so that the breath flows only to the nose. This is known as a nasal sound.
Repeat after me.
Practice this sound with words.
えん、yen、え・ん、えん
えん 
にほん, Japan、に・ほ・ん、 にほん
にほん
What about this word?
If you put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth when you say ん, you would say...
ほんにゃく instead of ほんやく
Make sure you don't touch the tip of your tongue in any place in your mouth when you say ん. Instead, it should be suspended in the empty mouth space.
Be careful of this word too.
せんえん、one thousand yen, せ・ん・え・ん、せんえん
Don't say せんねん.
Make sure that you keep the tip of your tongue suspended in the empty space, and don't touch it to any particular part, and say せんえん.
せんえん
Okay, the last pattern is when consonants such as "p", "b", "m", "t", "g" or "k" come after "ん" such as .
In some cases, the sound "ん" is influenced by a following consonant.
The first case is...
うんめい destiny, う・ん・め・い、うんめい
It sounds more like an "m" sound because it's influenced by the following consonant, "m" sound.
うんめい
Can you tell the difference with the ん sound in this word?
さんか participation, さ・ん・か、さんか
The transition between the ん and か sounds like the nasal sound "ng".
Again, さんか
Okay, repeat after me.
えん, yen, え・ん、えん
えん
うんめい destiny, う・ん・め・い、うんめい
うんめい
さんか participation, さ・ん・か、さんか
さんか
Congratulations! You've now learned all 46 of the basic sounds in Japanese. You've learned many words already, so now you should practice saying words you know.
Have you ever seen kana characters with little marks on them? You'll learn how to pronounce them in the next lesson.
How confident are you about your pronunciation of "ra", "ri", "ru", "re", "ro"? Tell us about it in the comments!
See you in the next Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide lesson!

54 Comments

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JapanesePod101.comVerified
March 14th, 2014 at 6:30 pm
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Do you know any word that contains one of these consonants?

JapanesePod101.comVerified
October 22nd, 2019 at 5:48 am
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Hi Mike,


Thank you for your like! We hope you enjoy learning with us! If you ever have any questions, please let us know. :)


Kind regards,

Levente

Team JapanesePod101.com

Mike
October 16th, 2019 at 12:20 pm
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👍

JapanesePod101.comVerified
September 2nd, 2019 at 3:25 am
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Hi Leo Emerson,


Thank you very much for the comment!

Please watch the video once again and pay attention at the picture at 3:11.

If you put your focus on the tip of your tongue touching right above back of your upper teeth, you should be able to pronounce ra, ri, ru, re, ro correctly.


Good luck!


JapanesePod101.com is 100% online. If you'd like, we offer 1-on-1 access to a teacher with Premium Plus subscription.


Sincerely,

Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

Leo Emerson
August 23rd, 2019 at 5:01 am
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Oh and just wondering do japanesePod101 do proper class room lessons or is it 100% online classes

Leo Emerson
August 23rd, 2019 at 4:51 am
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Hi I having some trouble with the pronunciation Of ra ri ru re ro can you help me please

JapanesePod101.comVerified
July 17th, 2019 at 6:47 am
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Hi Emmanuel,


Thank you very much for studying with us and leaving a comment.

I'm so glad to hear you find our lessons very helpful!


Keep up the good work and if you have any questions, please let us know in the comment.


Sincerely,

Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

Emmanuel
July 5th, 2019 at 7:07 pm
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The hardest part for me was the "N" sound but once I got it, flowing was a little easier. I love the explanations and how easy they make the pronunciations

JapanesePod101.com
March 1st, 2019 at 9:47 pm
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Hi Chris,


Great to hear that you’re learning well with our lessons!


Should you have any questions, please let us know.


Sincerely,

Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Chris
February 28th, 2019 at 11:44 am
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Michelle,


Thanks again. You have helped me to break a bad habit I did not realize I had with pronouncing morphing the ん sound with the following syllables in some words. The examples in the lesson help me clearly hear the difference.



Chris

JapanesePod101.com
January 23rd, 2019 at 9:12 pm
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Hi ダニエル,


Thank you for posting.


As practice makes perfect, keep up studying well and soon you’ll get great results! 👍


And in case of any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.


Sincerely,

Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com