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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!

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JapanesePod101.com
Friday at 6:30 pm
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Do you know any word that contains one of these consonants?

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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

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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

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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

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ダニエル
January 21st, 2019 at 2:02 am
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I find one of the most difficult things to pronounce is words that have ん (n) sound followed by a vowel, i.e. せんえん (sen'en) or てんいん (ten'in). Getting that flow from the ん to the vowel to sound natural is a little...難しい. These lessons are helping with the subtleties of pronunciation though, ありがとうございました。

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JapanesePod101.com
June 7th, 2018 at 11:02 am
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Thank you for your comments, everyone!


>Hi Marcos,

I am not sure what the word "ぶめい" means (Is it written as 武名?), but please note that ん is also to be pronounced. ぶんめい is pronounced as ”bunmei” while ぶめい is pronounced as ”bumei”.

Hope this hleps you👍


>Hi Abby,

That's a difficult question to answer. When you pronounce らりるれろ and put your tongue on the upper jaw, you just put a tip of your tongue.

Hope this helps you!


Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com

Cheers,

Miki(美希)

Team JapanesePod101.com

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Abby
May 28th, 2018 at 2:56 am
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Every time I try to pronounce the sounds ら, れ, る, れ, or ろ they always sound like da, di, du, de, and do which keeps getting me confused with the だ, で, and ど sounds. Is there anyway you could help me with this problem? ありがとうございました.

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Marcos
May 23rd, 2018 at 12:46 am
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Hello,

A question: the pronunciation of the words "ぶんめい” and "ぶめい” are same, aren't?

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JapanesePod101.com
February 20th, 2018 at 12:54 pm
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Hello Ben,


Thank you for your question.

Direct communication with our teachers is possible through a Premium Plus subscription:

https://www.japanesepod101.com/myteacher


Please email us at contactus@JapanesePod101.com for more details.

Thank you,

Lena

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Ben
February 17th, 2018 at 11:08 am
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Hello,


I'm having a hard time pronouncing the "R" sounds. Can you help me understand better? It's not an L sound, but it's not a D sound either. In the video @3:06-3:07, ら sounds like "da" to me, but when she turns her head @3:12-3:, ら sounds like "la" to me. Was this a bad example, or am I still having trouble hearing the correct sound?


Is there a way I can record my attempt at saying ら, り, る, れ, ろ and have a native speaker tell me if I said it right? (I only have a Premium account).

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Japanesepod101.com
September 20th, 2017 at 7:50 pm
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Hi Joseph,


Thank you for your message!


Please check out our Elite program: https://www.japanesepod101.com/elite


You can learn the Japanese language and culture via Skype with our Japanese teachers. Talking to a native Japanese speaker is defintely the fastest way to improve your Japanese, so please check it out and let us know if you have any questions.


Hope this helps!


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team Japanesepod101.com