39 CommentsThis discussion is locked.
I've always been bothered with the comment box being full on the French course, so seeing them open is weird. Anyway, asides from the fact I want the first comment, I wonder if these symbols always hold these sounds. Are they universal or are there situations where they don't?
Hiragana and katakana generally are fixed sounds. There are some exception, for example は is pronounced as "wa" when it is the topic particle, otherwise it's pronounced as "ha". Furthermore an い and う sound are often dropped when it is between two voiceless consonants (or at the end with a voiceless consonant before it), such as です, where it is pronounced "des" instead of "desu". Also the sound ん is pronounced differently depending on what it follows, and I think there are certain dialects where the " g" in が、ぎ etc. is pronounced differently depending on its position. (I wouldn't worry about this too much, just the は as wa vs ha is important )
Katakana is more phonetic and it is generally exactly pronounced as it is written.
Kanji, the chinese characters, are not phonetical and they generally have multiple readings (ways to pronounce them) and it depends on the content which reading to use.
I wish someone explained this to me when I was a fresh beginner so I wouldn't have to spend about a month figuring stuff out
Also, it seems that sometimes the "G" sound is softened to sound more like the ん sound when it precedes a G sound, similar to how an R can sound like an L when starting a sentence or talking in a slower/softer tone.
Yeah, the "G" sound is often reduced to a "ng" sound. The initial "G" sounds often are just pronounced as the "g", whereas the "g" in the middle of words depends on the dialect. This wikipedia page(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_phonology) has some information about it at the "weakening" section.
The Japanese 'r' is actually pronounced somewhere between English 'r' and 'l' but slightly closer to 'l', so if you can't quite get the right sound to come out then always pronouncing it like 'l' is better, because an English 'r' can sound similar to a 'w' to a Japanese listener. That's if I remember my Japanese lessons correctly.
寿: reads: じゅ, す (on'yomi), ことぶき, ことほぐ, とし, ひさしい (kun'yomi)
means: age, long life, felicitation
司: reads: し, す (on'yomi), つかさ, つかさどる (kun'yomi)
means: control, manage, in charge
In this case 寿司, what the kanji mean individually does not correspond to the meaning of the whole word. This is because the kanji are only used to represent the sound of the original word, not the meaning.
(Reference: https://www.nhk.or.jp/bunken/summary/research/report/2014_09/20140905.pdf page 86)
The vowel of き、く、し、す、しゅ、ち、つ、ひ、ふ、ぴ、ぷ are not pronounced if it is followed by k/s/t/p sound. e.g.
- きく（菊） -> k ku
- たしかめる（確かめる） -> tash kameru
- がくしゃ（学者） -> gak sha
However, The vowel of し、す、しゅ are still pronounced if it is followed by s sound. e.g.
- しそん（子孫） -> shison
- すさる（退る） -> susaru
- すし（鮨） -> sushi
- しゅしょく（主食） -> shushoku
- ししゅう（詩集） -> shishuu
- ししん（私信） -> shishin
- すすき（薄） -> sus ki
- しさい（司祭） -> shisai
I'm going to go ahead and lock this page as this word has been discussed pretty extensively here already and the exact same questions are being asked and answered every day. If anyone happens to have a question that isn't already answered here in relation to the vocabulary or grammar presented it can be asked on the main Japanese from English forum.
"Rice" would be
ご飯・ごはん gohan - rice (cooked rice or meal)
米・こめ kome - rice (crop)
Sushi is specifically a food item made from prepared vinegared rice (usually with salt and sugar as well) and accompanying ingredients (commonly raw fish)
If you scroll down there are many image examples on this page