Mix up of ちゅう and なか for 中

The reading lessons for the Kanji 中 is confusing. Users often are asked to associate ちゅう with 中 (Middle, Center). If however one hits the 中 Kanji the audio なか gets played. Both are valid readings for the Kanji but I guess it's confusing for beginners.

May 20, 2018


there is a problem with lesson five, because ちゅう (Chiyu) sounds Naka. 中 is Naka and Chiyu but Chiyu is not Naka

May 21, 2018

Just a note, it's not chiyu, but chyuu.

September 8, 2018

Just a further not, it's not chyuu, but chuu.

September 8, 2018

Interestingly, whether it's chyuu or chuu depends on which style of romanisation you use. You're using Hepburn, which suggests romanising ち-yoons without a 'y'. Most of the other styles do use 'y'.

I'm more inclined to use 'y' since even Hepburn only drops the 'y' for ち-yoons and し-yoons (and their voiced counterparts ぢ and じ), and uses 'y' for all other yoons. So it makes more sense to use 'y' to indicate palatalisation of 'chi' and 'shi' rather than outright 'chu', 'cha', and 'cho', or 'shu', 'sha', and 'sho' - none of which exist in either Japanese phonology or orthography.

EDIT: Yes, I know my name isn't written with 'y'. I decided on it before I studied Japanese phonology and orthography and I keep it as is for consistency's sake.

September 9, 2018

i still can't believe that ちゆう is actually correct. shouldn't ちゆう sound like chiyuu or chi yu etc.?

if they want us to chose ちゆう they shouldn't play naka (なか) in the audio.

May 21, 2018

You are correct. The wrong audio is being played for that question. It is a programming error.

But the kanji itself 中 can be read (pronounced) either way, depending on how it is used. The reading of kanji characters is different in different words. Almost all kanji have at least two possible readings, one based on the original Chinese and another from spoken Japanese. Some have many more or several variations on their main reading.

In this case, 中 can be read as either ちゅう or なか, depending on where it appears. When it is by itself, it is usually read as なか, which is probably why the voice-to-text keeps screwing up the audio cue.

May 21, 2018

i have reported several times already but they didn't do anything about it...

i know (or rather i have heard) that many (if not all) kanjis have more than one reading. it was only because of the audio that i was confused. i am glad to know that it wasn't just me thinking that there is something wrong.

May 21, 2018

it's not ちゆう (that actually would be chi-yuu) it is ちゅう (notice the small ゆ. It's called Yōon

May 21, 2018

ok and how can i make the ゆ small when writting? and more importantly in wich way does it change the pronunciation of the word?

May 21, 2018

Instead of typing "chiyuu" input "chuu"

There's also this other option that lets you type small kana, you first type x or l and then type the kana, and you can get small ぁぃぅぇぉゎゅゃょっ

May 21, 2018

great. thanks :-)

May 21, 2018

As for how it changes the pronunciation of the word, yoon is a palatalisation of the consonant (sliding of the tongue along the hard palate), not a separate moraic kana. ちゆう is three mora - one for each kana - while ちゅう is just two mora - one for palatalised chi (ちゅ) and one for う). Note that a palatalised chi will palatalise into the vowel of the yoon kana.

Think of a mora as a single unit of time by which the length of a sound is measured. Each normal kana is a single mora long, which is why geminate (long) consonants and long vowels have a neutral kana (う for vowels and small つ for consonants) after/before them respectively to show they last an extra mora. Eg. なっとう (here と has both a geminate consonant ('t') and a long vowel ('o'), hence both っ and う before and after, respectively.)

September 8, 2018

It's not chiyu, that would be ちゆ, chi and yu. It's ちゅう(note the difference between ゆ and ゅ), meaning the chi is palatalised (sliding of the tongue across the hard palate) into u. So instead of chi and yu, it's palatalised-chi and u.

September 8, 2018

Oh thank the gods, it's not just me then thinking I missed something along the way--but an issue with the audio. :'D

May 23, 2018

I think it is good for beginners.

It teaches them to expect the unexpected from kanji. Today they might be pronounced ちゅう ... tomorrow it could be なか. The day after that ... who knows? Maybe あた. It could happen. You don't know. Anything is possible with kanji.

Best that they learn this early, so they have time to adjust their expectations accordingly. These aren't wimpy little ひらがな or カタカナ with their familiar usage and single readings. We're into 漢字 now ... gotta step up your game and put on your 大きい子 pants. ❤❤❤❤ just got real, yo. Japanese isn't just tough because of the grammar. If you want to learn this language, better prepare to be thrown a few curve balls.


But speaking seriously, I really wish they would fix that bug. It's super annoying. :(

May 20, 2018

Thank you for all those who took the trouble to explain that there can be more than one way to read a kanji, but why is it relevant here? I want 中 to be read as なか as that is what the audio keeps saying!!! It is only used in the exercises as part of TaNAKA so it is irrelevant (and confusing) that in another context it apparently can represent other sounds. If context is so important - then surely the CONTEXT HERE is what should apply? Why can't the duolingo team change it? Don't they check our discussions? (I guess the answer to that is no)

October 6, 2018
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