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Japanese Pronunciation Guide

Vowels

The pronunciation of short vowels is similar to that of Italian:

  • a as in f(a)ther
  • e as in g(e)t
  • i as in macaron(i)
  • o as in p(o)lo
  • u as in p(u)t or b(ook)

Long vowels should be pronounced twice as long as short vowels:

  • ā as in dr(a)ma or (ah)
  • ē as in M(ay)
  • ii as in kn(ee)
  • ō as in (ow)n
  • ū as in c(oo)l

Consonants

ts(u) This is pronounced as in the phrase, "It's oolong tea" ["I(t's oo)long tea"]

A double consonant (e.g. _hokke_ , or mackerel, or _matcha_, or powdered green tea) is indicated by a syllable-length pause in speech before pronouncing the following consonant (as in the English phrase "It's hot today," in which the final T in "hot" is partially replaced by a short pause).

A consonant followed by a "y" and then by a vowel (as in _gyūniku_, or beef) is pronounced as one syllable. (In this case the _yū_ is pronounced as in the English word "(u)se.")

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