Japanese is often said to have not only very easy pronunciation, but the easiest pronunciation of all the world’s major languages.

In some ways, this sentiment is not without merit. Japanese has very few consonants and only 5 vowels. In addition, the language has very simple phonotactics, meaning these sounds can only be arranged in a very limited manner (more on this later).

However, there are many tricky aspects to Japanese pronunciation as well, and these can cause monolingual speakers of English a bit of a headache. Too many people dismiss Japanese pronunciation as simple right off the bat, and never bother to perfect their accents, crippling their speech for years to come.

Although I briefly went over pronunciation in the section on the writing system, this series will go much more in depth into the nuances of pronunciation. In the following posts, we will cover consonants and vowels, rhythm and timing, pitch accent and more. By mastering each of these basic components, you can avoid having the dreaded gaijin accent and sound like a native!

 

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