The 国-Kanji is killing me. I mean not the Kanji, but the Vocabs.
I assume there is absolutely no logic when it’s read ごく or こく, right?
I think this will be my best friend until Level 60. But I’m sure on the remaining 51 levels there will be a lot more of similar friends…
It’s almost always こく, because that is the actual reading of the kanji. Being an on’yomi, it is rare that it undergoes rendaku.
(This is unlike some rather mischievous kanji, like 大 and 神, where obe in’yomi (usually the go-on) is voiced and another (usually kan-on) is unvoiced.)
However, it may still occur after ん, presumably because because -んご- is easier to pronounce than -んこ-. This is probably what happens in 天国.
That being said, that doesn’t stop 韓国 from being read かんこく.
Rendaku helps solidify that this needs to be thought of as a compound word, where the parts don’t necessarily make sense on their own; unlike the 韓 in 韓国, which rarely means anything other than “Korea”, 中 has a multitude of meanings, and is used very frequently.
Think of it like the intonation difference between “red beard” and “Redbeard”.
If it were pronounced -こく, 中国 it could be confused with 忠告 (“advice, warning”).
Doing a search on Jisho for “*ごく *国 #common”, and sorting out ones listed as irregular alternative readings, it seems the main ones you’ll need to worry about are:
島国 (but this is usually pronounced しまぐに, anyway)
両国 (primarily when referring to the Ryōgoku area of Tokyo; otherwise, りょうこく will do the trick)
It’s probably best to think of the ごくs as an exception, and try to remember a reason why it’s an exception, until you’ve repeated it so many times that it just comes naturally to you.
Wow! Thanks a lot for all those quick answer!
I think I will let the SRS do it’s magic. Although I’m just level 9, it already helped with some items where I was close to throwing my computer out of the window… So I’m confident.
No I’ve heard it a bunch in テニスの王子様 and maybe also in ダイヤのエース (though I think they usually call it 甲子園 there). I just had a brain disconnect (and then accidentally pressed backspace and entered the right answer).
But you’re right, I’ve only ever watched those two, and I didn’t even finish the second…
My take on it - a lot of rendaku start making sense after a while. Not in a logical sense, but it starts sounding right when you say them out loud. I have the voice function turned on and I typically repeat it out loud.