本来 pronounciation?

Hi,
I’m a bit confused with this word (https://www.wanikani.com/vocabulary/本来). It’s reading is “ほんらい”, which would be “ho-nn-ra-i”. However in the examples (and even on forvo I hear it rather as "ho-nn-ga-i (or “ho-nn-na-i” but that one kinda make sense with “ん” in the middle).

Why it sounds like “ら” sounds like ga here?

I hear it on WK as “honlai”, and on forvo I either hear “honlai” or “hondai”.

I’ve always heard ら as a mix between D/L.

(I’m not sure I can hear the same “ga” as you)

If you make the sound ほん you’ll find that your tongue ends up resting on your hard palate.

Making a ら sound after this can naturally lead to that GA sound. It’s not actually a pronunciation of GA, more like the R of RA is being skipped from the prounciation and the act of going straight to the A sound leads to a kind of G noise.

Try saying it a few times smoothly HON-RAI listen for where that GA sound could come from.

From forvo that you linked, from the examples, you can hear how different sounds come from different ways people move on from that tongue position, you’ll hear HON-GAI / HON-NAI / HON-RAI, and HON-DAI

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Sounds like ほんらい to me.

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It’s gonna sound/feel like an L or D. You want to hit the ん in the same position you begin the らい. The typical flipped R sound happens because of the tap you make with your tongue on your ridge. But after ん, your tongue is already there, so you just remove your tongue to “complete” the R. You don’t sound the approach, just the removal. This movement is quite similar to the movement in the English words Online and, Undone.

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That’s part of the reason that I hate that foreign languages teach writing so early. You are connecting ら to ra, and what that means it your native language. When is it is actually a different concept.

When you translate, The ra you have in your head is going to work sometimes, because sometimes it sounds like ra. But because that isn’t quite right it sometimes sounds sounds exactly like it does in 本来. Which is sounds like ”ga" to you.

I’d keep listening to more and more Japanese, and your brain will be better and separating the sounds from your native language.

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I hear the GA too but I think we are just mishearing the audio. I have had this happen to me a few times with Pimsleur but my hearing is bad in general so…

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After acquiring a writing system in your natuve language, it’s more or less impossible not to think in terms of it.

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The recordings also mostly sound like /honɾai/ to me, but this note on the Japanese phonology Wikipedia page hints at why there may be some (perceived) differences:

Realization of the liquid phoneme /r/ varies greatly depending on environment and dialect. The prototypical and most common pronunciation is an apical tap, either alveolar [ɾ] or postalveolar [ɾ̠]. Utterance-initially and after /N/, the tap is typically articulated in such a way that the tip of the tongue is at first momentarily in light contact with the alveolar ridge before being released rapidly by airflow. This sound is described variably as a tap, a “variant of [ɾ]”, “a kind of weak plosive”, and “an affricate with short friction, [d̠ɹ̝̆]”.

I unfortunately don’t have access to either source used for this to read more about it, but if anyone is interested and does have access, they are:

Akamatsu, T. (1997). Japanese Phonetics: Theory and Practice. Munich: Lincom Europa.
Vance, T. J. (2008). The Sounds of Japanese. Cambridge: University Press.

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Thank you all - it was very informative (and now it sounds more like “hondai” / “honlai”. Yes, probably my native tongue/alphabet plays significant role here (and one learns mostly by finding parallels, even WK is based on that concept with the mnemonics).

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As @Joeni said, it’s not the R you’re hearing here which confused you, it’s the N which can sound like an N, an M, or an NG depending on what sound comes next.

That’s why sometimes you’ll see words with ん romanised as n or m (kanto vs sempai) because of how that tricky little N is heard.

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