来 Pronunciation question


#1

There’s several Level 5 vocab words that use the 来 kanji (年来, 外来, 来月, 本来, but NOT 古来) which give the reading as らい (‘rai’?) but are pronounced as ‘dai/だい’ in the recordings. Other dictionary resources seem to pronounce it as だい as well. Am I going crazy and just mishearing it? Or is there a reason its written らい and pronounced as だい?


Incorrect Vocab Reading Audio for 回す
#2

It’s pronounced らい.

You’re mishearing it.


#3

That’s how らい is pronounced.


#4

Yep. I’m seconding that.
Some of the recordings for pronunciation have a bit of a weird accent. You’ll come across them from time to time.
Go by the hiragana as much as you can!


#5

The ‘‘R’’ in ら、り、る、れ、and ろ is not pronounced the same way as the English ‘‘R.’’ It’s actually something in between the English ‘‘L’’ and the English ‘‘R.’’ It is also something called a ‘‘flap’’ in phonetics, and is performed by ‘‘flapping’’ the tongue against the roof of the mouth. For example, the ‘‘T’’ sound in the English word ‘‘butter’’ is a flap, and this sounds a lot a like an English ‘‘D.’’ The sound in ‘‘butter’’ is not the same as the Japanese ら、り、る、れ、ろ、but because it is also a flap, it sounds very similar to the ears of an English speaker.

TLDR you’re not mishearing it, it’s just that the pronunciation of らい is not ‘‘Rai.’’ Nor is it ‘‘dai,’’ but it is something that a lot of English speakers can mistake for a ‘‘d’’ sound. The recording has the correct pronunciation.


#6

I had a simmilar issue.
To me it sounds like 高 is being pronounced ほう instead of こう.
The words where this happens are 高等 and 高等学校.

Am I also mishearing that?


#7

Thank you, that’s a great explanation


#8

You may be mishearing that; there definitely should be a ‘‘K’’ sound at the beginning of the Onyomi reading of 高. However, in English we tend to use more air on consonants at the beginning of words. This is called aspiration in linguistics (I think? it’s been a while since I studied this). For example, the ‘‘K’’ in ‘‘Kangaroo’’ uses a lot more air and sounds louder than the ‘‘K’’ in ‘‘Attack.’’ Japanese does not do this, so consonants at the beginning of words like 高等 may seem less pronounced to English speakers (myself included).

I think people with Chinese as a first language may have a related issue; a lot of my Chinese classmates would pronounce か、き、く、け、こ more like が、ぎ、ぐ、げ、ご, but I can’t speak for them.


#9

What bugs me is when がぎぐげご series are pronounced with the ‘ng’ sound. I know this is dialectal, but it always completely distracts me. I’ve read elsewhere that Japanese don’t even notice the difference between go and ngo. I probably need to be exposed to it until I don’t notice it anymore…


#10

I used to hate this as well, but I’ve gotten used to it.
Sometimes, I think ぎ can even be pronounced like yi, but with a lot of pressure. (The tongue doesn’t touch the palate)
My description of it sucks, but maybe you know what I mean.

(Or I’m mishearing it, so don’t take my word for anything)


#11

These sounds being discussed are Japanese sounds and do not exist in English. Keep that in mind. When English speaking people make fun of (I am not encouraging such behavior!) of Asian speakers of English who have trouble with certain sounds, it’s because those sounds don’t even exist in their native language, so there is only an approximate reference for them to learn them by. We, as English-speaking learners of Japanese, now have the same problem!


#12

It’s in the genki recordings too. Their “ありがとう” recording especially has a VERY prominant nasal ng sound.


#13

Another sound worth mentioning is ‘h’. It can be a little different from​ expected. This is where listening comes in.


#14

Yes. Please refer to this link and the embedded video:


#15

OMG this was me with 必要
I learned this from anime way prior to learning it in Japanese studies. Or even on WaniKani… I think? I came across it in TK and was like… wait, what?
I had NEVER heard it as “hi” always as “shi”. I think I had it explained to me at the time. But I can’t really think of any other words where I hear “hi” as “shi” instead, so it bugs me, I guess?


#16

Indeed,

ひ, in hiragana, or ヒ in katakana, is one of the Japanese kana, which each represent one mora. Both can be written in two strokes, sometimes one for hiragana, and both are phonemically /hi/ although for phonological reasons, the actual pronunciation is [çi] ( listen), the sound would be nearer to be transcribed “hyi” in ro-maji. The pronunciation of the voiceless palatal fricative [ç] is similar to that of the English word hue [çuː] for some speakers.

I have noticed this for a while when I heard it in iKnow.jp. For me, that would be 発表.


#17

If you wanna say らい at the start of a word it is pronounced more like a ‘lie’ (clipped by flicking the tongue lightly on the roof of the mouth). In the middle or end of a word it is more like ‘die’ or clipped ‘rie’. To do the clipped rie make the r shaped but flick the tongue on the roof of the mouth so it sounds like a d. This rule applies to the r generally but sometimes it sounds a bit like an r. The Japanese think they say ‘l’ for what we write as r in romaji but it varies. Keep saying la li lu le lo until they sound like da di du de do, the say ra ri ru etc until they also sound like da di du etc. But use the l version at the start of the word. Near in mind Japanese people can pronounce an l easier than an r when speaking English.


#18

For example, the ‘‘T’’ sound in the English word ‘‘butter’’ is a flap, and this sounds a lot a like an English ‘‘D.’’

Only if you are American.


#19

I was so confused for a moment. I had no idea what they were talking about and started to worry I had been saying butter wrong all this time


#20

Apparently Americans probably didn’t take a class in different accents, and didn’t focus much on “learning English pronunciation”.
‘tt’ is probably unique to Americans.

I do agree that ‘r’ often sounds like a ‘d’ to me, though. However, you can improve hearing distinction and your pronunciation. It’s not impossible.