~えい Long Vowel Sound

Un día te la contaré…

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I have alway noticed a slight prounication difference between ええ、えい and おお、おう. Take こおり(氷) for example and こうえん (公園). It’s just that when the vowel sounds run together it can be hard to hear the difference but it is there.

Again, excluding regional dialects (which if we factor them in it’s hard to say anything about anything) there shouldn’t be any difference. If you hear a difference, which I’m not saying is impossible, it’s either that you’re hearing a regional dialect or you think you’re hearing it but perhaps haven’t done any blind testing to see if that’s actually the case.

And of course, the pronunciation of foreigners should count for basically nothing.

I disagree if the speech is slowed down you can hear a clear difference between the pronunciations. At normal speed the おお sounds similar to おう but there is a difference. This is also why the difference can be more noticeable in some Japanese songs because the pacing is different from normal speech.

Songs are not standard pronunciation… Rhythm, rhyming, emphasis… no one should be using them for learning how to speak.

This isn’t my opinion, btw. I’m not basing this on my own experience.

Yeah, you should never use songs as a standard for pronunciation…

Here is an interesting article on the topic:

Also I agree that songs should not be used for speaking practice but I do think that they are great for reinforcing new vocabulary words and listening practice not exclusively of course but to me the biggest issues with Japanese songs is more so grammar over pronouncation.

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Sure… just to be clear, what that article says is what I was saying. This discussion is just about these long vowels within a single morpheme.

Your example of こうえん falls under the “お and う sounds are in the same morpheme so it sounds like こお” rule

I see this but 思う is not pronounced おもお. I still believe that おう just sounds like おお because of the way that those sounds run together when spoken in standard Japanese at normal speed. Here’s an example with えい.

When she says it faster it sounds like えー but if you slow it down you will hear えい

Who are you suggesting said it was? That う is not part of a long vowel.

The slow pronunciation of 警察署 in that video is a good example of how Japanese people say these sounds… only when they are trying to emphasize how things are spelled for people.

The standard pronunciation is けーさつしょ

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Last one I promise

You mean you can’t hear the えい in the fast speech. Am I the only one?

If you believe you hear it, I won’t be able to convince you otherwise. You are the one that linked to the article that says there’s no pronunciation difference between けえ and けい in standard pronunciation (again, obviously only when in a single morpheme / long vowel, as would be in けいさつしょ).

EDIT: Also, you yourself just said it sounds like えー in the post where you linked it… I’m not sure what you claim to hear.

Sound like えー in the fast version but not if you slow it down. I can hear えい in the fast version. I’m sure it not just me that can here the difference.

I hear the け in the fast version as well. I went to jisho and searched 警察 just for fun just now.

I hear け in
警察
警察署
警察官
But けー in
警察庁

I always hear けー when I listen to native material however… I think…

thank you all a lot! I always thought that 思う was pronounced オモー :hushed:
As well, the article about morphemic boundaries makes sense speaking of the te-form of verbs such as 招く and 稼ぐ, already mentioned by heisamaniac.
I’ve also found a better alternative to jisho for pronunciations… Here’s 警察 in forvo, scroll a bit down and you’ll find five different pronunciations each from different persons! Unfortunately I haven’t found 警察署 or the others, but I bet the pronunciation is the same (also because the kanji are the same).
Furthermore I discovered 永遠 (etc.) can be pronounced both エーエン and エイエン. ┐( ̄ヘ ̄;)┌

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Glad my mention of 思う was helpful. :slight_smile:

Thank you for the forvo link! I hear the けい in all of the pronunciation for 警察. This may also be because of the way I was that I first learned to speak Japanese many years ago. It was through the original Pimsleur CD series which was audio based and they taught pronunciation by breaking down the syllable in each word slowly and then saying it a correct speed.

I know that this may sound weird but I think what may be most helpful is to watch some native speakers say these words because the mouth moves differently when saying えい and えー even though the sounds may come out similar/ not noticeable different to some.

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I’m wondering if the confusion might be coming from pitch accents.

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