Accent of the new audio guy

I’m not sure how I feel about the new guy doing the audio. Is this the way most Japanese people pronounce things? Before, there was a woman and a man, and they had distinct accents. The woman seemed to pronounce things more precisely, while the man tended to slur a little, create the “ng” sound for “g” (like ka-nga-ku [science] as a opposed to ka-ga-ku) where she did not. So because I had the comparison, I knew that his was an accent and not necessarily the way everyone pronounced those words.

This guy has a REALLY strong accent, and I have no one to compare it with now! He definitely does the “ng” thing, but also his “h” sounds almost gutteral like he’s clearing his throat (hhi-ka-ri), his “j” actually sounds softer, like a “zh” as in the word “treasure” or “massage” (fu-to-ji, i-jyo-u), he sometimes pronounces his tsu, dzu, or fu in an unexpected way, and he swallows vowel sounds all over the place.

My question is, should I be learning to speak that way? Is this the most common accent? I really liked having a couple speakers to hear the differences out there. He also says the words so forcefully it doesn’t sound natural, like the previous speakers did.

I’m just starting out, though I’ve been at it for over 6 months, because unlike some of you, I only have about 20 minutes a day to practice! But I do practice every day, and slow and steady wins the race! :wink: However, I’d really like to know how to pronounce things correctly. What accent does the average Japanese newscaster have? Usually that’s a good judge of what’s standard in a country.

Thanks for the help!


Yes!! I think this all the time! The new guys is fine and all but holy crap does he sound goofy. His pronunciations can be so jarring and I get a little confused too because, like you said, it’s very different from the original speakers and sounds so forced and unnatural. I actually have no idea why they needed to switch out perfectly good audio, but I’m sure they had their reasons. He just sounds so bizarre. I guess the upside of that is whenever I make fun of the way he says things I remember them easier :woman_shrugging:

I’ve been finding the NHK News Web Easy site to be tremendously helpful with hearing different pronunciations and the way things are said. It’s also good for learning how to read, and there’s even an option to turn the furigana off and on. I think those kinds of resources are helpful to practice hearing because they’re very simple, with the option to explore the more advanced sections.


I’ve mentioned this in a couple of threads before.
I really don’t like how he sounds, and I even said that he sounds like a military general giving orders, or an actor doing Kabuki or something. He sounds too stiff, too formal.

It was mentioned that they were doing a new female voice as well. Let’s hope she’s not just a female version of him with the same accent.


This is the only voice I’ve ever heard on WaniKani, probably because I only started listening to recordings a few levels in.

I noticed all these things, but on a positive note, I think his strong accent probably marks out the pitch accent well.

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He must have some kind of regional accent. I remember the Tofugu gang talking about the back of throat ‘ng’ for ‘g’ and lots of other things in the pronunciation episodes of the podcast, and I’ve noticed it with this guy.

With regards to how he speaks, I agree he’s definitely putting a spin on the words he says - BUT - I’m a very musical person and him putting rhythm, pitch, emphasis and flair on some of these words is actually helping me retain them better! :smiley: So… I’m happy for him to have some personality. And just making note of his pronunciation - not knowing whether it represents the “average” speaker, whatever that means.


Newscasters will speak in newscaster cadence, however, so take that into account when you decide who to mirror. If you learned to speak English in the US by mimicking how broadcasters speak on TV, you’d sound hilariously unnatural. :slight_smile:


I honestly think the more various and odd pronunciations you encounter the better your listening comprehension will get.


I don’t have a clue what you are all talking about. The voices sound the same to me than 2 months ago, where they using different voice actors before?

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Yes. The whole point of the audio revamp was re-recording everything with new people.


Thank you! I don’t know how to compare them to the previous actors, but the default male one sounds very clear to me.


Yeah I actually like it more, too. It’s funny that before the revamp people would often complain about the old audio. Just goes to show you can’t please everyone. :sweat_smile:


I quite like his voice, but if you don’t good news; the apiv2 recently had an update allowing script writers to access the old audio files as well. This might result in a script soon that allows for switching between the voices.

Everyone’s an accent expert now.


I think a great possible solution to this would be to have a profile setting where you can select your default voice actor, like a phone assistant voice. And then also having the option to hear alternate pronunciations on any individual item


I don’t use audio on WK, so I don’t really know what the previous voice sounded like, but the few words I tried sounded perfectly fine? I mean, he is definitely sounding the words as clearly as possible, which makes sense for a vocab resource. I have an electronic dictionary on my phone with some voice recordings, and it voices out words the same way.

Obviously, that’s stiffer than what you’d have in a normal conversation, but that’s the point, as far as I am concerned.


The new Flaming Durtles app for Android allows you to select your speaker preference between the male one and the female one. If you have an Android you might wanna try it.


Different people speaks differently. If you’re learning English by watching Trump’s speech you’d think all English speakers pronounce the name of the Vice President as “Mike Pounce”.


:rofl: :rofl: you mean that’s not how it’s pronounced?


to say this right from the beginning: the reason why i learn japanese is interests in linguistics and phonetics. i have put quite a lot of learning into how japanese pronuncation works (not that i can do it well) and it is not at all how people think it is just from getting taught kana.

like a couple things
fu - this is not a f sound, its more like a very breathy h sound
hi - especially hya hyo hyu are pronuncted with the same phoneme as the ch (as in Licht, Gedicht, Michael) in german
nn, g sounds are often done through nasalisation of vowels and not actually articulated

weak vowels (e.g. i, u) between hart consonants (e.g. t, k, p or end of word) are usually pronounced unvoiced, this can sound to an untrained ear as if they are dropped. thats why Masu, desu often sound like mas, des

the j sound it not the name as in english

so with other words the new speaker is a very accurate depiction of japanese pronunciation when a speaker does not try to be especially clear (like when spelling out loud). like more how u hear it in daily conversations.


Thanks for addressing my specific issues, sirati97, so my question is: is this the dominant accent? If I were learning English I would not want to sound like someone from Alabama since that’s a pretty regional accent. The midwestern accent seems to be more standard. So I want to learn how to say things the way most people in Japan say them, or the way it’s generally considered more proper, and not sound like someone who is definitely from one part of Japan. So that’s what I’m asking because he sounds very different from the other two.

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