Apparent mispronunciations in JLPT listening samples

I’m in the process of preparing for the N2 which is in general going alright except for listening. So far I encountered the following issues

  • the characters speak way too fast and it’s really difficult to pick out key information (presumably solvable via listening even more)

  • mispronunciations (?)

Since Japanese has a lot of very similar sounds, small changes in pronunciation can mean something entirely different. In the last couple of days I encountered JLPT listening samples (in the So-matome N2 Listening Comprehension book) where しょ and しゅ were strangely pronounced . For instance, 書類 ended up being しゅるい.

In another sample (CD 1, recording 60, link to download: Upload files for free - Track 60.wav - 機種 sounded like きし (so not 機種の部品, but 騎士の部品). I tried slowing down the recording and listening very closely, but the words at least to me were unmistakably mispronounced.

Did anyone notice something similar?

There will indeed be cases when people speak during live recordings/interviews etc when they just use the wrong grammar or wrong words - BUT - as for the JLPT listening samples you can rest asure they’re textbook.

the JLPT is very deeply regulated and have managed to retain its position as a major test and proof of competency for a long time now. it’s highly unlikely to make weird faults, whether that’s in the past or right now that you’re talking about.


Not sure I understand correctly. The samples I mentioned are for the JLPT. They’re not random recordings. “Wrong” grammar I’m not worried about as that’s common in casual speech and I’ve heard that in some of the samples before :slight_smile: .

Big thanks for the input! I think I should’ve been more specific. The samples I’m talking about appear in the So-matome N2 Listening Comprehension book from 2011.09. I don’t know how old the actual recording samples are.

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I think you might get better enlightened answers if you put this in the question and thread title, likely. Since I’ve never heard of this one, to be fair.

Thinking it was JLPT material got me confused for sure.


I think many of those pronunciation inconsistencies (or maybe an ending う sound not coming through clearly in the recording) are still quite clear in context. If someone were to say 会議のしゅるいをコピーしてくれる?, I think it’s quite possible to deduce they might be actually talking about しょるい. Context is the only way to differentiate between homonyms as well, after all. Same with 騎士の部品; this probably won’t make any sense in the context of any conversation coming up in the JLPT.

Since I don’t own Sou Matome, I can’t tell you anything about how „in-range“ and „acceptable“ the pronunciation might be and how likely it is to come up pronounced like that in the JLPT.

Did you have a look at the listening mock test on the official website, and maybe at some YouTube videos as well and found the same inconsistencies? I don’t know how official the YouTube videos are, though :woman_shrugging:t3:


Only at the N5 samples more than a year ago, but that’s a good point. For comparison I also still have half of the SKM N2 聴解 book to go through.

I agree on the role of context, though. It’s just that when the speaker speaks very quickly (way faster than YouTubers or normal conversations in Japanese) and it’s challenging to catch all of the important info, some of those しゅるい just throw me off, because instead of thinking 書類, I start thinking “what is しゅるい? you mean 種類? that makes no sense…Or is that a word I don’t know yet…?”

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Any chance you can get us a tiny excerpt from the recording so we can hear what you’re talking about? I think it’s legal to copy a small clip in most countries!

I would love to, but I’m not sure how to go about it :frowning:

I found this website which seems fairly legal:

EDIT: Link in first post!

The N2 聴解 audio files can be downloaded. It’s recording 60 from CD 1. I will add it to the first post.

That’s a lot of data… can you just upload that one entry here or elsewhere? I don’t want to download nearly 200MB just to listen to one recording. :sweat_smile:

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That’s fair. It also seems fairly small, unless the compression is high. All of the .wav tracks together are like 1-2 GB.

I added the link to the first post.

I had a short listen to it. Do you have the transcripton of the text as well? It sounds to me like 修理 honestly I don’t see how 書類 would fit too but maybe I’m just too tired and mishearing the whole recording.


In this one it was the 機種の部品. Damn, need to change the first point again :joy: .

So it is a bit hard to hear the first きしゅ (for me), though I think it’s perfectly clear when part of 機種変更 later. To be fair though, when you devoice し and しゅ they’re not that far from one another. And @downtimes makes a good point. No matter how many times I listen, it doesn’t sound like it could be しょるい, and 修理 does probably make more sense.


Can we also talk about how she leaves a voice message on a keitai denwa about a keitai denwa we have left with them? Do we posses two? Is the message on a keitai denwa of a firend… MAN I HAVE QUESTIONS!


These are the answer options, so it’s indeed 修理:


Hahaha recently I had a listening question where a student needs a certain book so she goes to the professor and asks him. She tried get it from the library, but the library copy is rented out. So the professor says that he has a copy but he gave the copy to another student. He said he’ll notify that student so that he passes the book on to her when he is done reading it.

Now the question was: Whom does she borrow the book from? (借りる was the verb in the question)

  • From the library
  • From the professor
  • From the other student
  • She doesn’t need the book after all

0 voters


Wait, does the right hand side indicate that they’d tell you the meaning of 機種 in writing during the listening section? Or just in the sample book? Because I didn’t know what 機種 was, which would certainly hurt my chances of getting the answer right.

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I haven’t seen explanations of words in the listening section of the real JLPT, but there are definitely explanations of words in the reading section (because those are real, published texts in the N2 and N1 tests, and so they probably cannot always find texts that only contain words they expect to be known).
But in this case here, yes, I would expect this to be meant as an explanation of the word.


Neither did I before listening to the recording :joy:

As Nicole said, I don’t think one gets word or phrase explanations in the real 聴解. The SKM books for instance have none such cute things!

At this point we’re probably beginning to wonder how not to fail the listening comprehension section :joy:

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Later on she says お貸し出ししました携帯電話をご持参の上、当店までおいでください, so it looks like the customer was given a replacement :laughing: