Difference between "きねん" and "きんえん"

So today I learned two words:
祈念(きねん) Prayer
禁煙(きんえん) No smoking
what’s the difference in the pronunciation, if there is any? The audio sounded equal to me…


One is 3 mora and the other is 4.

So, if you clap for each beat, it will take you an extra beat to say 禁煙.


In theory that should be the difference.
But I also can’t distinguish the sample audio samples of 祈念 and 禁煙.


Sometimes when I find WK’s voice samples are off I’ll check forvo which is usually better. Here’s forvo’s pages on 祈念 and 禁煙. You should be able to hear the difference much more clearly.


I also hear the same thing in WK audio.
Check out forvo:

I think the difference is clear between those.


Yeah, I think they just screwed up the audio links. Probably 祈念 is called kinen.wav or something and when they made the 禁煙 page they just linked to the wrong audio file (the same one as the 祈念 page). Both words are kinen in the romaji most people use online. This is why Wikipedia does the thing with apostrophes, so 禁煙 would be kin’en.

Or something like that.

I would recommend sending an email.


Ah that must be it.

At first I downloaded the .ogg audio files and compared them, which showed that they were nearly identical.

ffmpeg -i 4123-祈念.ogg -i 4125-禁煙.ogg -filter_complex 'amix=,pan=1c|c0=c0-c1,astats' -y mix.ogg
[Parsed_astats_2 @ 0x6c42d00] Channel: 1
[Parsed_astats_2 @ 0x6c42d00] DC offset: -0.000000
[Parsed_astats_2 @ 0x6c42d00] Min level: -0.002883
[Parsed_astats_2 @ 0x6c42d00] Max level: 0.002797

Then I downloaded the .mp3 audio files and didn’t even bother playing them back because the files were byte-for-byte identical.

cksum 4123-祈念.mp3 4125-禁煙.mp3
3798533888 23457 4123-祈念.mp3
3798533888 23457 4125-禁煙.mp3

Probably the transcode to ogg introduced some random noise.


Thanks everyone :smiley:

This is really good :slight_smile:
Thanks for the share

One other thing that’s kind of tricky is that きんえん is pronounced differently than きんねん (even though both are 4 mora).

Yea, きんねん sounds more like a long N with a tiny dip in the middle where the tip of the tongue is moving from the back of the lower teeth to the back of the upper teeth to pronounce the NE

It’s all about mouth / tongue placement and hearing the slight differences between them.

Also confirming that the 2 audio files for ki nen and kin en are exactly the same (the on for ki nen is used for both). How do we flag the dev team?

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Send them an email at hello@wanikani.com.

Sorry about bumping an old thread, but

I feel like people are also leaving out a very important part of the pronunciation of these words that add another layer of differentiation: pitch accent.

祈念 is 頭高, meaning that the pitch starts high on the first mora and then stays low for the rest of the word.
禁煙 on the other hand is 平板, which is literally the opposite; starting low on the first mora and staying high the rest of the way, including any particles that may be attached.

If you feel you’re ready to start getting into pronunciation, check out Dogen’s YouTube channel. If you like what he does there (which you should, he’s probably THE best resource on pronunciation), sign up for his patreon and you’ll get a wealth of pronunciation knowledge.

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Did anyone email them yet? I just got these two words and the sound files do sound exactly the same.

I didn’t want to bother them if someone has already done it, and it’s just taking a while to get it fixed.

I did not email them.

I emailed them.

I don’t think they understood the problem.

Ha, just clarify a bit for them.

In theory they should sound different, but it is to the best of my knowledge that it wouldn’t be TOO noticeable by a native speaker if you said them the same in their own respective context

(edited because forgot to add context detail)

I agree that the ones on WaniKani are the same exact audio (and sorry about that!).

We’re actually working on a big change on our audio, which will fix this problem.
So, the audio may not be changed right away, but it will be fixed soon.

Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you all for the patience!


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