How to remember short and long vowels

Hi guys first post,
I’m about 3/4 of the way through level 4 and doing great so far.
One issue I keep running into is getting wrong answers for しょ、しょう、・きゅ、きゅう・etc sounds.
It’s frustrating to keep getting these words marked down, and I can’t seem to get the right spellings to stick in my head.
Any advice / tips for this one?


You should get better with this in time. For now, try focusing more on the mnemonics. If that doesn’t help, try creating your own. Consistently use a different mnemonic for each sound, and it should help.


It’s true, you’ll notice that for each they will always use the same mnemonic, so you’ll know it’s しょう when it uses Shogun and しょ when it uses Show for the mnemonics.

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  1. when in doubt, go with う
  2. say the word out loud and exaggerate the accent/stress on that syllable
  3. make a custom note and use CAPital letters to see where to stress (or not to)
  4. use to check before committing (it’s up to you to change or not)
  5. rum or gin to ease the pain

I give them separate mnemonic based stories that I use for all their readings. (which I type into the Reading Notes sections)

じょ = My cousin Joe
じょう = My Uncle Joe
きょ = Kyoto Cemetery
きょう = Kyoto Military Base

(I know the Kyoto ones may seem a bit absurd, but they really work for me because it’s a strong image.) I just usually associate something big or powerful with the long vowels and something small or weak with the short vowels. In the examples I gave, the mnemonics are related to each other, but they’re not always.

Slightly off-topic, it’s also how i differentiate between じん & にん for 人.

じん is Korean singer Jin from BTS:

While にん is German singer Nina Hagen:

Luckily, they’re both people! So I just imagine the appropriate person for the appropriate piece of vocabulary!
Sorry if this is too much information. I just get excited about mnemonics!


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