Pronunciation in Wanikani

Some of the example readings - pretty much always done by the man rather than the woman - sound very different from what I would expect from the hirigana. These are always the voiced/nasalised sounds. Some examples from today’s lesson: 下着 the hirigana is したぎ and so I was expecting to hear shtagi but to my ears his pronuciation is closer to shtani.
Same with 湯気. Written ゆげ and so I was expecting yuge but heard yue (well not really as it was heavily nasalised and not sure how to represent that in English).

There are other examples. I can’t think of one for the woman.

My question: is his pronunciation the standard pronunciation or rather a variant/dialect? If his is standard I am concerned that Genki did not mention that at all because then I have been pronouncing all such combinations incorrectly.


The nasalized ガ行 sounds are part of the pronunciation of standard Japanese and of Tokyo in a regional sense. The difference between the non-nasalized ガ行 sounds and the nasalized ones is rarely taught to beginners, but both exist in standard Japanese, and correct pronunciation does distinguish them.

For instance, in the sentence

the が of がっこう is non-nasal, and the が particle is nasalized.

So, yes, not all ガ行 sounds are created equal.

Here’s a Stack Exchange question about it

BTW, I personally think it’s an exaggeration to say that they don’t sound like g’s, but maybe I’m just used to it.


To me, the nasalization sounds like a “ng” sound instead of a “g” sound.
“shitang-i” or something

But yeah, patterns like that are something I’ve just picked up/gotten used to after listening to a lot of Japanese


Don’t know about these particular words, but my Japanese friend sometimes hear the recordings when I do WaniKani next to her and says that the man has more natural pronunciation. This is probably for level 9/10.

I’ve noticed this before but never realised it was actually a thing. I’ve tried looking on youtube for audible examples or a lesson on it but I’ve had no such luck. Does anyone here know where I might find sound examples?

I listen to a lot of Japanese people speaking, but rarely hear anyone use the nasalised G sound. So when I do (usually in audio recordings), it often catches me off guard and I hear it more as an N sound. Not to say that it isn’t common among certain groups, just not in my circle. Ultimately it’s a matter of getting used to it.

Many Japanese people (even the ones who don’t use it) don’t recognize it as a variation. It just sounds like a regular G sound to them.


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