Pronunciation of と (eg in とまる) [newbie]

Newbie here, but when WK pronounces とまる, I distinctly hear HO-ma-ru. Every resource I can find leads me to believe I should say TO-ma-ru, which is what I would expect.

Should I have my ears checked out, or is the “T” in Japanese と really soft?


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Are you referring to the vocab 止まる?

I just re-listened to the audio and it sounds like “tomaru” to me, so perhaps you’re having some other issue?

Regardless, と is definitely “to”. In my (admittedly limited) experience, I’ve never heard it pronounced as “ho”.

Yeah, the audio on the 止まる page sounds fine to me. Possible your browser isn’t playing back the file correctly?

I actually can hear what you’re talking about. I played it a few times in a row and I started to hear “homaru” also. I think it may just be either an “audio illusion” or maybe the audio is clipped too close to the start of the speaking and cuts off a piece of the t-sound.

Just wanted to let you know that you’re not losing your hearing or going crazy, unless we both are!

And I’d like to invite everyone else to open their minds when they listen to the audio and maybe you’ll hear the h sound also.

EDIT: Also could it be the speakers? I’m listening on shitty laptop speakers.

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I hear tomaru.

Edit: If I’m doing something that makes other noise (e.g. I’m wearing a hoodie right now, so if I move my head around, the sound of the hood moving right next to my ears is apparent), I’ll hear “homaru” because I suppose the other noise makes it difficult to pick up on the “t” sound. I guess just make sure your surroundings are quiet?

Didn’t someone from the staff say recently that they were going to replace all the audio? Hopefully that will help with issues like this.

@RaymondMichiels, there are imperfections in the WK audio (whether or not this is actually one, I’m not sure), and so you should make sure that whatever other methods you use for studying Japanese outside of WK also include some sort of listening practice.


I would love for them to make recordings of each gender saying all the vocab. It would be great to be able to select which gender I want to hear in settings.


I also can hear “homaru” in this recording, but it’s definitely supposed to sound like “tomaru.” I think it’s just because this person spoke really fast and didn’t enunciate the “t” sound very well.

Edit: Actually, like @davikani said, I think the audio may be clipped too close to the start of the word, which causes the “t” to sound like an “h.”

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You’re asking for what they’ve done, so that’s good. They indicated that the new recordings (which are finished) have both male and female versions. They just need to get them integrated into the site now.


Agreed! Men and women absolutely have differences in pitch and speed in almost every language. I’d be in favour of this too.

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You’re right, without earphones it sounds like Homaru, but rest assured, the true pronunciation is indeed Tomaru

I’ve noticed kind of the same thing in the audio for the word みぎ (右). It is supposed to be “migi”, but i hear “mini” very clearly.

@crantauu: Regarding migi/mini: I think this is the Tokyo dialect where g’s are often pronounced as ng’s when it’s not at the start of a word. E.g. Aringato instead of arigato.


Sounds like the first part of the audio might not be playing for you, so you don’t hear the hard T part of the audio. Try playing the audio or downloading it directly:止まる.mp3 to see if that’s really it or if it’s just you.

Yeah that is very annoying since you know how its supposed to sound and affects other words with gi in them too.

Sounds like Tomaru to me for the original question.

I hear とまる, but after listening to it over and over again, started to hear ほまる as well. I’d just say it’s soft and an issue of not being super familiar with Japanese.

Listening to it a while ago, I thought, “These people are insane. The “T” sound is perfectly clear.” But just now, I played the clip while I had something playing on my TV nearby, and I heard “homaru.” Turned the TV off, and all I can hear is “tomaru” once again. So it seems like there’s definitely something to the noise pollution/sound quality theory.


I suspect this issue is caused by a slight audio lag in the OP’s sound setup. If you miss the first few milliseconds of the audio file, the “t” sound loses definition and it sounds more like “ho”.

It sounds like と to me as well, but I think I see what people are hearing. The guy is speaking fairly soft, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t と, similar to ら row, sound different when speech is being started with it? For example, if you start with something like 六, it often has a much more L sound than the usual palate flick sound we’re used to.

This is just the nasal g of Japanese. It’s not the same as the “hard g,” which also exists. Most people aren’t taught that there are two g sounds.