Pronunciation of 午後

Hello everyone! I am a little confused with the pronunciation of 午後. I’m not sure if it’s just me but the female speaker example sounds like it is ごこ and the male example sounds like ごも while the actual pronunciation listed is ごご. Are all 3 ways acceptable and it’s just regional differences or is something else going on here?

Thank you in advance!
Sorry if this is duplicate. I couldn’t find another post on this.

The male example actually sounds like go(ng)o which is a common way to pronounce the G sound in Japanese.


@Toscus There’s an NHK document written in Japanese about the rules for when to pronounce G as NG available for free online. I can’t remember all the rules (I think there were about 14 of them), but the essence is that it’s very common to pronounce the Japanese G as NG when it’s in the middle of a word and when it’s used for the particle and conjunction (when it’s used to join sentences, like when it means ‘but’) が. When it’s the first sound in a word though, it’s usually a hard G.

Extra pronunciation tip/thought that might help explain what you’re hearing: It’s GOgo (high pitch, then low pitch). Perhaps the pitch drop is affecting what you perceive the sound to be. (Again, ‘ngo’ is a perfectly valid pronunciation here, but I’m just bringing up other possible factors.)


Thank you, both! That’s good insight. I hadn’t considered that sound and am not super familiar. I’ll have to do more reading to get familiar and be able to recognize it easier.

I’ve set Kenichi’s audio as default and you get a pretty good idea of the rules just by going through the items as you level.

Although there are exceptions:
殴る - なぐる - to punch - hard ‘g’

語 in particular is interesting because it can show you where a certain Jukugo is considered one word (soft ‘ng’) or multiple words together (hard ‘g’).

外来語 - がいらいご - foreign loanword - soft ‘ng’
主語 - しゅご - subject - soft ‘ng’
日本語 - にほんご - Japanese language - hard ‘g’
言語 - げんご - lit. speaking language - hard ‘g’

Ultimately though, this way of speaking is really only common among older men and it’s less common overall, at least from the things that I’ve watched. So it may not be something you want to pay attention to.

I’m a 43-year-old dude so I figure I can get away with actually talking like that. :wink:

Or being spoken to like that :joy:

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You’re saying that, from what you’ve seen, using a soft ‘ng’ seems to be disappearing and younger people use more of a hard ‘g’? That’s really interesting.

I really appreciate the examples and additional insight into the rules.

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Yeah pretty much. If you watch any anime, look out for the “old man” character. He’ll almost always use this speech pattern. You can tell because he refers to himself as 吾輩 - わがはい - soft ‘ng’. :wink:

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Maybe we just watch different kinds of anime, but I think I see わし a lot more than わがはい. :laughing:

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I should have gone with that. lol

わがはい is probably the more pretentious お爺さん’s.

@Toscus heres a video of Master Roshi where he speaks like that:

Listen out for 走れるものが at about 10s in. Also やが at 14s.

And すごいの at 54s.

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It’s always interesting to me how many users seem to first encounter this here.

Here’s a stack exchange question that goes over the rules.

That was really helpful to see examples in an anime. I don’t know if I would have been able to pick those out on my own at my current level. Thank you!

@leebo Thanks for the link!

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