Pronunciation question し

Dear Wanikani community,

This is my first ever topic (please be gentle :wink:)

In the recent overhaul the “Sheen” pronunciation was changed to “Sheep”. However, I always thought that the " i " sound in し was pronounced as in the word “ship”, lets call that a normal mouth i, while the one in “Sheep” will be a smiling face i sound correct?

The smiling face " i " does not exist in my language that is the reason why I associated the i sound closer to “ship”. Since the mnemonics have been redone I rather imagine funny ships if the pronunciation is closer.

Hope someone out there can help!

し is indeed pronounced like in “sheep”, not “ship”. It is, as you put it, the smiling face “i”.


Really? I would have described し as being much more like “ship” than “sheep”. Gonna have to peg this one down to accents, probably.

Perhaps you pronounce ‘ship’ differently than I do, then? For me, there is no question that し is not like ‘ship’.

I’d pronounce the ‘i’ in ‘ship’ the same as in the word ‘his’, for example.


The pronunciation is at the beginning of this video


I pronounce し, sheep, she, sheets, sheen, and Charlie Sheen all the same way :thinking:


Spent a few seconds being weird and saying sheep and ship out loud, and to me it sound like the shi in ship sounds somewhat like しぇ.

The “i” vowel used in American English “ship” or “hit” (IPA ɪ) does not exist in Japanese.

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Whaat? They’ve removed Charlie Sheen as well?

I could always remember those mnemonics so well because he always wanted to win, he’d probably even win at WaniKani.


That’s nice. They’re trying to make sure the website is usable in the future as well, long after pop culture things from the early 2010’s are no longer known to the general userbase.

Definitive guide on how to pronounce “sheep”! :sheep:

(Also, a couple of personal mnemonics involve Shaun the Sheep, but that’s another story.)

Wow thanks this video is great! At 00:58 you can clearly see he goes for the smiley face i.

Now I have also discovered that じ is also closer to the smiley face i than to the pronunciation of “j” in french.

I’ll need to rewire my brain to go for sheeps instead of ships then!


Haha, same with me! But we can still use Sheen all we want. I use Charlie for し and Martin for しい. They can delete them from their reading mnemonics but they can’t delete them from my reading notes!

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