Pronunciation resources

What are the resources that you use to improve your Japanese pronunciation? (Preferably those which don’t involve talking directly with natives, I’ll save that for when I have some more knowledge on the language)

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Depends on how heavy you want to involve yourself in the language pronunciation.

Basic ideas:

  • Duolingo (for pronunciation; I don’t really care for it for anything else)
  • Podcasts, Anime, and other things you can listen to actively

There are a whole slew of pronunciation guides on YouTube.

There’s also an extremely in-depth guide by Dogen. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSX0NhNdBA-ZnEFkYFzdw4A) [Honestly, this one might be way more than you need.]


What I’ve liked to do in the past, and still do, is hear the native sound and then record myself trying to reproduce it as exactly as possible. You can do this with anything you can get audio for, even if you don’t fully understand the audio.

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If you search for Japanese shadowing on YouTube you’ll find some resources (some of which may or may not be copyright infringing, but I’ll leave your decision to utilize such things to your discretion).

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Yet another shameless plug for Learn Japanese Pod podcast, highly recommend. They also have a Discord!

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Seconding Shadowing! There may or may not be some of the audio on some video websites, but I don’t think they’re too expensive to buy online! I found mine in a Book Off here in Japan!

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I found Satori Reader very useful for shadowing (I’ve just been using the free content). You can play the audio sentence by sentence so I was able to really work on a sentence until I could speak it at the same speed as the audio, before moving on to the next one. It really made a difference to my pronunciation, even though I have a tutor who I speak with each week, because I started to physically understand how to make some of the sounds I’d struggling with. For the first weeks I started doing it, I found my jaw actually ached after each shadowing session!

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I vouch for shadowing as well! I own these 2 books and they’ve done wonders to my pronounciation.

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Thanks for everyone’s answers!! :smiley: I’ll have to delve into that stuff!

An app like Duolingo is probably the popular choice because it does have a point because it is a great tool for that kind of thing. However, there are some people who will like a more conversational part of the language which you can see in the media that you consume. Podcasts will be a great barometer for your understanding of the language because conversations are great to listen to when talking about the best aspect of the language. Writing is easier because that is just something that you can memorize and familiarize yourself with especially with the presence of signages in the country.

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  • Anime - I like watching anime anyway, so I pay attention to what and how actors say. Depending on the show it can vary from very realistic to exaggerated and overly enunciated.
  • Japanese Youtubers - can find more natural non-scrpited speech, especially in stuff like street interviews.
  • Podcasts - pretty much same as youtube but limited to audio.
  • italki - native tutors that can correct your pronunciation.

If it’s still on youtube then the copyright owners are taking the ad revenue or they don’t care much.

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I doubt there are enough views for it to be making them any money when compared to what the books cost. Personally I own them all. But the videos are convenient.

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Miku Sensei (Miku Real Japanese) has some amazing shadowing audios (for Patreon members) which combine listening, pronunciation, verb conjugation practice, vocab learning and grammar learning all in one. :smile:

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I noticed a few users suggesting Duolingo, and while I’ve used it and found it useful to practice speaking, I want to warn you that you should avoid it if you don’t already have a grasp of the basics yet.

The problem with Duolingo is it has a study method where you’ll see a sentence in your language and the words for the translation in Japanese. The objective is to piece together the words to make a sentence, and while that’s not a problem, the fact that some words or characters will change pronunciation depending on how it’s used. That’s because the app pronounces the characters individually and doesn’t adapt to the context.

For example, the particle “は” is pronounced as its base hiragana reading instead of “wa” when 私 precedes it. The same thing happens when kanji are combined so something like 三分 is read as さんふん instead of さんぷん. If you already know these words, then it’s not a big deal, but if you’re a beginner, it can be confusing.

I say any of the textbooks that come with a CD like Genki are good practice for listening and repeating.

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It’s a different thing but probably it will be useful for some people: https://forvo.com/
My teacher recommended it to me. Basically you can type any word and listen short audios how native speakers pronounce it (by the way it work not only for Japanese but for other languages as well)

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To the people suggesting Duolingo - doesn’t it used text-to-speech? I haven’t been keeping up with it since I never really had much interest in the app but if they’re still using text-to-speech for the audio I’d definitely suggest looking elsewhere for good audio content to imitate.

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