Roughly how many exceptions are there to Japanese word pronunciation

Doing WaniKani I noticed that some words have an exception to how you pronounce it eg 十日,and 太字 .I was curious on roughly how many of these reading exceptions exist if anybody knows!
Thank you

1 Like

Can you give some examples of what you mean?

Sorry I wasn’t clear in my post, I meant words that don’t follow the reading pattern like 十日


The days from 1-10 use the traditional Japanese way of counting, not the numbers borrowed from Chinese. I’m not sure I would call this an “exception” since whether things are read based on Japanese words or Chinese words is the main split between how all kanji will be read. Sometimes it’s based on Chinese words, sometimes Japanese.

Usually those are referred to as “kunyomi” (which come from Japanese) and “onyomi” (which come from Chinese).

Sometimes readings look like they don’t fit either of those, and those are kind of exceptional, like 大人 and 今日. But what happened there is they took a Japanese word and assigned it to a set of kanji, not just one of them.

I was also imagining something like こんにちは, where you have to recognize that this は is based on the particle は, so it sounds like わ.


Oh is that so. That makes sense, Thanks!

There are plenty. That’s what makes Japanese very complicated. Once, I’ve seen a high school Japanese teacher (of course, a native Japanese) memorizing a book full of exception pronunciations. She said that there’s even an exam about that. Most average Japanese people might not even know those pronunciations. As explained by @Leebo, having kunyomi and onyomi, plus most kanji having multiple kunyomi and multiple onyomi makes it pretty complicated. Here’s a nice summary:

1 Like