Those words you always pronounce wrongly

It happens when you WK’d with sound on.

Not sure if knowing the pitch accent helps, or just listen traditionally?

Got ones to share?


I suspect…err… all of them!

But I have huge problems with the shi chi ji dji zi dzi… so 7 o clock… 七時 I just can’t. Nevermind pitch, it all sounds shshshs!


Haha, Japanese people have this issue too!

I was talking to my Japanese tutor and used 菜食主義者 さいしょくしゅぎしゃ. She said she wouldn’t try to prounce this and most people just say ベジタリアン, because it’s easier :laughing:


I have two problems: The onyomi of 水 as part of compounds (as something like すえい but crammed into 2 mora), and onyomi 有 as よう, because I learnt them years ago in mandarin and those readings stuck.

In my case, a better question is “what do you pronounce correctly” lol…


Not anymore, but it was a couple years before I realized that I was saying words starting with う as ゆ. This was because I’d known names like Uematsu, Ueno, Utada, etc in English for years before starting to learn Japanese, and that part just sat in a blind spot…

1 Like

The words that are hardest for me to pronounce, by far… are loanwords from English (and/or kana-ized names of places in the west).


Still not easy for me to read katakana quickly, even after 2+ years in the language, and then to associate the kana-ized version with something I’m familiar with and know what the meaning is, and then to break the habit of saying the western word and instead using the Japanese version.

Some new Japanese word I’m learning, be it 皇室 or 電子力発電所, I really don’t think is as difficult. It’s new, I have no preconceived notion of the pronunciation. But ノースカロライナ is awfully hard to force out when I’m used to saying “North Carolina” all the time.


It doesn’t happen anymore, but I got a bit into trouble when I was still a beginner because of どうしよう.

The first time I tried, in class, the teacher said something like “え、かわいい!” and laugh a little. I got super confused. Did I used it in the wrong context, or maybe was it a bit too colloquial ?

A few month later, I used it again, with a different person, and this person had the same reaction “かわいい!” and laughing. Got completely confused again because at that point I was pretty sure the context was right.

Finally much later I understood. The pitch was wrong. I was saying “どうしよう?” with a sharp rising intonation, like asking a question. Turn out you should always say どうしよう with a falling intonation, otherwise you sound like a little kid who is in trouble and doesn’t know what to do :laughing:


I think I got better at this because we had something of a running joke with my teacher that we’d just speculatively “japanify” a word any time we were talking and didn’t know something in Japanese, because there were reasonable odds it would turn out to be a real word :grin:

Reading and recognising katakana words is hard though. I found it helped a lot to try saying them out loud; something about vocalising them out loud makes it much easier to spot the Egnlish connection.

@Arzar33 - I mean, bad form for that teacher not to explain what they meant! :laughing: not very helpful to patronisingly call your student かわいい but then fail to elaborate…!


お菓子 vs. おかしい
帰る vs. カエル
Saying things like マクドナルド, ツイッター, etc.
Words with ん followed by らりるれろ



I used to have trouble with japanese r, as well ry, so a word like 料理 (りょうり) would kill me. There’s a company called Ryobi and I once heard an ad pronounce their name as rye-yo-bee rofl.
Now what I have trouble with is words that have nr, like 山林 (さんりん), I can’t quite complete the n well enough before moving onto the r at a decent pace, either slow down for perfect pronunciation or speed up for a half n. :upside_down_face:

1 Like

But the ‘n’ is pronounced in the same place as the ‘r’? You just put your tongue where you would pronounce the ‘r’, hold it there for the ‘n’ and the pronounce the ‘r’ by lifting it off…

1 Like