Yesterday I saw the lastest video form YouTube Chris “Abroad In Japan”. Here he tries to teach one of his friend 20 japanese words. One of the words is “Right” 右 (みぎ) . I was suddenly slapped with a big WTH?!?. He pronounced it Mi-Gi. Just as the syllables goes. But on WaniKani I have been tought to say with a ‘ng’ --> effectively ‘mingi’. Is it just a bug on wanikani or what is going on?
Welcome to the site. This is a common thing to notice.
There are multiple g sounds in Japanese. The one in みぎ is a nasal g. Though certain regions may be different from standard Japanese.
If you mean that that youtuber pronounced it differently, I guess it’s worth noting that he’s not a native. I’ve heard him make other pronunciation mistakes. Not trying to criticize him, it’s normal to make these kinds of small errors if you speak enough.
you can check Forvo too whenever this doubts arise.
Here you’ll hear it pronounced by natives with both the nasal ぎ and no nasal sound too. So it seems all good either way.
This can be a regional thing, age related thing, etc. So I don’t think any specific “rule” should be too much of a concern.
As noted, it can be different based on region, and for instance, I think Kansai is less likely to use the nasal g or the rules are different.
I mean… that’s no guarantee someone will lose their accent. I just went and watched the part where he teaches みぎ. He makes a mistake on the pronunciation of the “i” sound in み, and his pitch appears to be atamadaka, even though みぎ is a heiban word (don’t worry if you don’t know about pitch accent yet). So… yeah, it’s not a native pronunciation of the word. But the purpose of the video appears to just expose some people to Japanese, so it’s not a huge deal.
As always it depends on how much effort someone wants to put into it. If you want to be perceived as speaking standard Japanese, it’s something to think about, because there are rules for it in standard Japanese. But very few people aspire to such things and are okay with just being understood for the most part.
I’ve personally given up thinking too hard about pitch accent, for instance, at least for the time being, because I am constantly exposed to Kansai pitch, but I don’t really have much interest in trying to go in that direction overall, since it has fewer resources than standard pitch. I just focus on general sentence-level pitch patterns.
Every language has regional accents. Everyone also pronounces the same words differently time to time (in your own native language) . Anyway, the nasal G is completely normal for some people. Tomato/tomato.
Tbh I’m at no point where this is yet a concern while speaking, though I wonder how much this “rules” are actually part of the way people speak today; specially the nasal sound whenever I’ve notice it usually has came related to the age of the person (older people stressing it in comparition to younger people).
If I hear the example on the NHK accent dictionary the nasal sound is clearly there. On the other hand most of the examples on Forvo are from around Tokio and without the nasal sound.
I guess the accent dictionary sounds like the rules would dictate.
I have not written that I think Chris speaks native Japanese. My difficulty is rather about that you can pronounce 右 in different ways - Which I just learned from the other replies. It is frustrating because is make Japanese even more complex in the way one can learn to speak it. Similar to my beginning on this journey. I thought there was only one way to say things. Then I learned about kun’yomi and on’yomi.
And now dialects too!
With or without nasal g. I dare say that much of a dialect difference you would not be able to find in my native Danish.
That’s true for every single language on the planet though, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. As a non native-speaker, you’ll always start out with your own version consisting of a variety of accents, and then slowly merge it with whatever area you interact most with.
Case in point - when I first started studying Chinese, I pronounced “shi” the way the textbook wanted me to, i.e. the standard Beijing dialect (sh = as in “short”), but living in Wuhan for a year led to me adapting the more common vernacular pronunciation (at least further away from the coast/towards the south), which uses a sharp ‘s’ (so “shi” is pronounced closer to “si”, and “zhe” is more “dze”). Apparently this makes my speech more relatable to most people I speak with, but it also comes across as more of a working-class native speaker than an educated foreigner.
In any case though, it reflects my personal language learning journey - and that at least goes for any acquired accents. There’s no real “right way” to adopt accents.
Two points that may make you feel better about this:
There is a standard Japanese and that would be the Tokyo “dialect”.
There is only one way to say things. Kunyomi and Onyomi are readings of Kanji, when spoken these dont matter.
If your intention is to be understood easily, the main thing you should focus on is making sure each of the mora (syllable) is of equal length. This will make your long vowels, short vowels, and small tsu clear.
Also worth noting that for example 右側 ( みぎがわ ), lvl 17 ) sounds more like migi instead of using a nasal g. This is a word, you might hear often, so using the migi without an nasal g seems understandable.