The 32 Elemental Sounds of Japanese

  • AMA

Everything we say in Japanese is made from a combination of the sounds below. It is very often the case that you will confuse one sound with another, and this will hinder your ability to speak and understand Japanese. 

​For each possible sound, we review how it is made in the speech organ and how it sounds.  To help you tune your ear to a specific sound, I have provided word lists for you to download and listen to closely.  

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Easy Vowels/ä//e̞//i//o̞/
Tricky Vowels/ɯ//ʉ/
Bilabial Consonants/m//p//b/
Alveolar Consonants/t//d//n//s//z/
Palatal & Velar Consonants/j//k//g//w/
Nasal & Glottal Consonants/ŋ//N//h/
Tricky Palatal Consonants/ɕ//#//%//ç/
Tricky Alveolar Consonants/t͡s//d͡z//&/
Tricky “Soft” Consonants/β//ɸ//ɣ/
Tricky Glottal Consonants/ʔ/

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