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How difficult is it to learn Japanese?

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The guide should show how to pronounce the Japanese words using English characters. If that's the case, the consonants will be pronounced the same. Other guides have a kana version with no English characters to help you pronounce it. Instead they use Japanese hiragana symbols that you will have to picture in your mind its equivalent symbol in English.

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is the pronunciation of letters the same as in english? i got myself a teach urself japanese book' date=' but the pronunciation guide only shows you how to pronounce vowels and double consonants. [/quote']

Brief summary:

b,d,g is similar to English, although probably closer to the degree of French. They are not Mandarin b, d, g.

z is variable, some pronounce it with a slight ds sound, and others have it like an English z

shi (si) is pronounced almost like English she, except with mouth more wide and closed.

r is pronounced like l except with the mouth more rounded, and the sensation of your tongue briefly tapping the hard plate of your mouth.

chi (ti) is pronounced like something between pinyin ji and English cheese. Like in chizu (also spelled tidu), the word for "map" in Japanese, the chi is pronounced almost like pinyin ji but less dental. The Japanese chi (ti) is exactly the same as the Shanghainese pronunciation for chicken (that doesn't help you of course).

Vowels are like Italian vowels, rather easy, except the u, which is UNROUNDED in Japanese (your lips do not become very rounded when pronouncing it). u is probably the most tricky vowel because it's not like an English or Mandarin Chinese u at all. It is also often devoiced.

t, k, p is pronounced with aspiration (like Mandarin t, k, p) at the BEGINNING of the word, and typically unaspirated (like Mandarin d, g, B) in the middle of the word.

hu is like fu. And fu isn't pronounced with a full f, it's rather breathy and light.

hi is often palatalized, somewhat similar to German ich, but not quite.

-n final has a full syllable duration. And is frequently velarized (like Mandarin's -ng final) in certain combinations of syllables.

But there's also pitch accent (high pitch, low pitch), which you kind of just have to learn through a lot of audio practice, since Japanese do not mark them in the script.

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there is no silent e in Japanese so a word like take (bamboo) is not like the English give and take take rather it is Ta - ke. たけ

Be careful with long sounds 大  is おお o-o > the sounds run together but are double the length of a usual お

same goes for う  eg 王子 or おうじ  is a long sound.

beware the glottal stop of a chisai tsu.

おと means sound おっと means husband.

You need to get that break in the sound in there - in romaji it is represented as a double consonant. in this case oto or otto.

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