The way the Japanese speak

- Developing teaching materials for education of spoken Japanese based on contrastive studies among Japanese, English and Chinese

Samples of Japanese and Chinese articulation on MRI movies

The Japanese /u/ and Chinese /u/ do not coincide at the phonetic level. The Chinese find it difficult to master the Japanese /u/, and their pronunciation is often perceived by Japanese natives as /i/, not /u/. This article shall investigate in detail the actual differences by using MRI..

Japanese /u/ (Tokyo dialect)

Chinese /u/ (Peking dialect)
Press the triangle button to watch movies on the two pronunciations.

These movies show that (i) the Chinese /u/ is pronounced with a forward movement of the lips, whereas the Japanese /u/ is pronounced without such a movement; and (ii) the narrowest point in the oral cavity is pushed more forward in the case of the Japanese /a/ than it is in the case of the Chinese /a/.

Click here to see more details. (Another window)

(Sorry, the normal replay of the audiovisual data is available only for Internet Explorer.)

Back to samples top page
Back to top page