11 Japanese Words That Are Impossible To Pronounce — 26 Comments

  1. I would love to click on a little audio clip of these words. They would be fun to hear. Can you do that on Jalup?

  2. Oh my that was hard haha, as a beginner I was watching an Anime and the guys name is “多田 万里” and I just cannot say ばんり properly haha

    • I’ve seen the ん followed by り cause problems for beginners. Especially in the word 便利(べんり) which sounds a lot closer to “bendy” then benree.

  3. I honestly think that 2) is harder than 1). With a little practice though it wasn’t that hard to pronounce ’em.

    暖かかった [atatakakatta] use to and still does give me some trouble.
    入れられる [irerareru] also gives me some trouble as well.

    • I agree on the 暖かかった. Which I guess why they often slur あたたかい to あったかい。

      Some of the られる attachments does give your tongue a nice roll through.

      Agreed, practice does help, but it is easier when the word is said stand alone here, them when randomly thrown in a sentence while reporting the news.

      And the ranking is open to difficulty interpretation. I wouldn’t call it a firm difficulty order.

  4. I’m surprised 雰囲気 didn’t make the list since no one, at least that I’m aware of, pronounces it how it’s actually read. (ふんいき vs ふいんき) Also most people slur 暖かく in regular speech. Another one that I bet is hard for new news casters is 運行 because a pronunciation slip will give everyone a bad case of the giggles.

    What’s even more hilarious is that Japanese people love to point out people’s pronunciation slips especially on variety shows. I’ve even seen Dave Spector get ribbed for slip-ups on his news show. (I guess that should be a JALUP level of it’s own. 85: Native Japanese speakers make fun of you when you make mistakes.)

    • I agree, 雰囲気 is definitely a good contender.

      I’ll admit, I used to laugh like a child when I heard 運行 on the news for the first time.

      That is interesting, because Japanese would normally never make fun of Non-Japanese for mistakes. So once that starts happening, it means your Japanese is pretty awesome.

      And you do see a lot of variety show entertainers making fun of their less eloquent counterparts.

    • When I saw the title, 雰囲気 is the word that sprang immediately to mind, hehe. I’m still not sure if I’m saying it right or not…

  5. The hardest word for me to say is 千円。 My Japanese friend said that I pronounce it okay, but I spent a long time twisting my tongue around all sorts of awkward ways to make it せ・ん・え・ん instead of せんねん。 He said that it’s okay to pronounce the え like a “ye,” but I’m worried that might form a bad speaking habit, like how I used to always pronounce を as “wo.”

    All of those ん+vowel words make me nervous. And then there’s 方法を… Oddly, the tongue twisters in this post weren’t so bad for me, but I always mix up the kana in 柔らか. Is is yakawara? Yarawaka? Rakawayakararakaya?

  6. It wasn’t really that hard. But I admit, I struggled with some few words like 過失致死傷罪 and 高速増殖炉 . :)

  7. It just goes to show that your native language really matters… I’m a Polish native speaker and I wouldn’t consider any of these particularly hard to pronounce xD

    …Except for 暖かく

    • Same for me. There are some Japanese words that I struggle with but non from that list. My native language is Swedish

  8. The hardest for me to pronounce would be 訓(けんれん) because of the transition of ん to れ. It always messes me up and I either pronounce it as kunden or kunlen.

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