This tutorial is designed for self-directed learners who are interested in Japanese pronunciation. To best benefit from this tutorial, learners should have familiarity with the Japanese writing system, and be able to read Hiragana.
This tutorial consists of three modules: i) Japanese Basics, ii) Challenging Sounds, and iii) Japanese Intonation. Each module consists of a series of lessons, which are composed of instructional material, videos, and quizzes. Learners can proceed through the material at their own pace, watching each video and taking each quiz as many times as they wish.
You can start from anywhere, depending on the level/interest/instructor’s suggestion.
- If you would like to know about sound-spelling correspondence, start with Module 1.
- If you would like to know about challenging sounds in Japanese, go to Module 2.
- If you would like to know about Japanese intonation, go to Module 3.
By the end of the tutorial, students will be able to
- describe the articulatory properties of the Japanese sounds in the Hiragana diagram (Gojūon, fifty sounds)
- be aware of their own pronunciation of challenging sounds in Japanese
- identify correct Japanese intonation and accent in basic nouns, verbs, and short sentences
- For non-UBC members: You can access all features, but cannot earn badges because badges are only available to users who logged in to the site using their UBC CWL.
- For UBC students, alumni, staff and faculty who have a CWL: You can access all features.
- For Faculty members who are interested in using this tutorial in class, please contact us by email to email@example.com.
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For learners of Japanese as a second language: Have you ever wondered why certain sounds are hard to hear or hard to produce, and how you can improve your perception and production skills so that you will be able to speak like a native speaker of Japanese? Then this site is for you. We will walk through the basics, challenging sounds, and intonation in steps. (Prerequisite: learners should be able to read Hiragana.)
For instructors of Japanese as a second language: You don’t have time to teach pronunciation in class? You don’t want to bother looking for additional materials as recommended readings? Then this site is for you. You can just give your students the link to this site and have students submit badges as the proof of completion. You can give them the credit for pronunciation learning.
For linguistic students: Have you ever wondered how the tongue moves during the production of speech? Are you interested in getting to know a new technology used in linguistic research? Then this site is for you. You can see how ultrasound imagings are used in language teaching. This technology has grown in the past 10 years, and is said to be effective in areas such as speech therapy and endangered language documentation.
For linguistic instructors: Are you interested in giving students an example of how articulatory phonetic knowledge can be applied? This site provides such an example, as it applies articulatory phonetic principles to Japanese language learning.
For anybody who is interested in speech production: Are you interested in how human being articulate sounds? Then this site is for you. You can see how Japanese characters and sounds correspond to each other, and how the tongue dances (!) during the production of sounds. We hope you will be more interested in this area, and appreciate the wonder of human language.
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Except where otherwise noted, our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. This means that anyone can use our work with proper attribution, but we do not allow any adaptations of our work to be shared and commercial uses without permission.
Note. Animated mid-sagittal (Flash animation diagrams) Copyright © 2002-2009 Strang C. Burton. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Dr. Jennifer Abel (Content Author, Website)
Dr. Blake Allen (Website)
Dr. Heather Bliss (Content Author)
Dr. Strang Burton (Multimedia Developer)
Dr. Bryan Gick (Principal Investigator)
Misuzu Kazama (Content Author)
Dr. Bosung Kim (Instructional Designer, Website)
Asami Tsuda (Content Author)
Dr. Noriko Yamane (Content Author, Prominence Test Creator)
The project team would like to acknowledge the work and support of those listed below.
- Hisako Hayashi (Carleton University) and Kazuhiro Yonemoto (Language Centre, Tokyo Medical and Dental University)
- Arts ISIT at UBC's Faculty of Arts
- Research Assistants - Masaki Noguchi (Linguistics) and Tsuyoshi Hamanaka (Asian Studies), Yoshitaka Matsubara (Linguistics)
- Anna Toth for beautiful badge design
- Seth Goss who developed the methodology and visual pitch representations in his PhD dissertation at The Ohio State University, The Effects of Internal and Experience-Based Factors on the Perception of Lexical Pitch Accent by Native and Nonnative Japanese Listeners and allowed us to use them.