Module 2: Challenging Sounds

Module Overview

As in any language, words in Japanese are made up of individual sounds. In order to successfully understand and speak Japanese, you need to be able to distinguish between the different sounds in the language. The videos in this module highlight challenging pairs of sounds in Japanese, and instruct you on how to tell them apart and produce them accurately.
Some pairs of sounds in Japanese tend to be difficult for native speakers of certain other languages, and so you’ll find that some of the videos here are targeted primarily toward native speakers of English, Mandarin, Cantonese, or Korean.
If you watch all of these videos and complete the exercises in this module, you will be able to greatly improve your ability to understand and speak Japanese like a native speaker!

Module Objectives

This module is designed to help students whose native language is not Japanese to discover which Japanese sounds are challenging for them, to understand the relation between the challenging sounds and one’s native language, and learn strategies for learning these sounds.

Students will be trained to:

  • differentiate between similar sounds that are distinguished in Japanese
  • monitor their own articulation of similar sounds that are distinguished in Japanese
  • enhance their understanding of the differences between sound systems of different languages.