Start Here

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.
Learning Objectives

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

Who should use this site?

  • 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

Click on the tab that describes you.

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.

Getting Started

Bookmark this Tutorial Site

Bookmark this link, to save time to travel to the site.


This website is best viewed in Firefox and Chrome. Some of the features of this website do not work well  in Safari or Internet Explorer.

Student Tech Support

If you encounter any technical issues while navigating this website, you may email for assistance.

Earn and Share Badges

An interesting feature of this tutorial site is that each module offers you Open Badge, which is a digital symbol that shows evidence of achievement. To learn more about badges, go to Open Badges UBC.

Take advantage of this feature - Earn a badge which certifies your achievement of the module, and share it with your course instructor. There are three digital badges you can earn when engaging with the Japanese Pronunciation Tutorial.

Important! In order to earn the badges in this tutorial, you must

  • be logged in with a UBC CWL
  • complete all the required activities
  • receive a score of 100% on each lesson quiz

Since a badge is an evidence of your achievement, you will need to receive a score of 100% for all the quizzes in a module. Otherwise, it will not be considered complete. If you don’t get 100% for the first time, don’t worry - you can try as many times as you want! Quizzes in one module takes only one minute to complete, and you can see the correct answers right away, which empowers your learning of each module.

Upon the completion of all the required quizzes/tests in each module, the corresponding badge from My Earned Badges on the sidebar will change from a greyed-out image to a brightly coloured image. You can also check the details of the badge by clicking on the badge image.

To share your earned badge with your instructor, follow these steps:

Step 1. On one screen, display My Badges at the bottom of a page and your name in the top right corner of the screen.
Step 2. Take a screenshot of the page

  • Mac users: Press Command (⌘) + Shift + 3 on your keyboard. Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop. View Apple Support resources for detailed instructions.
  • Windows/PC users: Press the Print Screen key (PrtScn) on the keyboard. Paste (Ctrl+V) into a program like Paint or Word and save the file.

Step 3. Attach the screenshot to an email and send it to your instructor.


Development Team and Acknowledgements

Dr. Jennifer Abel (Content Author, Website)

Jennifer was a postdoctoral fellow on the eNunciate project in 2015, and is now is the Coordinator of UBC’s Language Sciences initiative. She earned her PhD in Linguistics from UBC in 2015. Prior to coming to UBC, she taught introductory linguistics and medical terminology at Mount Royal College (now University) in Calgary, and also worked in the University of Calgary’s Writing Centre. Jennifer studied Japanese as an undergraduate, and has learned some new things about Japanese from watching the videos on this site.

Dr. Blake Allen (Website)

Blake is a PhD candidate in linguistics at UBC. His research focuses on statistical modeling and machine learning of morphology and phonology. In addition to maintaining the eNunciate website, he has worked on developing the eNunciate pitch visualizer webapp.

Dr. Heather Bliss (Content Author)

Heather joined the eNunciate project as a postdoctoral fellow in 2016, after completing a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Victoria (2014-15) and a PhD at UBC (2013). She is actively involved in research and teaching on Indigenous language documentation and revitalization, and has spent over a decade working with elders and other speakers to document and analyse various aspects of the Blackfoot language spoken in Southern Alberta. Tongue ultrasound technology has been useful in Heather’s understanding of Blackfoot, and she is interested in exploring the usefulness of this technology for learners of other languages as well.

Dr. Strang Burton (Multimedia Developer)

Strang is a linguist who works with First Nations communities across BC to develop tools and technologies for endangered language revitalization and documentation. He has taught courses on languages and linguistics at the University of British Columbia, and he is one of the authors of the “Linguistics for Dummies” book.

Dr. Bryan Gick (Principal Investigator)

Bryan is a Professor and Head of the UBC Department of Linguistics, the Director of the Interdisciplinary Speech Research Laboratory at UBC, and a Senior Researcher at Haskins Laboratories. His research focuses primarily on understanding the physical mechanisms of speech production and their interactions with perception, phonology, and phonetics. One of his major research goals has involved developing techniques for applying ultrasound imaging technology to speech research and teaching.

Misuzu Kazama (Content Author)

Misuzu is a Lecturer for the Japanese Language courses  in the Asian Studies Department at UBC.

Dr. Bosung Kim (Instructional Designer, Website)

Bosung is an instructional designer at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, UBC. She joined the project in 2015, and supported the planning, design, development, implementation and evaluation of the instructional specifications of the site. She designed and developed this badge-enabled site. She is interested in creating engaging and interactive online courses.

Asami Tsuda (Content Author)

Asami was a Japanese lecturer at UBC and a core member of the eNunciate project in 2015. She led Japanese teachers team and developed the contents for this website. She is interested in developing learning materials to support and promote student autonomy in Japanese language learning. She is currently teaching Japanese at Columbia University.

Dr. Noriko Yamane (Content Author, Prominence Test Creator)

Noriko Yamane is a postdoctoral research fellow at UBC. She has been involved in this project from the very beginning. Her research is in laboratory phonology and applied/experimental/educational linguistics. Her dissertation used ultrasound technology for speech analysis, detected place of articulations of allegedly placeless consonants of Japanese, and uncovered hidden contrasts among individual variations. Since getting her Ph.D. (2013, UBC), she has been expanding her area of study/research to pedagogy of L2 pronunciation and phonetics, and using biovisual feedback from ultrasound.

The project team would like to acknowledge the work and support of those listed below.