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TYJ Hiragana for r + vowels

This article is in the series Teach Yourself Japanese

2.9. Hiragana for r + vowels

r + vowels:
ra[ ɽa ] ListenJapanese "r" + Japanese "a".
Japanese "r" is similar to Spanish "r". It is quite different from English "r", and using English "l" is better. When you pronounce English "l", you touch the front upper gums with the tip of your tongue. To pronounce Japanese "r", broaden your tongue and touch the front upper gums. You can shut the mouth with the tongue. In that case, Japanese "r" sounds almost like "d" to English speakers, but they are different. American /t/ in water sounds like Japanese "r".
ri[ ɽʲi ] Listen Japanese "r" + Japanese "i".
ru[ ɽɯ ] ListenJapanese "r" + Japanese "u".
re[ ɽe ] ListenJapanese "r" + Japanese "e".
ro[ ɽo ] ListenJapanese "r" + Japanese "o".

Hiragana examples:
Pitch:L H H
Romanization:sa ku ra
Meaning:cherry blossom (noun)

For your interest: Cherry blossoms are the symbol flower of Japan. Many Japanese people go to parks to have a casual party under cherry blossoms in the spring. Those parties are called はなみ "hanami".

Pitch:H L
Romanization:ru ri
Meaning:lapis lazuli (noun)

Pitch:L H
Romanization:i ro
Meaning:colour (noun)

Pitch:L H H L L
Romanization:re i ko
Meaning:refrigerator (noun)

Pitch:L H H
Romanization:to ro ro
Meaning:a kind of yam (noun)

Pitch:L H H
Romanization:tu ra ra
Meaning:icicle (noun)

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About author
My name is TAKASUGI Shinji. TAKASUGI is my family name, and Shinji is my given name; a family name is placed before a given name in Japan, as in other Asian nations. My family name is capitalized to avoid misunderstanding.

I have been living in Yokohama since I was born. Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan, which is just 30 kilometers away from the biggest city Tôkyô. It takes 30 minutes to go by train from home to Shibuya, which is the hottest town now in Tôkyô.

I work as a display engineer.

One of my hobbies is creating things with computers; creating programs, computer graphics and web pages is the thing I spent a lot of time doing. I am also interested in a wide range of sciences, and linguistics is my favorite. I like English and I like using it, but my focus is mainly on Japanese, which is my native language. I'm proud of knowing the language, and the difference between English and Japanese has been fascinating me. I have been thinking whether I can introduce it to people outside of Japan. My attempt of introducing Japanese with some Java applets has had more than 1 million visitors.


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