ようおん【拗音】


palatal sounds



By combining small や・ヤ、ゆ・ユ and よ・ヨ with kana from the い・イ列、kana representing palatal sounds are formed.

(1) Hiragana

r m h n ch sh k  
りゃ みゃ ひゃ にゃ ちゃ しゃ きゃ ya
りゅ みゅ ひゅ にゅ ちゅ しゅ きゅ yu
りょ みょ ひょ にょ ちょ しょ きょ yo


(2) Katakana

r m h n ch sh k  
リャ ミャ ヒャ ニャ チャ シャ キャ ya
リュ ミュ ヒュ ニュ チュ シュ キュ yu
リョ ミョ ヒョ ニョ チョ ショ キョ yo

(1) Pronunciation

拗音 are generally not too difficult to pronounce. リャ、リュ and リョ may give English speakers difficulty, though. Practice going from カ to キャ, then リ to リャ, etc.

(2) Romanization

The romanization of the sh and ch columns varies according to the system used. For English speakers, probably the easiest system is to omit the "y" for 拗音。Using this system, yields the following, with the most common variant in parentheses:

シャ・シャ=sha (sya)
しゅ・シュ=shu (syu)
しょ・ショ=sho (syo)

ちゃ・チャ=cha (tya)
ちゅ・チュ=chu (tyu)
ちょ・チョ=cho (tyo)

Regardless of which system is used, the pronunciation of sh (sy) is like that in ship and ch (ty) like that in chip. See ローマ字 for further details.

(3) 注意

Small katakana ya ヤ is used to represent the sound of a as in "ash" (written using the ash symbol) for some words borrowed from English (especially for k/g):

キャット cat
キャノン Canon

Words may be borrowed based on US or UK pronunciation, so memorization is required, as some English speakers pronounce "camera" with the ash sound. In Japanese, this is カメラ、however.

Small ユ is used similarly after n:

ニュー new (New York)
ニュース news


For the rest of the kana, see: 五十音図外来語用の特別かな濁音・半濁音 and 促音

Vocabulary items

い・イ列 (i retsu) The i-row

注意 (chuui) note, cautionary note, NB


This entry was created by Benjamin Barrett.


Created 2000-06-13.

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