ぶん英文えいぶんしたです。The Japanese translation with furigana is placed at the bottom of this page.

The Rules in the Use of the Nasal Sound for Announcers

This is a continuation of: The Japanese Nasal Sound in Japanese / この投稿とうこうは「ほん濁音だくおんについて」のつづきです。


Table of Contents
  1. Rule No. 1: At the beginning of a word, use the regular “g” sound; otherwise, use the nasal
  2. Rule No. 2: In a compound word, the nasal is used to show its unity. If you are not sure about the rule, use the regular “g”
  3. Rule No. 3: In onomatopoeia, basically use the regular “g”
  4. Rule No. 4: To say “go” meaning 5 (five), basically use the regular “g”
  5. Rule No. 5: Always use the nasal for the particle “ga”
  6. Let’s do an exercise!
  7. Our advice: The nasal sound is unnecessary in speaking


In this post, we will explain when Japanese announcers read ga-row sounds (ga, gi, gu, ge, go) in news with the nasal sound and when with the regular “g” sound.

Rule No. 1: At the beginning of a word, use the regular “g” sound; otherwise, use the nasal

The rule of thumb is: Never use a nasal sound at the beginning of a word.

In other words, the nasal is heard when a “ga”-column sound appears in the second or later mora in a word. We can put it this way, too: If a word had a head and a body, a nasal would be located somewhere “in the body” and never at the head. And according to some, because a nasal sounds soft and smooth, it makes you feel the unity of a word more than when you say it with the regular “g”.

See the examples and read them aloud with the nasal (for how to pronounce it, please refer to The Mini Pocket (1) or the Nasal Sound in Japanese):

Example 1) kagi (key; read “ka-ngi”)

Ex. 2) ehagaki (postcard with a picture on one side; read “e-ha-nga-ki”)               

Ex. 3) oyogimasu (to swim; read “o-yo-ngu”)

Ex. 4) kage (shadow; read “ka-nge”)

Ex. 5) Nihongo (the Japanese language; read “ni-ho-n-ngo”)

On the other hand, as for the ga-column sound at the beginning of a word, always read it with the regular “g”. Since it’s a harsh, strong sound, it is easy to hear and suitable to mark the beginning of a word. For practice, read the following examples with the regular “g”:

Ex. 6) gaikoku-jin (foreigner)

Ex. 7) “Gomen-nasai!” (“I’m sorry!”)

Rule No. 2: In a compound word, the nasal is used to show its unity. If you are not sure about the rule, use the regular “g”

Here is the example of a compound word:

Ex. 8) nama-gomi (a kind of trash from kitchen, usually raw food scraps)

This word is a combination of “nama (raw or uncooked)” and “gomi (trash)”. We call a combined word like this a compound word.

The rule for the nasal in a compound word is this: When the second (or third) word in a compound begins with one of the “ga”-column sound, like “nama-gomi”, the “g” is nasal. Because a nasal sounds softer, it has the effect on making the listener feel the unity of the compound.

On the other hand, if each constituting word retains its original meaning more strongly, we say the regular “g” on the first sound of the second word as in:

Ex. 9) Senmon gakkoo (vocational school, technical school)

However, this is a little difficult to judge. You may argue that “nama” and “gomi” keep their original meanings as well, and that “g” of “gomi” should be the regular one, too. You are absolutely right. Actually, there are a lot of idiomatic uses with the nasal sound.

A practical solution for this is to use the regular “g” always if you are unsure. The reason: If you use regular “g” when you can use the nasal, it’s perfectly acceptable but if you did the other way round, it wouldn’t sound right.

Rule No. 3: In onomatopoeia, basically use the regular “g”

Onomatopoeia is either [1] a word to express a sound of an event or an action with a mimicking sound, or [2] a powerfully evocative word to allow the listener or reader to visualize a state or a condition.

There is a lot of onomatopoeia in Japanese, and we will give you some examples in a future post. For now, just remember that usually ga-row sounds inside onomatopoeia (i. e., not located at the beginning of the word) are pronounced as regular “g”. See the following:

Ex. 10) Chotto tataita dake de, kabe wa garagara to kuzureochimashita. (With just a little tapping, the wall crumbled to the ground with a rumbling sound.)

 “Gara-gara” is onomatopoeia; in this case a description of the way a big structure quickly crumbles into ruins with a noise. The onomatopoeia “gara” is repeated for the stronger effect, so we should say the regular, harsh “g” for the second “gara”.

Ex. 11) Kinoo wa ichi-nichi-juu sofa de gorogoro shite-imashita. (Yesterday, I was being lazy and lying on the sofa all day.)

“Gorogoro-shimasu” is another of onomatopoeia which means you lie down somewhere comfortable and roll or turn that way and this way, relaxed, doing nothing. This one is also a repetition of onomatopoeia “goro (describing a rolling sound or motion)”, so we say the second “goro” with a regular “g”.

Rule No. 4: To say “go” meaning 5 (five), basically use the regular “g”

Always pronounce “go” for “five” with the regular “g” in counting. Do the same when it’s followed by a counter such as “nin” in the folling example:

Ex. 12) juu-go-nin (fifteen persons)

Note: When this “go” is used as a part of a word or an idiom, pronounce it with a nasal sound. The reason is, as we discussed in Rule (2), the softer sound distinctively shows the unity of the word. See this:

Ex. 13) juu-go-ya (a night with a full-moon)

Rule No. 5: Always use the nasal for the particle “ga”

Whether in a sentence or mentioned individually, say the particle “ga” always nasal.

Ex. 14) Santosu-san wa se ga takai  desu. (Santos is tall.)

Ex. 15) Sumimasen. Tokyo eki no “yattsu no eto” o mitakute kita-n-desuga, doko ni arimasu ka. (Excuse me. I came here to see the eight Chinese Zodiac signs in the Tokyo Station building; where are they?)                                   

[Click to enlarge / 画像をクリックすると拡大します] The Japanese garden in the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, MI in May /

Let’s do an exercise!

Read the following phrase aloud like a trained NHK announcer. Which of the ga-row sound should be read with the regular “g” and which “ng”? (The answer is on the bottom of this page.)

  • Kigi no midori ga kagayaku go-gatsu (May, when the green on the trees shine)

Our advice: The nasal sound is unnecessary in speaking

There are a lot more rules Japanese announcers must learn, but after all, we think it is just fine for you to use the regular “g” sound alone. However, we don’t say this because you are “foreigners”.

In the next “The Mini Pocket (the last of three posts) or On The Nasal Sound and Modern Japanese)”, we will explain the current situation and why we think so.

[End of the English text]

この投稿は、ミニポケットの話 (1) または日本語の鼻濁音についての続きです



  1. そくそのいち: とうではつうの「g」、ちゅうでは濁音だくおん使つか
  2. そくその: ふくごうでは、濁音だくおん使つかってこと一体性いったいせいしめす。わからなかったらつうの「g」でOK!
  3. そくそのさん: オノマトペ(たいおん)ではだいたいつうの「g」を使つか
  4. そくそのよん: すうの「ゴ () 」はだいたいつうの「g」を使つか
  5. そくその: じょの「が」には濁音だくおん使つか
  6. れんしゅうしてみましょう!
  7. わたしたちのアドバイス: はつには濁音だくおんよう



そくそのいち: とうではつうの「g」、ちゅうでは濁音だくおん使つか



つぎれいて、濁音だくおん音読おんどくしてみてください(発音はつおんかたについては、ミニ・ポケットのはなし (1) またはほん濁音だくおんについてをごさんしょうください)。

れい1) かぎ(鍵)

れい2) えはがき(絵葉書)

れい3) およぐ(泳ぐ)

れい4) かげ(影)

れい5) にほんご(日本語)


れい6) ごめんなさい!

れい7) がいこくじん(外国人がいこくじん

そくその: ふくごうでは、濁音だくおん使つかってこと一体性いったいせいしめす。わからなかったらつうの「g」でOK!


れい8) なまごみ(生ごみ)




れい9) せんもんがっこう(専門学校)



そくそのさん: オノマトペ(たいおん)ではだいたいつうの「g」を使つか

オノマトペは、[1] ごと行動こうどうどうともなおとしたこと、[2] あるじょうたいきとおもかべさせることのことで、ほんにはこれがたくさんあります。


れい10) ちょっとたたいただけで、かべはがらがらとくずれちました。


れい11) きのうは一日中ソファでごろごろしていました。

「ごろごろ – します」もオノマトペで、ごこよくよこになり、なにもしないでのんびりあっちがわがえったりこっちがわがえったりしているようあらわします。これも「ごろ」(ころがるおとうごきをしたオノマトペ)がきょう調ちょうのためかえされているので、ばんの「ごろ」はつうの「g」です。

そくそのよん: すうの「ゴ () 」はだいたいつうの「g」を使つか


れい12)  じゅうごにん(15人)

注: この「ご(五)」があることいちであるときは、濁音だくおんになります。ゆうは、そく(2)とおなじで、やわららかなおとによってこと一体性いったいせいしめせるからです。つぎれいてください。

れい13) じゅうごや(十五夜)

そくその: じょの「が」には濁音だくおん使つか


れい14) サントスさんはたかいです。

れい15) すみません。とうきょうえきの「やっつの」をたくてたんですが、どこにありますか。



  • きぎの みどりが かがやく ごがつ (木々の緑が輝く五月)

わたしたちのアドバイス: はつには濁音だくおんよう




?The answer for the exercise in 6: “Go” of “go-gatsu” is the regular “g” and everything else is “ng”.

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