Descriptive words help us explain things or distinguish one item from another. Many times, colors can be used to describe things and help us express ourselves through language. Because of this, knowing how to say basic colors in Japanese is important. For example, the busiest train line in Japan, Tokyo’s Yamanote Line, is green.
The Japanese word for green is Midori.
To pronounce this correctly, let’s first break it down into syllables:
As you can see, you have three separate sounds.
The first sound, “mi” sounds similar to the English word me. The “mi” sound in the word midori receives the emphasis. In other words, pronounce the word like this: MI-do-ri.
The second sound, “do” is pronounced like do in the word dome.
The third sound, “ri” is a little tricky as there really is no English equivalent for the Japanese letter r. So let’s break it down:
- According to Living Language, “If you speak American English, think of how you pronounce the ‘T’ sound in water, letter, meter, cutter, and so on…That soft ‘T’ sound (called “flap T”) is similar to the Japanese ‘R’ sound.” (I have also found that if you pronounce it sort of like a Spanish r (like in the words pero or toro), you’ll be close.)
- Now combine this specialized r sound with the i sound, like the ee in the English word bee, and you will have the pronunciation of the “ri” syllable in the Japanese word midori.
Now put all of the sounds together and be sure to emphasize the first syllable. Keep repeating the word until you get more comfortable with it. Before you know it, you’ll have it!
Source: Living Language
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