Getting around in Japan is easy. While most travelers use the very convenient and highly efficient trains and buses, some travelers, especially those who want to experience rural, small town Japan, rent cars.
The Japanese word for car is Kuruma.
To pronounce this correctly, let’s first break it down into syllables:
As you can see, you have three separate sounds.
The first sound, “Ku”, is pronounced similar to “coo” in the English word coop.
The second sound, “ru” 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 u sound, like the oo in the English word too, and you will have the pronunciation of the “ru” syllable in the Japanese word kuruma.
The third sound, “ma” is pronounced similar to “ma” in the English word malign.
Now put all of the sounds together. Keep repeating the word until you get more comfortable with it. Before you know it, you’ll have it!
For more useful Japanese words, go to WOW: Word of the Week
Source: Living Language
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