During your travels in Japan, it is almost a certainty you will at some point take the train. The Japanese rail system is excellent, and stations are conveniently located in all but the most rural towns.

The Japanese word for train is Ressha.

To pronounce this correctly, let’s first break it down into syllables:


As you can see, you have two separate sounds.

The first sound, “res” is a little tricky as there really is no English equivalent for the Japanese letter r. So let’s break it down:

  1. According to Living Language, “If you speak American English, think of how you pronounce the ‘T’ sound in waterlettermetercutter, 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.)
  2. Now combine this specialized r sound with the es sound, like the es in the English word rest, and you will have the pronunciation of the “res” syllable in the Japanese word ressha.

The second sound, “sha” is pronounced like sho in the word shot.

Now put all of the sounds together and be sure to make a hard pause between syllables (because double consonants in Japanese get extra emphasis). Keep repeating the word until  you get more comfortable with it. Before you know it, you’ll have it!




Source: Living Language

Images: 1


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