Pronunciation of hiragana が-row in the middle of a word.

Hi everyone!

I'm trying to figure out the correct way of pronouncing the hiragana が when it comes in the middle of a word, for example, かぎ (key).

The speakers of the course I'm doing read it [kaŋi].

Minna no Nihongo explains that the consonants of the が-row (が ぎ ぐ げ ご) at the beginning of a word are pronounced [g] and in other cases [ŋ]. However, it also says that: "Recently, some Japanese do not differentiate between [g] and [ŋ] and always use [g]".

So... which way should it be, [kagi] or [kaŋi]?

Wikipedia says that the velar nasal does exist in Japanese, but only in Eastern dialects. How does standard Japanese behave?

Another example: the word for 'right' is みぎ (pronounced [miŋi]??) and the word for 'side' is がわ [gawa]; how should みぎがわ ('right side') be pronounced? The speakers seem to read it [miŋiŋawa], but shouldn't がわ be pronounced [gawa], since が is at the beginning of a word?

ありがとう ございます!!
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  • karlalou

    がぎぐげご is ga, gi, gu, ge, go to me. I never pronounce them with ŋ sound, however, I can imagine some area in Japan might pronounce them with ŋ sound.


    I agree to the opinion of karlalou.
    But ga gi gu ge go appear consequently like みぎがわ、かぎがある、とげがある.......,
    the latter one is suitable to be pronounced as ŋ.


    Senior Member
    This [ŋ] is called a nasal sonant 鼻濁音. It was once thought they should use it because it was standard Japanese.
    And anchormen and actors have learned it because it makes sounds softer and more beautiful.
    Originally, however, it is the Kanto and Tohoku dialects, and less and less Japanese people are using it, especially young people.

    がわ is [gawa], but as long as みぎがわ is one word, it's [miŋiŋawa], if you use nasal sonants.
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