It's breaking my mind that vowel sounds can run together across words

Hello! I’ve picked up 文プロ to start working on grammar and a big part of studying here so far has been listening to all the example sentences I can. I noticed that in sentences like 「日本語を勉強しに行きます。」 that 「に行き」just sounds like 「にいき」

It may sound like a tautological observation, because obviously it sounds like what it actually is, but I noticed that 1) there doesn’t seem to be any vocal stress or pitch difference as far as I can tell to denote the boundary and 2) that my brain is really expecting there to be one!

Is this something common to all spoken Japanese? (Is this something that also happens in English? I’m not sure…)

It makes me think there is even more challenge to ingraining this stuff than I thought… :smiley:



Even in English (and I guess most languages) the spaces between words won’t necessary be marked vocaly between the words in a sentence that corresponds with where the spaces exist. In connected speech there is a rhythmic pattern that forms the structure and spacing of the sentence.

I might be explaining this quite bad. Try reading this article instead :sweat_smile:


In english it is really common for this to happen with consonance pairs. Eg. Black cat; start time; some money; etc.

Depending on the Japanese person they may enunciate or slur these together. But even if they do it is very subtle. It’s almost like a 1/4 or even an 1/8 glottal stop. Rather than a full っ.



i also came to give some examples… in turkish. maybe noone will understand but, it will show that maybe it’s almost the same in every language? i don’t know anymore.

beş elma, we say it like beşelma.
kardan adam, again, it’s like kardanadam.
ağaç altında, you guessed it right, ağaçaltında.

see, i made no sense but gave examples anyways, because i’m that kind of a person.

have a great day!


I think this is just a matter of not enough listening. In reality, as a couple people already pointed out, there aren’t actually gaps between a lot of spoken speech (just try opening a speech in an audio editor).

So I think as you spend more time listening your brain will start to make expectations of where breaks are. Just need to acquire enough statistical data (which is an unconscious process for the most part) and one day you’ll notice that you don’t even have to think about the breaks anymore.


Ahh, there we go. I had a hunch there were examples of this in English but I couldn’t think of any at the time.

That’s very helpful!

That’s 100% what it is. :smiley:


I was also surprised, because the texts Clearly State that the Japanese give equal weight to each syllable, which is plainly not true. I wouldn’t have expected it otherwise, but that keep telling us that (presumably so we won’t rush through Konnichiwa as if it only had one N).

1 Like

Technically equal weight should be given to each syllable in Japanese, but of course reality is totally different to whet you see in a textbook. The same is true of any language. When I’m teaching English from a textbook I sound very wooden because it’s just not natural, but technically is correct English :joy: