TUFS Language Modules


The most fundamental unit of the Japanese rhythm is the mora. Native speakers of Japanese recognize each mora as having the same duration. One kana ( 仮名 ) character usually represents one mora, except for the cases of consonant-glide sequences (Refer to section 1.11 for explanations on the consonant-glide sequences.), where small ya , yu , yo ( ゃ、ゅ、ょ ) are attached to the preceding kana character, for example, kya ( きゃ ) . Take note that these consonant-glide sequences also have the duration of one mora.

In order to master the rhythm of the Japanese language, it is necessary to develop a sense of the mora. Take notice that each mora is pronounced with equal duration. Some learners commit errors of pronouncing kasa ( かさ ( 傘 ) umbrella) as kāsa ( カーサ ) or tokei ( とけい ( 時計 ) clock) as tōkei ( トーケイ ) . Some students also have difficulties pronouncing the dependent moras; such as, the mora obstruent small tsu ( っ ) ( Please refer to section 2.1 for explanations on the mora obstruent. ) , the mora nasal ( ん ) , the second half of a long vowel, and the second half of a diphthong , such as the i in baai ( ばあい ( 場合 ) case). Take note that these dependent moras are also one mora long.