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母音・子音 Vowels and Consonants

母音(vowel)は口の中で息の流れを邪魔しないで発音する音で、子音(consonant)は舌(tongue)や唇(lips)などで息の流れを止めたり、邪魔したりして作る音です。日本語の母音、「あいうえお」は口の形を変えて発音しています。「子音+母音」の「ま」は一度口を閉じてから声を出しています。「さ」は舌で狭い空間を作って発音しています。難しい母音や子音があったら、その音の作り方(口の形と舌の位置)を確認しましょう。

A vowel is a sound made without blocking the flow of air through the mouth, while a consonant is a sound made by blocking or restricting the flow of air, using the tongue, lips, teeth, etc. The Japanese vowels (a, i, u, e, o) are made by changing the shape of the mouth. A sound like 'ma', a combination of a consonant and a vowel, is made by closing the mouth for a short time and opening it again. A sound like 'sa' is made by restricting the flow of air to a very narrow path along the tongue, then releasing the closure and producing the 'a' vowel. When you find a particular sound difficult to pronounce, check that you are maintaining the correct mouth shape and holding your tongue in the right place.

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