In a recent post, I discussed a few points I’d like to focus on when speaking Japanese. My language exchange partner has spread further light on the matter.

When talking about point ③, I had claimed that my Japanese wasn’t particularly feminine because I don’t use words which only women tend to. But that isn’t the only issue: certain types of intonation, problem ①, can make you sound feminine.

For example, I said the following to my language exchange partner:


She said that because I inflected not just the く, but also the て in 作って, my request sounded slightly feminine! Aha! I feel a step closer to understanding how to improve my spoken Japanese.


  1. Male speech I guess is flater and has less rising intonations. It might help to slur your speech a bit too since girls usually speak with a clearer accent. But then again, sounding cute and girly might help you get (Japanese) girls so it’s up to you. Guys will probably be grossed out though…

  2. Really? If I slurred I’d be afraid that people wouldn’t understand me, or would have to guess at the words I was saying.
    I hadn’t really realised before that the male voice was so much flatter in Japanese.
    Do Japanese girls like cute sounding guys?? Well, I’m not looking, in any case =)

  3. After reading your last two posts, it sounds like the same problems I have (though no one tells me that directly, I can imagine it). It feels like if I talk natually (less higher pitch) I might end up sounding vulgar. But listening to my Japanese guy friends talk in Japanese gives me ideas how I should speak.

  4. Japanese girl like cute & girly sounding guys??? No way!!

  5. Kocchi, thanks for commenting. The thing is, even if you hang out with Japanese guys and listen to the way the speak, often you don’t know the way in which you are speaking yourself. And often, even if you are using strange intonation, people will be kind and forgiving and not tell you. While this is probably a good thing, it does hinder the speed of your progress.

  6. みよ、分かりました…気を付けます!

  7. The vowel sounds with japanese male speech are generally slightly closer to the front of the mouth while with women it’s closer to the back. It helps a bit lessen the inflections.

  8. I wonder how easy that is to apply when speaking. Actually, I have a book about accent & intonation which goes into some depth on the subject. Unfortunately, the Japanese in it is way beyond my current level. However, there are many illustrations showing how the different sounds of Japanese are produced. Worth a look..