Is Obama’s pronunciation of the word ‘Hiroshima’ right?

The Japanese language generally doesn't have accented syllables, meaning each part of the word usually gets an equal weight in sound.

By: AP | Toyko | Published: May 27, 2016 10:37 am
hiroshima, hiroshima bombings, japan hiroshima, obama, barack obama, obama hiroshima visit, hiroshima memorial, atomic bombings hiroshima nagasaki, hiroshima pronounciation, japan news, world news, latest news But that is still a bit different from the gently flat Japanese pronunciation of Hiroshima, “Hee-roh-shee-mah,” which means “broad island.” (Source: Reuters)

The way some Americans used to pronounce Hiroshima, the city where an atomic bomb was dropped in the closing days of World War II, “HEE-roh-SHEE-mah,” sounds a bit foreign to the Japanese ear.

The Japanese language generally doesn’t have accented syllables, meaning each part of the word usually gets an equal weight in sound.

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These days, many people put the accent on the second syllable, which makes it closer to the Japanese pronunciation. That’s the way President Barack Obama, scheduled to visit the southwestern Japanese city Friday, says it: “Hee-ROH-shee-mah.”

But that is still a bit different from the gently flat Japanese pronunciation of Hiroshima, “Hee-roh-shee-mah,” which means “broad island.”

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