uun – ううん

ううん (“u-un”; “No”(informal))

This is a little bit tricky, but the way you say “no” ううん(u-un) informally in Japanese sounds very close to the way you informally say “yes” うん(un).

This is also pronounced with your lips closed (try saying “ooh-oon” with your lips closed). Whereas うん(un) is pronounced with a falling tone, ううん(u-un) has an rising tone on the first う(u), and a falling tone on the うん(un). Let’s see the example:

「 あなたはジョンですか?」

(“’a-na-ta wa jon de-su ka?”; “Are you John?”)


「 ううん、私はジョンではありません。」

(“’u-un, wa-ta-shi wa jon de wa a-ri-ma-sen.”; “No, I am not John.”)

It’s tricky to tell the difference at first, but if you practice listening to Japanese, you’ll get the hang of it!


PRACTICE: Use ううん (un) to answer negatively to a question.