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How is the name 河内 pronounced, is it コーチ like 講師 = コーシ, or コウチ, like 子牛 = コウシ? I have checked this word in the 三省堂明解アクセント辞典 but cannot find it.

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Reading かわち is more common, in which case the pronunciation is clear, but I assume that you are asking about the pronunciation in the case where the reading of 河内 is こうち. Without any additional knowledge, I would probably pronounce it as コーチ, but I do not know if it is correct in every case. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 17 '13 at 13:50
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@Tsuyoshi Ito: I am interested in the following instance in particular: ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%B2%B3%E5%86%85%E6%A1%83%E5%AD%90 –  user18597 Feb 17 '13 at 14:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

As a name, it is up to the person how they pronounce it. A 戸籍謄本 does not record a reading for a kanji name. Depending on the city hall, most 住民票 now do provide a place to record how a name is to be read. However, that can be changed at will whenever a person desires it. Also, the reading does not have to be a normal reading; it can be nearly anything they wish as long as it is in modern kana. There are no restrictions to which kana readings can be used for any kanji. (The kanji itself, though, cannot be changed without court permission.)

That said, without any special circumstances, 河内 would normally be コーチ. This is an abbreviation of かわうち. The normal phonological development went as follows: kapauti > kaɸauti > kaɸuti > ka[w]uti > kauti > kɔːti > koːti [koːt͡ɕi].

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I disagree that “without any special circumstances, 河内 would normally be コーチ.” I think that 河内 is かわち most of the time (as I wrote in a comment on the question). I would assume pronunciation コーチ only if I know that the reading in kana is こうち but do not know the actual pronunciation. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 17 '13 at 22:01

For names you should use WWWJDIC or some other name dictionary because word dictionaries often don't have entry for them.

For the name above it have the following pronouncing way according to WWWJDIC:

河内 【かわち】 Kawachi (p,s) 【かわうち】 Kawauchi (p,s) 【こうち】 Kouchi (p,s) 【かわのうち】 Kawanouchi (p) 【こううち】 Kouuchi (s) 【はのい】 Hanoi (p)

In Japanese most Kanji's will have multiple pronunciation, and reversely, each name has many ways to write in Kanji. You should ask the person for the correct Kanji and pronunciation because there's no restriction on Kanji reading, so sometimes people "invent" a new way for their children

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The problem with this answer is that it still doesn't address as to whether こ is separated from う or not (which is why the questioner asked whether it's コー or コ・ウ) –  syockit Oct 8 '13 at 13:28

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