Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Some speakers of Japanese pronounce 場合【ばあい】 as ばわい. Do those speakers also pronounce similar /Caai/ words like 他愛【たあい】 and 間合い【まあい】 differently? (I've seen たわいない listed as an alternate reading for 他愛ない, but not たわい for 他愛.)

I can't think of any longer words that have -aai(-), but if there are any, would people who say ばわい also pronounce those words with -awai(-)?

share|improve this question
As a reverse scenario, I've heard some people pronounce 味わう as アジアウ. – istrasci May 14 '14 at 15:02

Such 'ai-to-wai' euphonic changes seem to be, to some extent, common in Japanese.


However, I'm afraid I really don't know whether someone around me is pronouncing 他愛 as たわい, 具合 as ぐわい, etc. As a native Japanese speaker, I think I can't even notice such 'ai-to-wai' euphonic changes in daily conversations. Someone more sensitive than me might have different impression about this.

One exception I can think of is Japanese family name 河合, which is definately pronounced as "かわい", and its correct furigana is even かわい.

(To make sure, correct furigana of 場合 is always ばあい, no matter how some people pronounce this differently.)


I pronounced "具合わるい" or "場合わけの計算" quickly for several times, and to my surprise, I found myself unconsciously inserting trace "w" sound before '-ai'!

share|improve this answer
Did the pronunciation of 河合 not come from 川{かわ} + 合{あ}い -> かわあい -> かわい? – user54609 May 14 '14 at 8:12
@user54609 You mean 河合 is not a good example because 河【かわ】 contains 'W' sound by itself? Probably you're right, but I'm not sure about its origin. – naruto May 14 '14 at 8:23
Yeah. That's what I meant. – user54609 May 14 '14 at 10:18
Also, 具合わるい is a bad example since [ua] naturally glides to [uwa]. – user54609 May 14 '14 at 10:19

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.