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For words like パーティー (party), I know ー is doubling the ア and イ. But for a word like センセイ (and let's assume for the sake of argument that it is regularly spelled in katakana), would it be センセイ or センセー ?

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Do not know if duplicate of japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/5548/… . –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 21 '12 at 12:49
    
The title does not match the main text in the question. –  sawa Jun 21 '12 at 13:57
    
I don't understand. I was under the impression that センセイ and センセー sound completely different.. –  Chris Harris Jun 21 '12 at 15:35
    
@Chris How so? Even written in hiragana, you wouldn't explicitly pronounce the い。You would pronounce えい as if it was ええ. I am under the impression that regardless of whether or not it is written in hiragana or katakana that rule still holds. –  dotnetN00b Jun 21 '12 at 15:39
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@Chris The rule that changes ei to ee is an obligatory rule (with some restrictions). –  sawa Jun 21 '12 at 15:52
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The fact is, 先生 is not regularly written in katakana in the first place, so there is no authentic guideline that tells you which is correct. If you are going to write it in katakana, there must be an unusual purpose for doing it. If that purpose is to indicate that you just don't/can't use kanji, then センセイ would be appropriate. If the purpose is that you wanted to make it look like it is pronounced by a foreigner or a robot, then センセー might be more appropriate.

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Is there an unofficial guideline/rule, colloquialism, or normal-everyday pattern? –  dotnetN00b Jun 21 '12 at 19:17
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@dotnetN00b You do not seem to understand my answer. –  sawa Jun 22 '12 at 2:11
    
Well, I guess not. –  dotnetN00b Jun 22 '12 at 3:28
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