The system of abstract sounds (phonemes) used to encode the language, as opposed to the actual technical details of how to produce these sounds.

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0answers
114 views

Japanese: “osowarata”?

These are the lyrics to a metal song about Lovecraft's The Dunwich Horror. The band tends go Classical for effect (cf. the refrain at the end: 闇にこぞりて / 我が主来ませり …). The first verse is transcribed in ...
4
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4answers
250 views

Does Japanese have a silent ん?

Often, I can't hear ん in words. Most recently I've seen this in 攻殻機動隊. Examples: もう少し詳しい検査をしてみないと何とも言えませんが、おそらく外的な要因は見つかりそうもありません... 要因 sounds like ようい しくじれば、Spring-8の4倍の税金をかけた橋を… Sounds like ぜいき ...
4
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0answers
156 views

Japanese Phonology - nasal glides

For my phonology homework, we're given the nasals [n] [m] [η] and nasalized glides [w] and [j]. From the data, I've found that [n] and [m] are phonemes and [η] is an allophone of /n/. What I can't ...
5
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3answers
193 views

What's the relationship between 'e' and 'wa' in some words?

Can someone explain how 'e' and 'wa' are related in some words / 音便? Presumably the 'e' was originally the obsolete ゑ since it's in the ワ行. Some examples: 上(うえ) ←→ 上着(うわ・ぎ) 声(こえ) ←→ ...
8
votes
1answer
192 views

Are there any rules governing voicing in words formed via reduplication?

Consider the following words: 燦々 sansan 散々 sanzan Both of them are formed via the reduplication of san, but the latter word has the second instance voiced, while the former doesn't. Was there ...
2
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1answer
111 views

Pronunciation of ワンマン運転

I hear ワンマン運転 as ワンマウンテン, with the ん of マン dissapearing, or perhaps being very soft. Here's an example:http://youtu.be/DZnuH1XkE7s?t=49s Another question shows that there can be something ...
9
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1answer
183 views

「はは」(母) and ハ行転呼

It occurred to me the other day that if ハ行転呼 had affected all applicable environments without exception, 母 /haha/ (or I guess properly it was /ɸaɸa/, right?)should have become /hawa/. The Japanese ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

Syllable final -t in early modern Japanese?

There is an unsourced claim in the Wikipedia article on Early Modern Japanese that its phonology admitted syllable-final /t/. This seems unlikely, since to my knowledge all reconstructions going back ...
2
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2answers
344 views

Does an international OR standardized phonetic alphabet/notation system exist to depict all the Hiragana/Katakana sounds?

Are there written systems (preferably international & standardized) that you can use to depict how to pronounce any word from Japanese and any language. Something similar to Romaji but one that ...
14
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2answers
669 views

Rules for emphasizing by lengthening sounds

Sometimes, sounds are lengthened for emphasis. For example, see "とっても versus とても". What are the rules governing this process? Are there restrictions on where lengthening can be inserted? とっても or ...
14
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5answers
678 views

Except for pitch, what are the differences in pronunciation between Kansaiben and Tokyoben?

I have tried to ask people this type of question on many occasions and the answer is always the same, but people are notoriously bad at evaluating their own language, so I ask here: Apart for pitch, ...
9
votes
1answer
391 views

Is accent position predictable for -i verbs in Osaka/Kansai?

Background While I'm not especially confident about the reliability of my sources (Wikipedia (0) (1) (2) and some guys' personal websites), and it's possible that I transcribed some of these wrong, ...
17
votes
3answers
943 views

How 「えい」 should be pronounced in the words like 英語, 先生, etc?

P.S.: I heard that 「生」 (せい) in the word 先生 can be pronounced either as [sei] or as [see]. If it is so, is there any semantic difference between these variants?
6
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1answer
582 views

しらゆきひめ 'Snow White'

I am trying to understand the title of a tale. しろ 'white' ゆき 'snow' ひめ 'princess' しらゆきひめ 'Snow White' If white is しろ, why is 'Snow White' not しろゆきひめ?
7
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2answers
343 views

Utterance initial [ɾ]

According to The sounds of Japanese (Vance 2008): When /ɾ/ is the first phoneme in an utterance, the tip of the tongue is already resting lightly on the alveolar ridge, and /ɾ/ is produced by ...
4
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3answers
1k views

How and when to use せや and its variants in Kansai-ben?

Here in Kansai I hear せや, せやねん, and せやな everywhere. I was wondering if anyone could clarify the meaning and usage of these, as well as their equivalent in more standard Japanese? Additionally, are ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Why is the Japanese currency pronounced “yen” in English?

I'm wondering what the reason for the mispronunciation of 円 in English came to be "yen". I can understand how some words like 東京 became "Tokyo", but "en" to "yen" seems strange. On a side note, why is ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

Contraction of や, the variant of は

In an answer to this question, Tsuyoshi Ito correctly points out that you can sometimes change the consonant や, a variant of は, into a glide but sometimes you cannot. 聞きやしない 聞きゃ(ー)しない  ...
11
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4answers
1k views

Pronunciation of す in です and the end of ます verbs

I've always been curious about the pronunciation of the す in です and at the end of 〜ます verbs. Most commonly the "u" sound is inaudible, but sometimes by some people it's more pronounced, and some ...
13
votes
1answer
405 views

Why is English “ka” and “ca” sometimes rendered as キャ (kya) instead of カ (ka)?

I sometimes see that English ka and ca are rendered キャ (kya) instead of カ (ka). Why is this? Do English ka and ca really sound more like kya than ka, at least to Japanese listeners? (I know it ...
2
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1answer
102 views

味わわせる vs. 味あわせる

Why is 味わわせる often pronounced as 味あわせる? What makes the former form unnatural, and what is the mechanism that changes it to the latter form? In the first place, what it the -waw- attached to aji ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

What is the most common way to pronounce 運?

So 運 is spelled うん, but I seem to hear most of my friends pronounce it as あん. My friends and family are 20-60 years of age and come from mostly Tokyo and Ibaraki area. I am living in the US now and so ...
12
votes
2answers
440 views

“y”-sound insertion after intervocalic ん

The pronunciation of intervocalic ん is a topic by itself, with the surrounding vowels tending to become nasalized, and ん itself maybe being pronounced as a nasal vowel. But that's not what I'm asking ...
12
votes
1answer
515 views

Sentence level pitch accent for 標準語

I was wondering if anybody had any references (preferably freely available) or insights that explain 標準語 (or should I say 関東語) sentence-level pitch accent. I already have a dictionary which describes ...
7
votes
1answer
157 views

Pronunciation of 対応済

Is the pronunciation of 対応済 たいおうすみ or たいおうずみ ? Context: Software Example: ユーザが押したときに問題が起こらないように対応済
8
votes
1answer
553 views

What does こまけー mean?

Does anybody have a clue what こまけー might mean? Below are some sentences for context and the phrase as it's used: まじめでおカタい感じの女子大生は、やたらとわたしを目を敵にしてきた。わたしが何をやっても文句をつけてくる。「しょうゆの向きは、こうじゃなくてこう!」って こまけー ...
3
votes
1answer
258 views

やってもた → やってしまった? What is the grammatical rule behind this?

I recently saw 「やってもた」 used in a Japanese conversation, I don't remember the context exactly, it was something like: 久々にやってもた。 After asking my Japanese friend, it turns out to be some kind of ...
8
votes
2answers
506 views

Are there many words that have the same pronunciation ambiguity as Nihon/Nippon?

Wikipedia says that 日本 can be pronounced either [にっぽん]{nippon} or [にほん]{nihon}. Does this ambiguity in pronunciation happen with other words? If so, does it only happen with words that originated ...
7
votes
1answer
261 views

Words with metathesis

What common Japanese words underwent metathesis (transposition of sounds)? Examples. 新{あたら}しい < あらたしい 秋葉原 {あきはばら} < あきばはら
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votes
1answer
330 views

What does さちゅえい mean?

I can't find this in any dictionary, but it seems to mean something like picture. Is that right? I don't have an example sentence, because that word was the whole sentence.
14
votes
2answers
445 views

Exceptional compounding forms

There are a number of Japanese words which have distinct compounding forms: -a/-e alternation: 天・雨、酒、上、風、目 — many examples. -u/-i alternation: 神([神]{かむ}[集]{つど}ふ)、月([月]{つく}[読]{よみ}) -o/-i alternation: ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

バカヤロウ to バゲロ [mature content]

Note: This question may contain wordings that may be considered rude to some, so proceed with open mind and caution. One of the legacies of Japanese colonization in my country during WW2 is a rude ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Actual phonetic realization of “devoiced” vowels

Descriptions of Japanese phonology (such as Wikipedia's) usually describe high vowels between voiceless consonants (or word-finally) as "devoiced". For example, the pronunciation of ⟨圧⟩ 'pressure' and ...
19
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6answers
2k views

Why the “H” is pronounced as “Sh” in some cases?

My first question is about the rules of pronunciation of the letter "H". Some people pronounce the "H" as if it were "Sh". For example, "Shijutsu" instead of "Hijutsu", or "Shiyori" instead of ...
15
votes
2answers
955 views

Is Japanese particularly good for punning/spoonerisms? If so, why?

Today I was laughing my heads off reading puns at 言いまつがい, which is a collection of user-contributed accidental puns and other mistakes. It struck me that I never experienced this kind of ...
29
votes
3answers
6k views

What are the differences between じ and ぢ, and ず and づ?

The Japanese hiragana and katakana syllabaries can mostly be described as phonetic. But there are two exceptions, the two pairs of syllables modified to be voiced with the dakuten diacritic which ...
31
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the rules regarding “mute vowels” (“u” after “s” and “i” after “sh”)?

When you first begin to learn Japanese you are taught that Japanese has no stress and each syllable should be pronounced equally. You also learn that certain vowels are not pronounced, or only ...
28
votes
4answers
1k views

How did “little tsu” become a lengthener?

How did it come about historically that っ preceding a sound would geminate it? Is it really a little つ or are they just near homomorphs?
9
votes
1answer
411 views

In which dialects have the sounds “ゐ” (wi) and “ゑ” (we) been preserved, and are their kana still occasionally seen?

In Nate Glenn's answer to bdonlan's qestion "Why were ゐ and ゑ eliminated?" he states: "Wi" and "we" are still in some dialects, but standard Japanese does not have those sounds. My question is ...