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29

In modern Japanese these pairs are pronounced exactly the same: ず, づ are pronounced either [dzu] or [zu]. じ, ぢ are pronounced either [dʑi] or [ʑi]. (the first sounding like the English J and the second like the French J, but both are with the middle of the tongue raised to the hard palate, producing what seems like a softer pronunciation). So in short, ...


28

I have a book in my university library that has a 100-odd page article dedicated to these mute vowels, and it still doesn't seem to give a complete picture. So unfortunately, this feature of Japanese phonology is quite complex. Still, there's a rather simple rule of thumb that can point you to most of the places where muting may occur (and in most of them ...


27

This question should be broken into two different questions: When and how did small-tsu come to represent consonant gemination. When and how did consonant gemination (as represented by small-tsu) came to be in Japanese. (For those who don't know the term: gemination simply means doubling of sounds, usually consonants. It's easy to get the sense ...


22

The sound you hear in HI is not really a "sh" (as the English "sh"), but neither is the sound SHI an "sh". While it's very easy to learn to pronounce Japanese sufficiently, Japanese pronunciation does have its quirks, and you have to get used to it. The "sh" situation (or fricative situation, as we'd call it in linguistics lingo) is one of them. Let's first ...


20

Short answer: The allowed pronunciations depends somewhat on the word origin. For Sino-Japanese words (漢語), such as 英語<えいご> or 先生<せんせい>, the underlying vowel sequence is always ええ, but can be pronounced as either えい or ええ (despite its native orthography being <えい>). Most Yamato (和語) words are the same as the Sino-Japanese words, but in some cases ...


15

In reference to Sawa's request for an example, キャンディ is a case of キャ being used to transcribe English ca. I asked my Japanese teacher exactly this question many years ago. The reply was that the vowel in English candy is higher (in phonetic terms) than the low front vowel in RP English cast. The fact that キャ is palatalised raises the vowel and makes it ...


14

Why is it pronounced "yen"? I was actually wondering this a month or so ago, but found the answer on the Wikipedia article for yen/en. The spelling and pronunciation "yen" is standard in English. This is because mainly English speakers who visited Japan at the end of the Edo period to the early Meiji period spelled words this way. ... In the 16th ...


13

I think you're not really talking about puns here, but about something that's somewhat related, but still quite different: you're talking about slips-of-tongue (いいまちがい) that accidentally turn out to mean something else. Puns are quite different, since they are always intentional, and they can have multiple meanings either because they sound the same as ...


13

As @sawa posted with the link in the comment, sometimes words have exceptional readings when in compound form. 白(しろ) is the colour white, but in certain compound words it has the reading しら. Exs: しらゆき → pure white snow しらさぎ → white heron しらが → white (grey) hair


10

1)Yes, an international standardized character alphabet exists for transcribing the sounds of all human Languages. It's called the International Phonetic Alphabet and it is maintained by the International Phonetic Association (both are acronymized as IPA). The most recent version of the alphabet was created 1969 and their most recent and currently operative ...


9

It is たいおうずみ. More generally, the suffix 済 or 済み is read as ずみ. This is an example of rendaku.


9

Sequential voicing (called 連濁【れんだく】 in Japanese) isn't predictable, but there are rules that describe when it's "blocked"--in other words, when it's much less likely to occur. None of these rules are absolutes, though, and we can find some exceptions. Reduplication commonly results in sequential voicing: 黒々    (くろぐろ) 人々    (ひとびと) 華々しい  (はなばなしい) それぞれ  ...


8

I hate to turn these questions into the sawa and Matt show, but here are a couple of interesting ones that are still "in progress": 雰囲気 = ふんいき → ふいんき Dictionaries still list the pronunciation as "ふんいき", although some will give "ふいんき" as an alternate version, but spoken Japanese is clearly moving towards ふいんき. According to 日本国語大辞典, Yamaguchi Nakami ...


8

I think it comes from 撮影【さつえい】 where つ becomes ちゅ for some reason (slang?). A bit like おやちゅみなさい. Seems to me that さちゅえい refers to 撮影会 events. There are many types of 撮影会 but the main ones are for amateur photographers to meet, to take a picture with a character or model, to create publicity with an open photoshoot, or to recruit new models. They are ...


8

It really all depends on how you define preservation, and whether you consider the Ryukyuan languages (such as Okinawan) separate languages or dialects of Japanese, since ゑ and ゐ are used in some Ryukyuan spelling systems (other systems use other conventions such as writing these sounds as うぇ and うぃ). There are one or two problems with considering that as a ...


8

This is the result of a well known devoicing rule in Japanese. Devoicing means that there is no vibration of the vocal folds. For example, the difference between [s] and [z] is only that [z] is voiced. The IPA diacritic for devoiced phones is a circle at the bottom of the glyph e.g. [z̥]=[s]. Although there is still much dialectal, idiolectal (the way a ...


8

Did 母 undergo ハ行転呼 and then change (back) to /haha/? Yes, it did become hawa (or rather ɸawa) before changing back. You may find citations here.


7

The question is ambiguous. Are you looking for a word with two pronunciations, or a word with two pronunciations with slightly different nuances? – Tsuyoshi Ito 5 hours ago @TsuyoshiIto: The former. – Andrew Grimm 5 hours ago Since it appears from these comments that you are just looking for words with 2 (or more) pronunciations, then, yes, there ...


7

This is what you're looking for: International Phonetic Alphabet


6

Yes, accents change when words are combined/conjugated/etc. I'm not sure if there are any truly sentence-level phenomena, but there is definitely more going on than just "words have the same accent all the time". The NHK dictionary does include a fair bit of information about these rules. To take your examples -- here are some answers I got from consulting ...


6

The せい of 先生 is a good example of 長音{ちょうおん} (a long vowel). While it is written as せい , in reality it is pronounced as セー with a エー sound (not a エイ sound). Other examples include: Kanji hiragana prononciation ----- -------- ------------- 映画  えいが エーガ 英語  えいご  エーゴ 時計  とけい  トケー 丁寧  ていねい テーネー Another example of a 長音 that is ...


6

Why is 味わわせる often pronounced as 味あわせる? I can only speculate that this is a kind of onbin to ease pronunciation. The two medial approximates /w/ are only separated by a vowel. Approximates, also known as semi-vowels, share some similarities with vowels. The reduction of one in rapid speech is small while still understandable. The reduction of the first ...


6

There are some significant differences between Kansai-ben and what you see in textbooks, I'm not sure where you would get the idea that the only difference was in pitch emphasis. There are some very significant pitch-differences, but that's not the only change. (Personally, I felt the pitch changes were much easier to notice in Kyoto, but that might have ...


6

I think it's fairly widely acknowledged that Middle Japanese introduced syllable-final /m/, /n/ and /t/ because of Chinese loanwords, and that first the /m/ and /n/ merged into /N/, later /t/ turned into /tu/. I think you are right that syllable-final /t/ has never existed in native Japanese vocabulary.


6

I don't know if @l'électeur's comments were rhetorical or otherwise, but I only find the poem as 若葉 (not 落葉) and written by 蕪村 (not 芭蕉). Here's a more reliable reference from 青空文庫 蕪村には直ちに若葉を詠じたるもの十余句あり。皆若葉の趣味を発揮せり。例、 [...] をちこちに滝の音聞く若葉かな [...] It might not be relevant any longer, but the historical spelling for the お in おちる was just お, and not ...


5

Intervocalic ん is usually pronounced as a nasalized version of the preceding vowel, so in this case [ã]. This would lead to a pronunciation of ワンマン運転を (I'm adding the を from the clip, since otherwise I wouldn't be able to determine the pronunciation of the last ん in 運転) sounding something like [wa.m.ma.ã.u.n.te.ẽ.o] (dots between morae, tilde over a ...


5

According to "Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: Japanese" by Hideo Okada, /ɽ/ is pronounced postalveolar in place rather than retroflex[...]. Initially and after /ɴ/, it is typically an affricate with short friction, . In a more Unicode-friendly notation, this could be transcribed as [ɖɻ̝̆] (where again, these aren't really retroflex ...



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