Why do Japanese people pronouce the word "Mach" as マッハ instead of マッカ?

  • 4
    If you mean this guy, it is just because マッハ is closer to the German pronunciation. Similarly for バッハ/Bach.
    – sundowner
    Apr 16 at 12:26
  • 1
    I wonder why English speakers don't pronounce the final sound of van Gogh the same way as the final sound of Bach.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 16 at 16:19
  • 3
    @aguijonazo To the English ear, van Gogh and Bach don't quite sound the same. The "gh" is somehow breathier. But, there are folks who pronounce it as "van Goff" others as "van Goe". It's English, so there's usually very little logic in how we borrow pronunciations from other languages.
    – A.Ellett
    Apr 16 at 18:26
  • 1
    Why do English speakers pronounce the word 酒 as if it was the word 先?
    – Leebo
    Apr 16 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


'Mach' is a German word. In German it is pronounced either as /max/ with /x/ or /maχ/ with /χ/, a voiceless velar fricative and voiceless uvular fricative respectively. These sounds tend to sound much like /h/ or /k/ to people who don't speak languages that have them; indeed, with Spanish words like 'José', English speakers do tend to use /h/ rather than /k/. We don't use it in Bach because English doesn't allow syllable-final H, but Japanese doesn't allow most consonants in the coda anyway.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .