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(-)?

  • 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
  • Also sometimes ばやい. – user1478 Aug 19 '18 at 20:12

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 a different impression about this.

One exception I can think of is Japanese family name 河合, which is definitely pronounced "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'!

  • 4
    Did the pronunciation of 河合 not come from 川{かわ} + 合{あ}い -> かわあい -> かわい? – ithisa 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. – ithisa May 14 '14 at 10:18
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    Also, 具合わるい is a bad example since [ua] naturally glides to [uwa]. – ithisa May 14 '14 at 10:19
  • I was really excited when I realized that 可愛い(かわいい)seems to be an example of exactly this phenomenon, but 広辞苑 says that 可愛い is 当て字 and that in any case the original pronunciation was カワユイ. I just wanted to add this comment in case anyone is making a similar connection (and because I suspect there really are other examples of this sort of thing). – どっかのおっさん Feb 6 '20 at 20:41

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