3

What's the phonetic difference between toraianguru (トライアングル, the correct word in Japanese) and torayanguru (トラヤングル)? Do they both sound the same and it's purely a matter of orthography, or is there some deeper difference?

2

In short, they don't sound the same: [ト]{to}[ラ]{ra}[イ]{i}[ア]{a}[ン]{n}[グ]{gu}[ル]{ru} sounds closer to the pronunciation of the English source term. The /aia/ vowel combination (as /a i a/) makes a clear analog of the English /aia/ pronunciation (as /aɪ æ/ for the i and a in the middle of triangle).

Meanwhile, [ト]{to}[ラ]{ra}[ヤ]{ya}[ン]{n}[グ]{gu}[ル]{ru} has no /ai/ combination at all, and doesn't sound as close to the English term.

(Musings: rather than [ト]{to}[ラ]{ra}[ヤ]{ya}[ン]{n}[グ]{gu}[ル]{ru}, a closer phonetic match might be [ト]{to}[ラ]{ra}[イ]{i}[エ]{e}[ン]{n}[グ]{gu}[ル]{ru}.)

  • 1
    That phonetic for 'triangle' might be true for America, but certainly not for (most parts of) Britain. – Aeon Akechi Feb 2 '16 at 23:48
  • @Nothingatall -- If you mean the /aɪ æ/ for the i and a in the middle of triangle, how would other British accents pronounce this? C.f. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/triangle#Pronunciation. – Eiríkr Útlendi Feb 2 '16 at 23:59
  • 3
    The a in triangle is generally /a/ in British accents; トライアングル is perfect fit, whereas トライエングル would sound off. – Aeon Akechi Feb 3 '16 at 1:36
  • 2
    It's actually /æ/ in British accents. See the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. – snailcar Feb 3 '16 at 19:43
  • @snailboat In traditional RP, yes, but most modern British accents have /a/. – Aeon Akechi Feb 5 '16 at 17:09
2

A part of the reason is nontransparent transcriptions are generally not approved in Japanese. The word triangle obviously splits up into tri + angle, thus we favor the spelling トライ{tri} + アングル{angle}, which reminds us of the original breakpoint. If English triangle should sound トラヤングル (while it doesn't to me), I don't think much people write it directly under today's convention.

The rule holds true even if syllable linking occurs, such as: ログ{log}イン{in}, キック{kick}オフ{off}, ポップ{pop}アップ{up} etc. There are indeed some usages in blogosphere that like ホッテントリ "hot entry" or プラギン "plugin", but they're all intended geekish slangs.

In this post @istrasci has suggested, you can see some exceptions like パイナップル{pineapple} and ラインナップ{lineup} (and ランナウェイ{runaway}, ワンナウト{one out} etc.), yet they're only allowed in n + vowel environment.

PS
I don't know if this is trivial enough, but, purely from Japanese standpoint, トライアングル and トラヤングル would not sound the same. The former is seven morae long, the latter six.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.