How can the well-known Tintin become タンタン rather than ティンティン in Japanese? Is it because ティンティン sounds like ちんちん?

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  • 5
    Think: How would one pronounce 'Tintin' in French? – Angelos Jan 22 '17 at 18:02
  • 1
    Lupin, Chopin, lingerie... – broken laptop Jan 23 '17 at 15:10
  • @brokenheadphones, thank you for that horrible mental image. :D – Eiríkr Útlendi Jan 23 '17 at 17:22

The タンタン rendering has a lot to do with the source French pronunciation, [[tɛ̃tɛ̃]]. The [[ɛ]] vowel in the International Phonetic Alphabet is the open-mid front unrounded vowel, halfway between [[a]] and [[e]]. The tilde ~ on top indicates nasalization, like a half-pronounced [[n]] after a vowel. To a Japanese ear (and, heck, even to my American English ear), [[tɛ̃tɛ̃]] sounds not too far from タンタン.

Avoiding the pronunciation [ちんちん]{chin chin} (slang for "penis") is a nice side bonus.

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