6

In an artwork of a pokemon, Lunala in English, it is written ルナアーラ. Why, after the ナ, are there both an ア and a ー? It would just be pronounced as if any of those two were removed, so why are they both there?

  • 1
    Another example: 王{おう}を追{お}おう (う is read like ー in this) – siikamiika Aug 4 '17 at 22:45
  • @siikamiika so that's ou wo oou (read: oooooo). that's great. separate from this, I mean, it's Pokemon, so they can be named anything, really, but my first (and uneducated) guess would go to the fact that they really want to separate the two parts of what makes up ルナアーラ, in this case, ルナ・アーラ while keeping it cohesive as one word? (so without the dot in the middle dividing the word into two – psosuna Aug 4 '17 at 22:52
11

It would just be pronounced as if any of those two were removed

No, that's not true. Japanese people will pronounce ルナラ, ルナーラ and ルナアーラ very differently. ルナラ is 3 morae long, ルナーラ is 4 morae long, and ルナアーラ is 5 morae long. ルナアーラ would be approximated as "lunar, ah, rah." Forget how it has been translated in other languages for now.

This type of "double-elongated vowel" is uncommon, but can be seen in compound words whose element happens to contain an elongated vowel. ルナアーラ is probably etymologically ルナ (lunar, "moon") followed by アーラ (ala, "wing"), and is pronounced as such.

A similar example in native Japanese would be 大鬼 ("big ogre"), which is written as おおおに in hiragana. This お is three times as long as normal お. A great-aunt (parent's aunt) is 大叔母 (おおおば) in Japanese, and is pronounced very differently from 叔母 (おば, "aunt") or 大葉 (おおば, "big leaf").

Bonus: Some speakers may unconsciously use a glottal stop when saying words and phrases like ルナアーラ, 大叔母, いい色 or 王を追おう to indicate the second part is a separate component (although the glottal stop is usually not a distinguish feature in Japanese). Instead of a long continuous vowel, you may hear a slight "stop" between ルナ and アーラ, depending on the speaker.

  • Maybe depending how people "parse" word/morpheme boundaries may affect how they pronounce things too. For example, may 大鬼 get a pause/glottal stop like this おお.おに? – haksayng Aug 5 '17 at 4:06
  • Yes, although I don't know how many will do so. Pehaps when people say ルナアーラ slowly, the glottal stop is more likely used after ナ. – naruto Aug 5 '17 at 5:54
  • Are all "double-extensions" written like this, i.e., a vowel and a dash? Would two vowels, two dashes, or a dash and a vowel also be possible? (As in ルナアアラ, ルナーーラ, ルナーアラ) – Pedro A Aug 5 '17 at 13:57

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.