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So I'm aware that transcription into Japanese is not always clear-cut, and there are plenty of exceptions. It sort of makes sense that "Australia" is オーストラリア not *オーストレリア and "stadium" is スタジアム not *ステージアム, perhaps because those are partial transliteration, not pure transcription. But why is "studio" スタジオ? Shouldn't it be at least be something like *ストジオ? Or are dictionaries wrong about its actual etymology (i.e. from English)?

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The combination tu in some words is rendered as タ. As far as I can remember now, ト is not used.

  • bathtub バスタブ
  • study スタディー
  • tuck タック
  • tumbler タンブラー

In addition, etymology of studio is the same as that of study (from Lantin studium). To my ears, ストジオ and スタジオ are equally bad as the phonetic approximation of studio, but somehow スタジオ is at least understandable for those who already know the facts above. スツジオ might have been another possible option (two /tu/ is ツー, tool /tuːl/ is ツール), but I find it hard to pronounce.

Most people today understand the sounds /tu/ and /di/ that appear in loanwords (See: What "non-standard" katakana are commonly used?), but these were not available in the past. Had this word been introduced firstly in the 21 century, it would have been ストゥディオ.

  • /di/ > ジ makes sense, because ジ natively occurs. But /tu:/ > タ doesn't really, unless it was confused with "study". Then again スタディ is not even used that much (not found in Kokugo Daijiten, barely legit-looking in other dictionaries), and it contains ディ not ジ, so it could either be a mere rendition (not an actual word), or an actual word but a much more recent one. – Vun-Hugh Vaw Oct 12 '17 at 6:36
  • Coincidentally, stadium is romanized as スタジアム and not ステージアム. There are just some loanwords that do not necessarily follow an expected spelling pronunciation. – keithmaxx Oct 12 '17 at 7:08

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