I'm not sure if this is a useful question or not. But I was surprised to notice まさか (masaka) was using a single vowel (a) for the whole word. The surprise came from the connection to "bakana" (バカな) which apparently is two words, so never mind that.

I set out to discover more of these single-vowel words in Japanese, but I don't really know Japanese or how to search for such things. So I found a list of words and analyzed them here https://colab.research.google.com/drive/194vb5Ajw4mMlUcb1HqF4YF2aP1LjeVlS

This prints out:

Found 22 single column words

Which I guess is a cute tongue-twister. The question is - does this class of words have a name? Are these words more poetic in a way? Are there other, longer, words like this that I missed?

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  • 1
    まあ、わからなかったんだがなぁ。 ← You can even get whole sentences. :) – Eiríkr Útlendi Mar 26 at 5:02

Does this class of words have a name?

I don't think so. Do words like "banana" and "indivisibility" have a special name in English?

Are these words more poetic in a way?

As wordplay, a poem that contains many such words may exist somewhere, but it's not popular at all.

Are there other, longer, words like this that I missed?

Japanese has only 5 vowels, so there are tons of such examples. The "top 3000 words" list you used contain many words in kanji or katakana, which means you have already missed many simple words with only one vowel, such as 魚 (sa-ka-na, "fish"), 知識 (chi-shi-ki, "knowledge") and 男 (o-to-ko, "man"). If you don't know about kanji, please learn about the Japanese writing system first. They are not particularly difficult to pronounce to me, either.

In Japanese, it's not that difficult to construct a long sentence that contains only one vowel. I came up with this (28 o's):

O-o-zo-no Mo-mo-ko-no bo-ko-o no So-o ko-o-ko-o no ko-o-sho-o o o-o-o-o.
"Let's cover the emblem of Sō High School, Momoko Ōzono's alma mater."

EDIT: I made a longer example for fun (53 a's)


A-ma-ga-sa ga na-ka-tta ka-ra sa-sa-na-ka-tta-ra, a-sa ka-ra ka-ra-da ga ka-ta-ka-tta ga, ma-a ta-ta-ka-tta-ra ka-tta ka-ra, a-ka-ra-sa-ma-na sa wa na-ka-tta ka-na.

"I did not use an umbrella because I did not have one, so my body was stiff since this morning, but, well, I still fought and won, so I guess that made no obvious difference."

  • Love the long o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o example. :D – Eiríkr Útlendi Mar 26 at 5:00
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    「刀」か、片仮名なら「カ」かな。 Ka-ta-na ka, ka-ta-ka-na na-ra ka ka-na. "This letter is 刀 (katana), or if it's katakana, it's カ (ka), perhaps?" – naruto Mar 26 at 5:13
  • — Good stuff! 😆👍 – Eiríkr Útlendi Mar 26 at 5:41
  • I suspect such a feat is impossible in English. Thank you! – ubershmekel Mar 26 at 6:45
  • 4
    @ubershmekel or not...? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Univocalic – broccoli forest Mar 26 at 7:38

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