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I recently started to read 'Made in Abyss' and unfortunately is doesn't contain any furigana, which sometimes makes it hard for me to understand. So I came across the word 電報船, which refers to a mail ship, but since rendaku is a thing in japanese, the ふね might become ぶね. Or せん? Does anybody now how to pronounce the word properly (and why)?

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Looks like 電報船 is a made-up term that is unique to this manga, but since 電報 is an on-on compound (i.e., a kango), people usually expect 船 to be read せん, too. As this answer explains, せん is an on-reading and thus will not be voiced into ぜん.

  • On + せん: 連絡船【れんらくせん】, 貨物船【かもつせん】, 宇宙船【うちゅうせん】
  • Kun + ぶね: 屋形船【やかたぶね】, 箱船【はこぶね】, 乗合船【のりあいぶね】

That said, since this is a made-up term, it may have an unpredictable unique reading, so ultimately you have to look for the official reading. I found a seiyu read the term actually as でんぽうせん in this radio archive.

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This word does not appear in the standard dictionaries Kojien (広辞苑第六版), Daijisen (大辞泉), Daijiren (三省堂 スーパー大辞林), Shinmeikai (新明解国語辞典), nor in several online dictionaries I searched. It could be an extremely rare word, but it's also possible the word is a nonce which appears only in that source text. If it is a coined term, there wouldn't be an 'official' reading, and is probably contingent on the author's choice.

However, I think it would be either でんぽうせん or でんぽうぶね. From a linguistic point of view, the other option, でんぽうふね, is unlikely because the second word in the compound (ふね) is not a voiced obstruent. According to Tsujimura (An Introduction to Japanese Linguistics), only in the case of voiced obstruents is rendaku blocked in the second part of compound words.

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