Question: How is the 艶肌 in 艶肌メイク ("glossy skin make-up") pronounced?

Context: An Instagram influencer used 艶肌メイク in one of their posts.

Background: I struggle with newly coined Japanese terms on social media - whether or not they are accepted by the larger Japanese population - because I haven't heard them pronounced and they are not typically accompanied by furigana. The 艶肌 in 艶肌メイク is one such case.

My two attempts at an answer: 艶肌 is read as either 「えんき」 (音読み) or 「あではだ・つやはだ」 (訓読み).

How I landed at my answer: A 漢語 word often (but not always) dictates an 音読み pronunciation, does it not? If so, then Japanese words that are not native 大和言葉 might possibly follow such a rule. In the case of my question, the presence of メイク, a non-native word, might force the reading of 艶肌 to be 音読み rather than 訓読み. The other possibility is that Japanese youth (like the Instagram influencer mentioned above) might use 訓読み more often for words that they themselves coin, hence my second possible answer.

Thoughts: I once asked a native if there was a way to guess the reading of an unfamiliar word. She replied something to the effect of 「やっぱり慣れしかない」. I suspect this is the case with my question.

Final note: This is my first post. I'll apply any criticism related to question formatting/phrasing or doing ample research beforehand to my future questions. よろしくお願いいたします。

  • 4
    サイトへようこそ!日本人は「肌にツヤがある」とよく表現すると思います。個人的には、[艶肌]{つやはだ}はマーケティングの文脈、製品のパッケージとかでよく見る気がします。この解釈で、二人の回答にも当てはまるかと思います。私は洗顔フォームとかを買いに行く時じやない限り、[艶肌]{つやはだ}は見かけないかな。 – kimi Tanaka Mar 12 at 10:06
  • なるほど。ご説明いただきありがとうございました。「肌にツヤがある」という表現も考慮に入れておかせていただきます。 – HelloSekai Mar 13 at 23:36

A quick google search reveals that ツヤ肌 is another common spelling for the word that you're looking for. Furthermore, on youtube you can find videos of youtubers enunciating the word as ツヤハダ (see for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12BUWKAlYSk).

As for the broader question of guessing the reading of a neologism, I guess there are not set rules.

A lot of neologisms in Japanese are formed by contracting two preexisting words (ex: 学割 <- 学生割引). In that case one can look at the readings of the original words to recover the reading.

But when this not the case, a good rule of thumb could be to simply look at the most common readings of the kanjis. I'm not a native speaker but it seems to me that 艶 occurs more frequently as an isolated character, and hence is more frequently read as ツヤ. In jisho.org, in almost all the compound words I could find containing 肌, the kunyomi ハダ is used, making ツヤハダ the most probable reading.

  • Thank you for your clear answer as well as input on the broader question of guessing at the readings of neologisms (that's the word!). I'm quite embarrassed for not doing that google search before asking my question. I will make sure to do this before posting another. – HelloSekai Mar 11 at 21:57

Just to complete the answer from grove. 艶肌 is actually referenced by dictionaries as つやはだ.

つやはだ (知恵蔵の解説) うるおい感、パール感、素肌感など様々な質感で演出するつややかな肌をいう。パール感のあるベースで明るくソフトなつや感を演出した肌のこと。かさつきがなく、しっとりとしたベースでうるおいのあるつや感を演出するつや肌、素肌のような薄づき感でつややかさを演出するつや肌などつや肌といっても微妙な質感が存在しており、生き生きとしたイメージ、上品なイメージ、健康感のあるイメージなど様々である。また、つや肌は顔全体の立体感までも演出する。つやのない肌はメリハリがなく、のっぺりした印象に見えがちである。 これらのイメージや質感を実現するものがベースメーキャップ類の化粧品である。様々な種類の化粧下地、ファンデーション、白粉などの化粧品とメーキャップテクニックによって実現される。 (高須恵美子 資生堂ビューティーソリューション開発センター長 / 2008年)

  • Thank you 永劫回帰. I will add kotobank.jp to my list of reference dictionaries. The references that I use, tanoshiijapanese.com and japandict.com, rightfully don't seem to be as extensive in their vocabulary entries as .jp dictionaries. – HelloSekai Mar 11 at 22:01

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