Frozen's Japanese name is more similar to what Frozen's original name was supposed to be: アナと雪の女王 but not アンナと雪の女王.

I tried looking up about アナ vs アンナ for Frozen, and there are a lot posts, but of course they're in Japanese (otherwise, this post wouldn't exist). 1 of the posts I understood albeit just a bit is アナと雪の女王(frozen)のアナ(anna)は正確にはアンナじゃないのですか? An answer appears to use 'channel' as an example which is チャネル not チャンネル




Not sure what to make of this. Actually, 'channel' I know is ちゃんねる as in らっきー☆ちゃんねる from Lucky Star (らき☆すた) - and I'm realising just now this is hiragana not katakana.

  1. Why is Anna here 1 n?

  2. Is this specific to the Norwegian Anna as opposed to the usual English Anna, which, what, would be 2 n's?

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    forvo.com/word/anna British Anna sounds アナ, American Anna sounds エナ, Norwegian Anna sounds アンナ to my ears. (But why Norwegian? Is she from Norway?)
    – naruto
    Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 1:30

1 Answer 1


This is an interesting question, but it has more to do with English and its phonology than it does Japanese. I think those Japanese users on Yahoo who state they hear 「アナ」 in the English version of the movie pretty much hit it on the mark.

tl;dr: You don't nasalize the first vowel /æ/ when pronouncing that name in English, unlike some other languages, thus creating a difference between translations of that name from various languages, represented by that ン.

English is not a nasal language, as is often said about the language when compared to other similarly widely spoken languages like French or Portuguese. Yes, it's true English doesn't have fully nasalized vowels as French, Portuguese, and some other languages do. But there's a twist: partial nasalization of vowels does occur in English. Let me give you a few examples to illustrate this point which I think any fluent speaker of English will get.

  • ME /mi/
    When you say this word, you simply go from the consonant /m/ to the vowel /i/ and there is nothing to follow /i/ which brings up the rear. There is no nasality involved after /m/. When executing the vowel all air goes through the mouth.

  • MEAN /min/
    When you say this word, you go from /m/ to /i/, and then conclude with the nasal /n/. The magic happens before you go into nasal mode. Most English speakers, when they get ready for the nasal consonant, partially nasalize the preceding vowel, which in this case is /i/. The nasal flap in the back of your mouth, situated around the soft palate, diverts the air and channels part of it to the nasal passage. Try and pronounce it a few times and you will get the idea.

  • MEANING /ˈminɪŋ/
    When you pronounce this word, the partial nasalization process that happens with "mean" doesn't happen here, because of this other phenomenon in English: partial nasalization doesn't occur in the same word if the only sound between them is a nasal consonant. So with "meaning" you don't nasalize the /i/. In fact it is an often heard mistake from English learners to nasalize vowels in words like this.

  • PAINTING /ˈpeɪntɪŋ/ 
    Again nasalization is possible here because between /eɪ/ and /ɪ/ there are two consonants now /nt/ and there is a break after the nasal /n/. And thus partial nasalization can occur with the diphthong /eɪ/.

* Note: I borrowed Macmillan English Dictionary's phonetic symbols which might deviate ever so slightly from the standard IPA but that's really not important here.

Back to Anna. The pronunciation of the name Anna /ˈænə/ follows the same rules (I say rules but these things are descriptive, namely they describe how natural speech is). That tells us you don't nasalize the first vowel and you shouldn't add an extra ン when you transcribe it in Japanese, which is exactly what the translators did here. It is a clear-cut /æ/ + /nə/. And that's why to a lot of Japanese ears it sounds like アナ, as it should.

In comparison, the name Anna (Анна) is pronounced differently in Russian with distinct nasalization. Listen to this. That's why the Japanese title of Leo Tolstoy's «Анна Каренина» is アンナ・カレーニナ.

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    I think there's also a point to be made here about timing as well. アナ is a two-morae word, アンナ is three morae, which means アンナ actually takes 50% longer to say and the "n" is much more drawn out. When people pronounce the name "Anna" in English, they generally pronounce it as two (quick) syllables, which means they actually pronounce アナ ("a-na"). アンナ is actually a longer pronunciation with a drawn-out "n" sound ("A-n-na"), more like saying "Annna" or "An na" in English.
    – Foogod
    Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 18:36
  • @Foogod I think that's exactly the same point I'm trying to make in my long-winded answer. Namely, "a-n-na" is generally unlikely in English, because that's how English phonology is.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 20:05
  • I think many Americans pronounce painting as [ˈpeɪnɪŋ]. Does the vowel [ei] remain nasalized or is it pronounced the same (i.e. without nasalization) as when there is only a nasal consonant from the beginning, as in gaining?
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 9:34
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    @aguijonazo I believe it's nasalized, at least that's how I have always heard it said. With no nasality in the diphthong I would likely hear it as paining, as in "The injury is paining me." I think in a similar vein for some people nasality is how they tell "can" and "can't" apart and how they execute "don't". The /t/ doesn't need to come out. It may be rendered as a "t stop" or something even less substantive, but it's the nasalization that helps people make out the word being pronounced.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 17:07

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