Questions tagged [phonology]

音韻論. The way contrastive sounds (phonemes) are processed psychologically by native speakers. This is theoretical as opposed to physical. If your question is about articulatory phonetics (how to form sounds physically), auditory phonetics (the physical sounds we can hear) or acoustic phonetics (the measurement and analysis of the sound waves produced in human speech), please use the phonetics tag instead. Put phonemic transcriptions in /forward slashes/.

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Phonological terminology: what to call the /h/ → /p/ shift?

Japanese has various kinds of sandhi or 連音 (ren'on), of which sequential voicing or 連濁 (rendaku) is probably one of the best known. There's also gemination or 長子音化 (chōshiinka), where we get things ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
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What is pitch accent for ではありません?

I hear it like: ではありません{HHLHHHL} Is it correct? Could not find answer in OJAD. PRAAT: Sound sample: https://voca.ro/1iCkbzE4w7HT
Newbie in Japanese's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
120 views

Accent pattern of ています

According to the rules of accent, a "flat" verb (平板式) keeps flat in its て-form, and a non-"flat" (起伏式) verb is accented in the antepenultimate position in the て-form: ア↑ビル(浴びる)→ ア↑...
Kotoba Trily Ngian's user avatar
-4 votes
2 answers
319 views

Bobby Fischer & Haruhi Suzumiya - Do you have to say consecutive vowels together?

Eg 'Koizumi'...and generally koi, ai, mai, etc Bobby Fischer, mentally ill world chess champion and creator of 9LX, calls Junichiro 'Koizumi' mentally ill. The pronunciation of the 'こい' part is split ...
BCLC's user avatar
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1 answer
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pronunciation ん+ [s]

For a few weeks I have been studying the pronunciation of ん and all allophones. there are many allophones, I was able to learn almost all of them. however there is a case where I have problems ん + [s] ...
Azael León's user avatar
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1 answer
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How to make sense of うand く's Onbin 音便?

From what I have learned, 音便 arose for the sake of easier pronunciation and they are changed from the ます form or 連用形 form. However, I could not wrap my head around うand く. Why is that く is changed to ...
FindingNemo's user avatar
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0 answers
132 views

"Hiatus avoidance" in Japanese?

Is the reading 腕【うで】の良【よ】い医者【いしゃ】 or 腕【うで】の良【い】い医者【いしゃ】? どんなに腕【うで】の良【よ】い医者【いしゃ】に早【はや】くかかったとしても間【ま】に合【あ】わない No matter how fast you go to a good doctor, you won't make it. https://www.fnn.jp/articles/-/...
Ned Reif's user avatar
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To when, and where, did 合拗音 still have a notable presence in Japan, and are there any dialects, however minor, that still preserve the 合拗音 today?

I found a book published in 1886, which contained an interesting statement pertaining to the realization of the 合拗音: Natives of Tōkiō and the Northern and Eastern provinces omit the w after k and g ...
LittleWhole's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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Why is there 促音 in 十 + counters?

In general, the possible 促音 rules are pretty clear: つ・ち in front of voiceless sounds, otherwise voiceless sounds can become 促音 before the same consonant, only at morpheme boundaries, etc. etc. However,...
Sam's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Sound change 雨 さめ→あめ

I've noticed a certain (probably) sound change being illustrated by 雨 (あめ) and the compounds 霧雨 (きりさめ)and 小雨 (こさめ). It looks like this used to be pronounced さめ in all contexts, but the s here was ...
ハーフォニー's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
83 views

What are the phonotactic rules of 促音 in lexical items?

In comparison to 連濁, finding rules on 促音 seems much harder. If possible, I would like to figure out what the rules are, that is, in which positions 促音 can occur, and in which positions 促音 is likely to ...
Sam's user avatar
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1 answer
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Can a /n/ turn into /r̃/?

I think I heard a nasalized alveolar trill /r̃/ instead of alveolar nasal stop /n/ for the mora na in this video https://youtu.be/LIqnhSpXgtI?t=801 (13:26). Am I correct? (Whatever the phone is, is ...
5ru8ek's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Were there any specifics rules that were used to convert Chinese vocabulary into Japanese? Are they still perceptible in Modern Chinese?

I know that when Chinese characters were incorporated into Japanese writing/vocabulary their pronunciation changed to be easier for Japanese people to pronounce, but were there any specific rules? ...
Elizabeth Middleford's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
525 views

Sound change of verbs (違う → ちげー)

I find some (young?) people say ちげー when they mean 違う. Is there other verb that is frequently sound-reduced? (BTW, what is the correct way to describe this phonological phenomenon or the word for this ...
5ru8ek's user avatar
  • 167
3 votes
1 answer
733 views

How can I find the pitch-accent pattern for 頭高型?

I don't mean the meaning of 頭高型, but the pitch-accent pattern of the actual word 「頭高型」. I've found several pitch-accent dictionaries including the two OJAD sites (here and here), but the first site ...
jrpear's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
998 views

Correct pronunciation of voiceless bilabial fricative [ɸ]

I found that there are two different pronunciations for the [ɸ] phone. For example, in Japanese compare those two pronunciations for same word 冬 (for which I believe will has [ɸɯjɯ] as phonetic ...
Khanh Tran's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
169 views

Higher amplitude in accented mora?

From ear, despite what the conventional literature tells me, I often hear that the accented mora has a higher amplitude, not just coming before the downstep. This is particularly obvious in This ...
Zorf's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
213 views

Difficult to understand katakana of the word "though"

So, I'm not proficient in Japanese but, as a programmer, I decided to create a program to generate katakana equivalents of english words automatically. I have had some success, but with some ...
dryleaf's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Pronunciation question for consonants k/g and t/d

I was wondering if someone could help me clear up some confusion Sometimes when I hear people speaking Japanese in videos, I hear them swap the k/g consonants, as well as the d/t consonants.. Like ...
Blue's user avatar
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1 answer
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Joint etymology of -san/-chan? [duplicate]

Just a "shower thought" I've had: is there any credence to the theory (mine) that ちゃん is a diminutive/"baby talk" form of さん (like when "ureshii desu" becomes "urechii dechu")?
yarou's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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Did labialized consonants remain in Ryūkyūan?

The labialized velar consonants are rare even in historical Japanese; besides (possibly) one verb (kweru), they (kwa-, gwa-, kwe-, gwe-) occur only in some Sino-Japanese morphemes. In Japanese, they ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
280 views

Changing from "S" to "Z" sound in Katakana [duplicate]

The katakana form's ジ sound comes from two bases: from "sh," as in "sheep" AND from the "ch" sound in "cheese." When I am asked to identify the character, during study, that is producing the ジ sound,...
Twanvessel Madison's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
3k views

Deriving the "p" and "b" sound from "h"

This question refers to the hiragana notation of different syllables, where you indicate the "soft-spoken" or "hard-spoken" variants of syllables by marking them with a small ...
Philoctetes's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Was 術 (as in 柔術) ever pronounced jitsu?

柔術 is often rendered in English-speaking countries (and France, Germany, and Brazil) as "jiu-jitsu" or "ju-jitsu", even though the actual Hepburn romanization is "jūjutsu". Wiktionary's page on 柔術 ...
mic's user avatar
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Pronunciations of と/ど, た/だ, ち/じ [duplicate]

I am a Japanese beginner, and a lot of times I find it hard to distinguish the pronunciations betweenた/だ, と/ど, ちじ etc. For example, わたし, the pre-record pronunciation online sounds like “wadashi” to me;...
Chloe CZ's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
321 views

Origin of the small っ

There are several uses of the small っ: Compounds with the first kanji ending in つ or ending in consonant + 'u' with the second kanji beginning with the same consonant: the elision of the 'u' happens ...
Mathieu Bouville's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
164 views

Elongated お in the volitional verb form

In native Japanese words (that I know of at least) like 通り and 大きい, to elongate the お-sound, another お is added when written in Hiragana (instead of う like in Sino-Japanese words). However, it just ...
Kaskade's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
131 views

Why is gemination limited to voiceless obstruents?

According to The Phonology of Japanese by Laurence Labrune: Consonants likely to undergo gemination, that is, likely to be preceded by /Q/ in Yamato (including mimetics) and in Sino-Japanese ...
eca2ed291a2f572f66f4a5fcf57511's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does any Japanese dialect use the schwa?

Pronunciation of [ə] is notoriously difficult for Japanese speakers, and while trying to communicate its importance in languages such as English and French, I started to wonder: do any dialects of ...
Colin Stark's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
243 views

Words in the Kagoshima dialect

Using this Wikipedia article here, I learnt that words in Standard Japanese may encounter something called sonorant gliding while converting to Kagoshima dialect. For what is written here, these are ...
PearApple's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
777 views

IPA for ふーん/んふふ pronounced with your mouth closed

I know that ふ is normally pronounced as [ɸɯ]. But ふ is sometimes used to represent a clearly different sound that occasionally appears in spoken Japanese, and I'm having trouble identifying its IPA ...
naruto's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
215 views

Allophones: /e/ as [j] , /kj/ as [k͡xj]?

I noticed a few pronunciations which surprised me. In this clip, and in a lot of other movies, 返して, /kaeɕ.te/ sounds like [kaɪ̯ɕ.te] to me. Is there a rule?: /e/ → [ɪ̯] / a_ . If so: Is it dialectal, ...
user29461's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
401 views

The yomikata of 十三

This has been obsessing me for quite a while. While 十三 is normally pronounced ジュウサン, it is often pronounced ジュウゾウ in people's names and also pronounced ジュウソウ in names of places. I am wondering how ...
Weijun Zhou's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is [好]{す}き pronounced with a voiceless/almost silent U, but [隙]{すき} is not?

Why is [好]{す}き pronounced with a voiceless/almost silent U, but [隙]{すき} is not? I've used 2 sound sample sources for both, Jisho and Rikai sama. They both pronounce the first (like) with a voiceless ...
Dylano Stewart Rodrigues's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
290 views

pronunciation, dialects/background: わたす、すた?

I was watching a few episodes of the anime for 魔法遣いに大切なこと and I couldn't help but notice that the main character, a girl from 岩手県 in this story, pronounced some words containing し as though they ...
psosuna's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
697 views

Why Was Jaguar Borrowed as ジャガー?

It's listed as being borrowed from English, but even if it were the case that it had been borrowed from Portuguese, it's still pronounced /ɡwɑɹ/ and not /ɡɑɹ/. Japanese phonology is also perfectly ...
Kurausukun's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
517 views

Are フィ、ファ、フェ and フォ still pronounced with a bilabial fricative or just a normal English "f"?

I know that ふ is pronounced with a bilabial fricative, which is different from an English "f" or "h". However, in 外来語 there are some words containing things like フィ、ファ、フェ and フォ. e.g. フィクション. Seeing ...
Sweeper's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
689 views

Are the Japanese し and the Mandarin "xi" really both [ɕ]?

I've had this question for several months now, and haven't been able to find a satisfactory answer online. The Japanese し and the Mandarin "xi", as in 西, are listed equivalently as [ɕ] in the IPA. ...
kennysong's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Confusion with pronunciation in some words: 'm' and 'n' sounds when there is 'g'

It has been bugging me for a while; I'm using memrise for learning and for example: ちゅうごく China → I hear it pronounced chūmoku かがく science → I hear it pronounced kanaku Is this an error from memrise'...
Human's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
498 views

Is しごと pronounced as 'shingocto'?

I downloaded Genki and the CDs that came with it. しごと was pronounced as 'shingocto' instead of 'shigoto.' Why is that?
Starsalign's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is the English word "studio" transcribed as スタジオ?

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 *...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
211 views

Phonetic Mapping of the Hiragana System Used in the Okinawan Omoro Sōshi

The classical Okinawan poetry collection the Omoro Sōshi is written (mostly) in Hiragana, but the phonetic mapping of the characters to sounds seems to be different to their standard mapping. For ...
Catahecassa's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why is "konnichi wa" written with は and not わ? [duplicate]

Why is "konnichi wa" in hiragana with は and not わ?
annie's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
3k views

Japanese pitch accent in songs

Do Japanese (pop) songs usually preserve pitch accent (so that the words have to be chosen in accordance with the melody, just the words in English songs have to match the meter) or does it get ...
Dominik's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Reduction of the diphthong "ou" to "ō" in Middle and Modern Japanese

I noticed that in the word 子牛 both "o" and "u" are pronounced while in the word 格子 there is a long "ō" and they are, respectively, written in rōmaji (Hepburn romanization) koushi and kōshi. What I'd ...
nino83's user avatar
  • 99
3 votes
1 answer
117 views

連濁 in proper nouns

There was already this answer regarding the basic rules of rendaku. However, it seems that these rules do not apply at all to proper nouns, especially toponyms. Examples include 秋葉原{あきはばら} (no rendaku)...
xuq01's user avatar
  • 1,278
5 votes
4 answers
523 views

Pronunciation of ん before a fricative

I've seen many questions asked about the ん sound, both on this site and others, but I'm still uncertain about how it should be produced before a fricative (e.g. さ, し, ひ, ふ). So I'm hoping someone can ...
Sean's user avatar
  • 611
3 votes
2 answers
3k views

Desu pronounced dess: what about other words? [duplicate]

On a CD that came with my text book I hear that desu is pronounced dess. Are there many other words in Japanese, where done of the sound from the kana spelling actually falls off, like in this example,...
Jack Maddington's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
338 views

Why is Beach ビーチ and not ビーチュ, why is Cake ケーキ and not ケーク?

The latter sounds better, in my opinion. But is that just my opinion?
123fendas's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
334 views

What is this い sound change?

I often hear 全員 pronounced as ”ぜいいん”. I also read online that 雰囲気 can sometimes be heard as "ふいんき” although I have personally never heard that. I have a few questions about this phenomenon: Is there ...
strawberry jam's user avatar