Questions tagged [vowels]

母音. The Japanese language has five vowels: a i u e o.

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4
votes
1answer
130 views

Old Japanese vowels in kana

The modern Japanese vowels /e,o/ each represent two Old Japanese vowels, arbitrarily written e ë o ö in romaji. I assume that Japanese philologists don't all use romaji, so is there a convention for ...
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2answers
194 views

Unvoiced vowels in katakana: special case?

When foreign words or proper names are used in Japanese, some modifications are necessary, in particular a lot of vowels are introduced. E.g. 'plastic' (two syllables) becomes プラスチック (five). In this ...
4
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1answer
129 views

い Pronunciations

I've wondered this for a while now but never thought to ask it until now. With regards to the い sound in Japanese, I understand that it's pronounced like a sort of shorter version of the e sound in "...
2
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2answers
864 views

How do I write sounds that don't exist in Japanese?

Yesterday I was practising katakana by writing my classmates' names down, but some of the names were harder than I expected. I have a classmate named Väinö, but neither the ä or ö sounds exists in ...
3
votes
3answers
200 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 ...
3
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3answers
1k views

What is the pronunciation of ai?

Sorry for using romaji. I'm referring to the sounds made when a word contains a kana sequence like 「ない」 or 「たい」or 「さい」 「かい」 I've read that the two together sound like the word "pie" sounds in ...
5
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2answers
451 views

Pronouncing ない as ねい / ねえ (also ~oi to ~ei)

I noticed that in anime and other Japanese shows, people often pronounce 「ない」 as 「ねい」. For example, instead of saying 「使わない」, the person will say 「使わねい」, but the translation is the same. I have many ...
1
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4answers
2k views

Correct pronunciation of “sukiyaki”?

I've heard it both as "soo-kee-ya-kee" and "skee-ya-kee". Which is correct? Some more background: A native speaker once told me that the correct pronunciation is "skee-ya-kee", and I subsequently ...
1
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2answers
153 views

Can the last い in かわいい be dropped?

In the Genki I textbook, it says that the i and the u vowels are sometimes dropped when placed between voiceless consonants or at the end of an utterance preceded by voiceless consonants. The example ...
0
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1answer
286 views

Can you use the “Ha, Heh, Hee, Ho” method for learning Japanese vowels?

In Spanish, you can use the "Ha, Heh, Hee, Ho" method for learning Spanish vowels. For example, A in Spanish sounds like the 'a' in Ha! E in Spanish sounds like the 'e' in Heh! I in Spanish sounds ...
2
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1answer
989 views

ー vs small kana vs long kana for writing long vowels

I had thought that for writing long vowels in Japanese, that small kana was mostly used with hiragana and ー was mostly used with katakana. I was actually thinking of asking whether there were ...
11
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3answers
24k views

Is it true that all Japanese words end in a vowel when transliterated to English?

First off I know zero Japanese, so sorry if this is a stupid question. I seem to remember hearing a while back that all Japanese words, when transliterated to the Latin alphabet, will end in a vowel. ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Does おお sound different from おう?

I know おう sounds like a long o, but does おお sound the same, or should it be pronounced differently?
5
votes
2answers
339 views

Open /o/ and closed /e/ - what are these allophones?

Some speakers, mainly middle-aged and older males, sometimes pronounce ねえ as [ne:], i.e. with a more closed variant of the usual /e/-sound, let's call it [ɛ]. There are also speakers for the same ...
21
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3answers
5k views

How 「えい」 should be pronounced in the words like 英語, 先生, etc?

P.S.: I heard that 「生」 (せい) in the word 先生 can be pronounced either as [sei] or as [see]. If it is so, is there any semantic difference between these variants?
6
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1answer
2k views

Does the ー represent a double vowel or a long vowel sound?

For words like パーティー (party), I know ー is doubling the ア and イ. But for a word like センセイ (and let's assume for the sake of argument that it is regularly spelled in katakana), would it be センセイ or センセー ?...
21
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4answers
7k views

Pronunciation of す in です and the end of ます verbs

I've always been curious about the pronunciation of the す in です and at the end of 〜ます verbs. Most commonly the "u" sound is inaudible, but sometimes by some people it's more pronounced, and some ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

things that look like long vowels but aren't

Are there words written with "ei" or "ou" that are pronounced with both vowels instead of as a long vowel? I think this is true in cases like 拾う and している, but are there cases of it happening where you'...
18
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3answers
3k views

Actual phonetic realization of “devoiced” vowels

Descriptions of Japanese phonology (such as Wikipedia's) usually describe high vowels between voiceless consonants (or word-finally) as "devoiced". For example, the pronunciation of ⟨圧⟩ 'pressure' and ...
48
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1answer
34k views

What are the rules regarding “mute vowels” (“u” after “s” and “i” after “sh”)?

When you first begin to learn Japanese you are taught that Japanese has no stress and each syllable should be pronounced equally. You also learn that certain vowels are not pronounced, or only ...