19 votes

Do native speakers think of prolonged vowels as one long vowel, or two vowel sounds following each other?

I'm a native speaker. When you tell a native Japanese speaker to say these words veeeeery slowly, they would say: きょ、う、し、つ。 (or きょ、お、し、つ。) せ、ん、せ、い。 (or せ、ん、せ、え。) か、ら、あ、げ。 こ、ん、ぴゅ、う、た、あ。 (コンピューター) And ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 311k
13 votes

What are the pitch-accent rules for compound nouns?

So, Toshihiko's answer gives the answer for the normal case, but there is a whole other facet of this issue: Do two nouns always compound or not? And the answer is that in many cases they do not. I ...
Darius Jahandarie's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

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

Probably you were hearing "velar nasal g" [ŋ], which is an allophone of [g] mainly heard in eastern parts of Japan. In Japanese, [ŋ] and [g] in がぎぐげご are variants (allophones) of the same ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 311k
11 votes
Accepted

The yomikata of 十三

Odd readings of 三: looking back in the history I've read here and there that researchers think that the Chinese-derived reading さん was originally borrowed as さむ. This is based partly on the ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
10 votes

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

There are some lingering question marks in the initial post and in the other answers regarding why は is read as /wa/ in こんにちは. Other posters have already noted that this は is the topic particle -- ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

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

/h/ is from original *p The Japanese fricative /h/ is reconstructed as coming from earlier *p (a voiceless labial stop; "labial" is a phonetic term for consonants pronounced with the lips). ...
solute's user avatar
  • 241
8 votes

Do native speakers think of prolonged vowels as one long vowel, or two vowel sounds following each other?

[W]hen they say a long vowel, are they deliberately saying one long vowel sound or two of them directly following each other? If this is about phonology, as the tag indicates, the answer will be: two,...
broccoli forest's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Was 術 (as in 柔術) ever pronounced jitsu?

I'm not very familiar with the diffusion process of jujitsu, but the practice to read 術 somewhat like じつ exists(ed) in the traditional Tokyo dialect. Japanese WP says: 「じゅ」が「じ」、「しゅ」が「し」に転訛する。(例)...
broccoli forest's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

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

Both sounds are allophone and recognized as the same sound but English "f" sounds a foreign accent. Even if the speaker is familiar to English sound, s/he won't pronounce it with English "f" because ...
user4092's user avatar
  • 16.5k
7 votes

Why Was Jaguar Borrowed as ジャガー?

Why is there no /w/ glide in the Japanese? Currently unknown. I cannot find anything definitive describing this. I can't even find when the term first entered the Japanese language, though ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Why Was Jaguar Borrowed as ジャガー?

The glide /gw/ may have been preserved in spelling for native vocabulary until at least the kana orthography reforms, but was completely lost in recent pronunciation. I'm thinking that when the word ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 9,075
7 votes
Accepted

pronunciation, dialects/background: わたす、すた?

Am I hearing her right? Is she really pronouncing し closer to す? Is there an area of Japan where this kind of pronunciation is common? Does this derive from a dialect/Can this be considered a ...
user20624's user avatar
  • 15.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Sound change of verbs (違う → ちげー)

I think this is a variant of the /ai/-to-/ee/ sound change that typically happens with i-adjectives: What does こまけー mean? What is じゃねぇか? What is its original form? わからない vs わかね in My Boss My Hero If ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 311k
6 votes
Accepted

Were there any specifics rules that were used to convert Chinese vocabulary into Japanese? Are they still perceptible in Modern Chinese?

Phonemes are not really applicable to the Chinese character system, but there was (and still is) indeed a systematic approach to convert most Chinese characters' pronunciation into Japanese on'yomi, ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 9,075
5 votes
Accepted

Desu pronounced dess: what about other words?

This is not a direct answer to your question but let me explain about difference between voicing/devoicing vowels and prolonging vowels. There are several ways to pronounce です or the likes. des (1 ...
user4092's user avatar
  • 16.5k
5 votes

Desu pronounced dess: what about other words?

In Japanese phonotactics, high vowels (for Japanese, these are i and u) have a certain property: they become unvoiced when surrounded by unvoiced sounds. Since the "u" in desu is surrounded on the ...
Kurausukun's user avatar
  • 2,359
5 votes

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

ビーチ for beach is regular, but ケーキ for cake needs some explanation. English //tʃ// and //dʒ// stand as closing consonant are always transcribed as チ and ジ, contrary to //ʃ// in the same position as シュ ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
5 votes

Does any Japanese dialect use the schwa?

There is a dialect of Ryūkyūan employing [ə]: “The Yaeyama Taketomi-jima dialect has a six-vowel system: a, ə, i, u, o, e. <…> _ə_ is a vowel found only in the Taketom-jima dialect…” (Handbook of ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
  • 2,359
5 votes
Accepted

Why is there 促音 in 十 + counters?

Origins Modern Japanese 十 read as じゅう comes from older Classical Japanese じふ, originally read as //d͡ʑipu//, in turn from Middle Chinese //d͡ʑiɪp̚//. The basic shift was for the //p// sound in //...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
4 votes

What are the differences between じ and ぢ, and ず and づ?

With the writing reform almost most instances of the old ぢ・ヂ and づ・ヅ have been replaced with the homophonic じ・ジ and ず・ズ with the following exceptions: ぢ・ヂ and づ・ヅ are still used in words containing a ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
  • 48.1k
4 votes
Accepted

What happened to the を sound?

As you know, the character 'を' is primarily or exclusively used as a postpositional particle to mark the object as in '本を読む,' '字を書く,' while 'お' is widely used as a prefix to a noun in honorific or ...
Yoichi Oishi's user avatar
  • 9,505
4 votes

Rule on vowel devoicing?

The phonological rules of vowel devoicing in Japanese are as follows: high vowels (that is, in the case of Japanese, i and u), become unvoiced when surrounded by other unvoiced sounds. This is how it ...
Kurausukun's user avatar
  • 2,359
4 votes
Accepted

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

Is coalescence blocked between syllables? No, coalescence also occurs between syllables, and even involving vowels from different morphemes. In fact it's not clear whether /ou/ was even a diphthong ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
4 votes

Why Was Jaguar Borrowed as ジャガー?

I believe it is because the spelling "グワ" is considered as non-standard pronunciation in modern Japanese. There is no publicly defined rule book, but I feel the usage of "グワ" is ...
Ats's user avatar
  • 129
4 votes

pronunciation, dialects/background: わたす、すた?

Let me preface this with admitting that I have hardly any experience with Tohoku’s regional dialects. After a little research, however, I found this and this about わだす as well as this and this about ...
BJCUAI's user avatar
  • 7,180
4 votes

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

living in Japan, I have heard a variety of words containing "su" spoken by multiple people, in many areas of the country, with mixed usage of voiced or unvoiced "u" sound. This includes most of the ...
ericfromabeno's user avatar
4 votes

Pronunciation question for consonants k/g and t/d

If your native language is English, you may find that although the contrast between the pairs /t d/, /p b/, and /k g/ is nominally one of voicing, in practice it is frequently one of aspiration. The ...
Angelos's user avatar
  • 11.3k
4 votes

Difficult to understand katakana of the word "though"

I'm not a native English speaker, but as Eiríkr Útlendi pointed out in the comment section, I feel there is a /ʊ/ sound even in American English (as long as the word is pronounced slowly and clearly). ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 311k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible