Why is it pronounced "yen"?
I was actually wondering this a month or so ago, but found the answer on the Wikipedia article for yen/en.
The spelling and pronunciation "yen" is standard in English. This is because mainly English speakers who visited Japan at the end of the Edo period to the early Meiji period spelled words this way. ... In the 16th century,...
Short answer: The allowed pronunciations depends somewhat on the word origin.
For Sino-Japanese words (漢語), such as 英語<えいご> or 先生<せんせい>, the underlying vowel sequence is always ええ, but can be pronounced as either えい or ええ (despite its native orthography being <えい>).
Most Yamato (和語) words are the same as the Sino-Japanese words, but in some cases ...
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。）
And if you ask "How many 'sounds' are there in those words?", they would count using their fingers, and say 4, 4, 4 and 6, respectively. So this means so-called "...
In reference to Sawa's request for an example, キャンディ is a case of キャ being used to transcribe English ca.
I asked my Japanese teacher exactly this question many years ago. The reply was that the vowel in English candy is higher (in phonetic terms) than the low front vowel in RP English cast. The fact that キャ is palatalised raises the vowel and makes it ...
This is the result of a well known devoicing rule in Japanese. Devoicing means that there is no vibration of the vocal folds. For example, the difference between [s] and [z] is only that [z] is voiced. The IPA diacritic for devoiced phones is a circle at the bottom of the glyph e.g. [z̥]=[s]. Although there is still much dialectal, idiolectal (the way a ...
As @sawa posted with the link in the comment, sometimes words have exceptional readings when in compound form. 白（しろ） is the colour white, but in certain compound words it has the reading しら.
しらゆき → pure white snow
しらさぎ → white heron
しらが → white (grey) hair
This question has a useful answer by Boaz Yaniv which points out that you may simply be mishearing ひ as し, but it misses the fact that some speakers actually do pronounce these the same way! This merger is mentioned briefly in The Phonology of Japanese, Labrune 2012, p.69:
For certain speakers, the opposition between /h/ and /s/ is neutralized before i: ...
1)Yes, an international standardized character alphabet exists for transcribing the sounds of all human Languages. It's called the International Phonetic Alphabet and it is maintained by the International Phonetic Association (both are acronymized as IPA). The most recent version of the alphabet was created 1969 and their most recent and currently operative ...
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 reconstructed Middle Chinese reading of /sɑm/, and partly on the fact that Old Japanese (the stage of the language when most kanji were borrowed) didn't have any ん yet. ...
I've got an old PDF folder full of papers on Japanese, and I managed to pull up two which might be helpful. (I've been on the search for a full detailed phonetic study of Japanese. Add a comment if you know of some other technical resources!). The first, the open paper Processing missing vowels: Allophonic
processing in Japanese (Ogasawara and Warner, 2009) (...
Sequential voicing (called 連濁【れんだく】 in Japanese) isn't predictable, but there are rules that describe when it's "blocked"--in other words, when it's much less likely to occur. None of these rules are absolutes, though, and we can find some exceptions.
Reduplication commonly results in sequential voicing:
ん has different pronunciations(allophones) depending on surrounding context.
[m] before /p/, /b/ and /m/
[n] before /d/, /t/, and /n/
[ŋ] (What some might know as "ng") before [k] and [ɡ].
[ɴ] at the end of prosodic units. This is close to [ŋ] but pronounced further down in the throat.
Before vowels, /j/,/w/,/r/,/s/,/z/ and /h/, it is pronounced as a ...
[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, or neither (at least in Standard Japanese).
It's merely two same vowels adjacent by chance when in between two words, or between word stems and inflections. ...
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 外来語 is Japanese.
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:
This is a well-known phenomenon: //u// in Eastern dialects is generally unrounded, so a weakened //ju// could be ...
Yes, accents change when words are combined/conjugated/etc. I'm not sure if there are any truly sentence-level phenomena, but there is definitely more going on than just "words have the same accent all the time". The NHK dictionary does include a fair bit of information about these rules.
To take your examples -- here are some answers I got from consulting ...
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 jaguar was borrowed into Japanese, /gw/ was transformed into /g/ to fit Japanese pronunciation at that time.
This actually happened to quite a few words (mostly ...
/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). You can read more about this in books or articles about the phonology and phonetics of Old Japanese; Wikipedia mentions it in the "Old Japanese" article.
There is no semantic difference. The pronunciation varies with local dialects, and with the level of politeness.
As for politeness, [sei] is a pronunciation sometimes used by people to emphasise formality (e.g. in conjunction with 敬語), but this is nowhere near a necessity. I would say that [see] is the common pronunciation. Try sticking in an almost silent [...
As you have already picked up on, the intonation (change in pitch) of words is vastly different.
A common example is the pronunciation of the word 日本.
Starts high, and pitch lowers
Starts low, and pitch raises and then lowers
However this is not the only difference between Kansai-ben and Standard Japanese, ...
I think it's fairly widely acknowledged that Middle Japanese introduced syllable-final /m/, /n/ and /t/ because of Chinese loanwords, and that first the /m/ and /n/ merged into /N/, later /t/ turned into /tu/.
I think you are right that syllable-final /t/ has never existed in native Japanese vocabulary.
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 -- which is always read as /wa/.
The remaining question is, why is this particle は read as /wa/?
The short(ish) answer
The answer lies in history. According to ...
Why is there no /w/ glide in the Japanese?
I cannot find anything definitive describing this. I can't even find when the term first entered the Japanese language, though presumably this can be discovered by spending more time researching. (I am finding tons of pages about the brand of car...)
According to Shogakukan's ...
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 dialect?
Why is 味わわせる often pronounced as 味あわせる?
I can only speculate that this is a kind of onbin to ease pronunciation. The two medial approximates /w/ are only separated by a vowel. Approximates, also known as semi-vowels, share some similarities with vowels. The reduction of one in rapid speech is small while still understandable. The reduction of the first ...
Update: This might interest you: On the Phonological Derivation and Behavior of Nasal Glides (R. L. Trigo Ferre, 1988). (PDF available here, I assume legally.)
I claim that nasal ‘absorption’ occurs when the occlusion of a nasal stop is removed or weakened considerably to the point where it is a glide. A nasal glide without any place features, [N], is ...