3

んい and に are pronounced differently. 真意{しんい} is markedly different in pronunciation from 死に{しに} beyond just the accent. しんい is pronounced for roughly 1.5x the time of しに, and while in しに there's a clear consonantal [n], in しんい the previous [i] is lengthened and nasalized.


1

The short answer is no. ンイ would still be two mora in Japanese. To an English ear, it would be more like two separate syllables ng. ee. Not sure how else to try to get that sound across.


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