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JS3
15th August 2000, 21:13
How should we spell the Japanese terms that we use and how should we pronounce them?
More importantly does it matter?

This is from a web site that my sensei has for the doujou (yep thats the way I spell it) :
The common way of spelling terms such as "dojo" and "ryu" that is commonly used is not a recognized standard form of Romanization for the Japanese language. The scholastic standard spellings in Roomaji and Hepburn systems for these two Japanese terms is "doojoo" or "doujou" and "ryuu." When two o's are put together, each sound is pronounced as two "o's" which in effect means it is extended and is not one short "o" sound. The same is true of "ryuu" as opposed to "ryu." The spelling "dou" is pronounced just like it is seen: "do" (doh) and "u" and when spoken quickly sounds like a drawn-out "o" like "oh" in English.
( http://www.okinawa-budou.org/PGNR/language.html )

I tend to conform these rules of spelling and pronunciation when I can and have received strange looks from people (then again I get strange looks no mater what I do). My feeling is that if you study another language and culture you should be able to pronounce it properly. I myself work in an ethnic community and must be able to speak Portuguese, Brazilian and Spanish. Although these languages are similar pronunciations are different and in one case the term for little girl in one language is a profanity in the other. I understand that for the most part we learn from American instructors and teach American students, so the pronunciation gets lost.

Id like to get some feed back on this and see people stand in both the traditional schools as well as the modern schools.
Thanks in advance for your participation.

CKohalyk
15th August 2000, 23:00
Good day,

I agree with you. I think that we should try to represent the Japanese language a little more accurately when using Romaji (e.g. eNbu, keNpo, etc do NOT go to eMbu, keMpo). But the problem is, not every foreigner understands the phonetics of Japanese. Not every foreigner can read and understand hiragana as a system. When I write 'roomaji' there are going to be a whole bunch 'o people that pronounce it /rUmaji/ which confuses the matter further. Plus with the 90,000(hyperbole, pardon me) different systems of spelling used to represent Japanese from the past the whole issue is confusing. Does anybody know a cure?

CK

JS3
15th August 2000, 23:48
CKohalyk
Greetings,
Thanks for your post
I agree, there is usually not enough time in class to cover everything we would like let alone language and culture.

:idea:
Maybe we could develop Japonics you know, take all the mispronunciations and misspellings and make it an official dialect.
lol

Time will tell
Thank you


[Edited by JS3 on 08-15-2000 at 06:52 PM]

Joseph Svinth
16th August 2000, 11:32
Many of the words people want to spell differently are in English dictionaries. So, as the spelling and pronunciation are already standardized, why spell and pronounce them in non-standard ways? (Assuming, of course, the goal is communication rather than strutting our erudition.)

Furthermore, if turnabout is fair play, the Japanese play futto-boru, swim the batafurai, box at weruta-kyu, twirl baton, swing batto, ride basu, sing bariton, etc., and invariably seem to do just fine. So why shouldn't we train in kendo and karate, and be equally happy?

JS3
16th August 2000, 14:18
Morning,
Communication is my point exactly.
For all intents and purposes we could just as well use the English terms i.e., front kick, four directions throw and low block. My dilemma stems from two places. One is a conversation that I had with an instructor of mine, when I mentioned the word neko, pronouncing it the way Ive heard it pronounced by my peers she did not under stand me as my pronunciation was far off from the actual pronunciation. The second story is of an instructor that was giving a demonstration. At the end of the demo an Asian fellow approached him and asked him if he knew what that word (I honestly can not remember the term he was using) mean, the instructor said yes, it was such and such technique (again cant remember). As it turns out the word that he said actually translated to mean dog excrement.
I guess it more of an issue if you plan to train or communicate with people in Japan.

I may be right, I may be wrong :look:
PS
whats "erudition" lol

Adam DArcy
16th August 2000, 15:16
Hi Joe,

Check out - http://www.webster.com/ :-)

Let's not forget intonation issues as well. I asked why a friend of mine was wearing a skirt instead of pants (can't remember why) and accidentally asked why she wasn't wearing underwear. "Pantsu" is different depending on where the inflection is, and where you are (Kansai, Kantou, Kinki, etc.) I've tried to say "bridge" and came off as saying "chopsticks" numerous times when chatting with friends from Osaka.

I was originally told in school that we didn't have to worry about stressing different syllables or other inflection issues with Japanese. Yarareta na...

Adam

JS3
16th August 2000, 15:40
Hi Adam,
I must agree there also.
Thanks for bringing it up.

Jeff Bristol
17th August 2000, 00:49
I have an old 'Teach Yourself japanese in 30 Hours' book from the 50s, and instead of putting a line over the long vowels it does double them up. It took me a very long time to stop pronouncing iiye as aiye and chiisai as chaisai


Jeff Bristol

Joseph Svinth
17th August 2000, 08:40
The only time I've found it more useful to call the stance zenkutsu than long front was when dealing with a fellow who didn't speak English very well, despite his having lived in Hawaii for 50 years or so.

Also, no matter how perfectly you say tseiken tsuki, it doesn't help you do it a bit.

If you are a tournament player, there are some commands you must know. If you seriously expect to train with foreign students -- any nationality -- it helps to know basic terms. But technical terms? Look at the aikido, judo, and jujutsu threads. The same word means something entirely differently in each art, yet the bottom line is the guy goes over or he doesn't.

Budo isn't in Webster's Online, but Bushido is. Note the spelling -- it is not Bushidou. Thus for us hooked on Fonix types, budo makes as much sense as anything else. (Though, when you think about it, at a thousand bucks for a certificate in some organizations, bu-dough does make a lot of sense.)

[Edited by Joseph Svinth on 08-17-2000 at 03:43 AM]

Adam Young
23rd August 2000, 04:44
Originally posted by CKohalyk
I think that we should try to represent the Japanese language a little more accurately when using Romaji (e.g. eNbu, keNpo, etc do NOT go to eMbu, keMpo).

Actually, it is just as correct to use the M as the N when followed by a P or B. English letters only correspond to kana for reasons of sound and convenience, not because of some universal and wholly objective equivalency chart. While there is a certain amount of standardization, there are exceptions.

For instance, I would write Shinbashi (a train/subway station in Tokyo) if I conformed to a transliteration of kana. However, the way it is pronounced is actually closer to Shimbashi. In English, we pronounce things relatively hard, whereas the Japanese "n" is fairly soft, such that in front of a "b" or "p", it sounds more like an "m".

Either way is correct.

Just my opinion, though....

Cheers

Shinobi
24th August 2000, 06:06
Originally posted by JS3
How should we spell the Japanese terms that we use and how should we pronounce them?
More importantly does it matter?

This is from a web site that my sensei has for the doujou (yep thats the way I spell it) :
The common way of spelling terms such as "dojo" and "ryu" that is commonly used is not a recognized standard form of Romanization for the Japanese language. The scholastic standard spellings in Roomaji and Hepburn systems for these two Japanese terms is "doojoo" or "doujou" and "ryuu." When two o's are put together, each sound is pronounced as two "o's" which in effect means it is extended and is not one short "o" sound. The same is true of "ryuu" as opposed to "ryu." The spelling "dou" is pronounced just like it is seen: "do" (doh) and "u" and when spoken quickly sounds like a drawn-out "o" like "oh" in English.
( http://www.okinawa-budou.org/PGNR/language.html )

I tend to conform these rules of spelling and pronunciation when I can and have received strange looks from people (then again I get strange looks no mater what I do). My feeling is that if you study another language and culture you should be able to pronounce it properly. I myself work in an ethnic community and must be able to speak Portuguese, Brazilian and Spanish. Although these languages are similar pronunciations are different and in one case the term for little girl in one language is a profanity in the other. I understand that for the most part we learn from American instructors and teach American students, so the pronunciation gets lost.

Id like to get some feed back on this and see people stand in both the traditional schools as well as the modern schools.
Thanks in advance for your participation.


Best thing to do in my opinion is this:

for o you hold down the "Alt" key while typing "0244" on the numeric pad for
for u you hold down the "Alt" key and type "0251" for
for O you hold down the "Alt" key and type "0212" for
for U you I don't know :smokin: sorry :(

But in most mediums I type Dj, Bud, ry, etc

Michael Bland
24th August 2000, 07:56
Adam:

quote:
<HR><B>
Actually, it is just as correct to use the M as the N when followed by a P or B.
</B><HR>


Hmm. Good issue to bring up. However, I would say it is "equally incorrect" as the Japanese nasal you are referring to is different than both the English "n" (An alveolar nasal) and the English "m" (A bilabial nasal). The Japanese nasal is what linguists refer to as a "glottal nasal", and is therefore not accurately represented by either "m" or "n". And in actuality, even when followed by a bilabial phoneme such as the "p" in "kenpo/kempo", it stays a glottal nasal, although many English speakers incorrectly do pronounce this as a bilabial nasal due to their ingrained English speech patterns.

Which brings me to my point... You cannot accurately represent Japanese sounds with romanized letters -- especially to those who use them thinking of a different language's patterns of speech articulation. Nor can the Japanese accurately represent English (or any other language) words with katakana. They miss the mark even more, as pointed out by Joseph Svinth. (Try to get a Japanese person to say "McDonald's". *grin*)

However, if the point is communication, all we can use is the writing system available to the populace and come up with what best suits them.

As JS3 originally wrote, there are two offical systems of romanization in Japanese:

quote:
<HR><B>
The scholastic standard spellings in Roomaji and Hepburn systems for these two Japanese terms is "doojoo" or "doujou" and "ryuu."
</B><HR>

However, the two systems (both referred to as "Romaji") are actually the Hepburn system (hebonshiki) and the more linguistically used Japanese official system called "kunreishiki".

The above examples that Shinobi wrote all use the Hepburn system. The Kunrei System would write "dojo" as "doujyou".
Other examples (same pronunciation):

Hepburn&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Kunrei
-------&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ------
shinobi&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; sinobi
tsunami&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; tunami
chitose&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; titose
futatsu&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; hutatu

If your target audience is English speaking, the Hepburn system will present the closest sound to the original Japanese. Further, to double up the vowels will confuse the layperson who has not studied Japanese language, and it starts creating linguistic patterns that look silly to English-speakers since they will pronounce them the way they would an English word. Examples:

(all acceptable romanizations)

dojo --> doojoo
sensei --> sensee
saito --> saitoo

Be honest. How many non-Japanese speakers would pronounce the words on the right side, the same way as the words on the left the very first time you saw it?

It has been my experience that there is no perfect way to romanize Japanese sounds. However, I tend to write it in the most useful way for communicating the sound while still adhering to the basic principles of the Romanized standard. When I pronounce the word to other martial artists, I simply pronounce it correctly.

What else can you do?

In the end, it doesn't matter. What is important is whether or not you are training hard and learning something effective--not how you say it. But, being a linguist, I feel your pain in this dilemna. It certainly can make people view your style as less valid if you can't use basic terminology correctly.

Best of luck to you!

-Michael Bland
http://www.heiwa-ryu.org/


[Edited by Michael Bland on 08-24-2000 at 03:00 AM]

Jack B
25th August 2000, 21:36
I agree. I use Hepburn when studying the language, but for words that have entered the English lexicon, I use the familiar translation.

I once heard an older Japanese Judo teacher refer to a Judo throw as "tsurikomi-noshi". The 'n' sound for the 'g' was very dominant, and confusing until I started studying the language and learned that the 'g' sound in Hepburn transliteration is more of a 'ng' in Japanese.

I prefer the 'ou' and 'ei' doubling instead of 'oo' and 'ee' since it duplicates the kana. Also there are exceptions like Ookii (not Oukii) that are apparent this way. However, my current textbook uses 'oo'/'ee' doubling so I do that in schoolwork.

Michael Bland
28th August 2000, 03:53
I'm sure you have already found this for yourself,
but I found rather quickly that if the purpose is just for your own studies, the best thing is to get used to using kana only.

That way you can associate the proper sound with the proper characters and have no confusion generated by romaji.

If the purpose is to show non-Japanese speakers how to say something, then we are back to the original problem! :)

Again, good luck!!

-michael

-------------
Michael Bland
http://www.heiwa-ryu.org/

MarkF
28th August 2000, 08:14
Well, one thing is pretty much true on the net. You probably get more responses to a search if you use the more standardized spelling most are used to. There just is not that much when searching for any kind of boudou, or boodoo, or doodoo, frankly.:D

W.Bodiford
13th September 2000, 23:30
No system or writing (i.e., orthography) can ever represent spoken sounds with complete accuracy. This is just as true of the syllabaries (i.e., kana) developed in Japan as it is true of the Roman letters developed in Europe. The issue, therefore, is not accuracy, but how to convey the level of accuracy necessary to communicate at the level required by the subject at hand.

Linguists will want to distinguish between individual phonemes or rimes (or whatever they call them nowadays), that is, between the individual elements that undergo linguistic transformation. Thus, they will write the name of Japan's capital city as: "toRkyoR" or "tRokyRo" or "tHokyoR" (etc.).
For more details, see: Timothy J. Vance, An Introduction to Japanese Phonology (SUNY Press 1987).

Language teachers and language textbooks, however, will find that level of detail too confusing. They will merely want to clearly distinguish long and short vowels. Thus, they will write the name of Japan's capital city as: "toukyou" or "tookyoo."
For more details, see almost any Japanese language textbook published outside of Japan.

People who are not linguists and who are not students of the Japanese language, however, will find words written in either of the above two manners impossible to pronounce. They will want the words spelled in a way that resembles the way that words in European languages are spelled. Thus, they prefer to read the name of Japan's capital city as: "Tky" or "Tokyo."

Note that both of these spellings allow the word to be found in the same location in a dictionary or reference work regardless of whether the long vowel is indicated or not. This is an important advantage. It allows readers who are familiar only with popular texts to read scholarly works without having to relearn the spelling of all of the Japanese vocabulary.


Aside from linguistic texts and language textbooks, only 4 systems for romanizing Japanese appear in works intended for a general audience:

1. Nihonshiki = term for various systems of romanization developed in the 1850s that are based on traditional Japanese *kana* orthography (e.g., they can distinguish between "di" and "ji," and "zi" all of which are pronounced "ji"); this system is never used in Western publications

2. Hepburn system = romanizations developed by J. C. Hepburn in used in his Japanese-English dictionaries (1867, 1872, 1886); it is based on actual pronunciations (e.g., "ti" became "chi" and "hu" became "fu," etc.); this was the most widely used system prior to the 1970s and sometimes is still used today

3. Kunreishiki = romanization system published by the Japanese Ministry of Education in 1930; it adapted Nihonshiki to modern pronunciations but still adheres to *kana* orthography; although widely ignored it remains Japan's official system; it is never used in Western publications

4. Kenkyusha system = romanizations used in Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary, 4th edition (Tokyo 1974). This is the standard now followed by scholars throughout the world (except Japan, where one still finds a mixture of Kunreishiki and the Hepburn system). It is very similar to the Hepburn system, but more regular. In Kenkyusha, for example, the syllabic final "n" remains unchanged before "b," "m," and "p"

Anyone who writes about Japan in a European language should make a Xerox copy of the chart on page xiii of Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary, 4th edition (Tokyo 1974), and follow the rules it presents.


Word-division, use of hyphens, and capitalization are a much more difficult issues. Even scholarly publications lack consistency in these areas. Whenever possible, however, one should try to adhere to the rules for Japanese followed by the Library of Congress as described by: LC Romanization Tables and Cataloging Policies, compiled by Sally C. Tseng (Metchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1990), pp. 82--98.

One advantage to following the LC rules is that one is more likely to find the keywords that one seeks when searching a bibliographic database. On the other hand, the LC rules differ from the informal conventions developed within the popular press concerning martial arts. According to the LC, for example, suffixes like "-ryu" are NOT separated by hyphens. Thus, one should write "Ittoryu" (not "Itto-ryu").


Before ending I also should mention the, Chicago Manual of Style, 13th edition (University of Chicago Press 1982), which remains the most widely used standard for editing and printing prose. An inexpensive summary of the Chicago Manual of Style with many useful examples can be found in: Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers, 6th ed. (University of Chicago Press 1996).

hyaku
14th September 2000, 01:47
Yes it does matter.

Especially if you tell a Japanese person that you do Budo and drop the extended O, you?@are saying?@you do "a grape." Not using extended o's, u's and other vowels usually mean something else.

An accent over the o is the proper way to do it but if you dont have the correct font it can't be read. Sitting in front of a Japanese computer writing this, I cannot read most of the other threads as the letters are interspersed with Kanji. Like wise if I write in Japanese, (oJ?rMaybe you can't read it

I prefer to use oh to make it easily understandable "oo" is sometimes misconstrued as the "oo" in spoon or "ou" as in Out.

Hyakutake Colin ?@S?

ghp
14th September 2000, 02:20
...singing budo and dojo, alive, alive-o.


Colin,


Especially if you tell a Japanese person that you do Budo and drop the extended O, you?@are saying?@you do "a grape." Not using extended o's, u's and other vowels usually mean something else.

How about asking where the nearest "dojo" is ... then being directed to a fish monger?

:D,
Guy [who really wanted to go to a "doujo"]

Joseph Svinth
14th September 2000, 06:38
No worse than the Japanese coming to Seattle and asking how to get to Bankuba, and getting all mad when nobody has heard of the place.

Adam DArcy
14th September 2000, 14:46
Hyakutake San,

I guess I should assume that you didn't mean "baka" ("stupid"/"foolish") towards someone posting in this thread. This would be considered profanity in Japan I believe :-)

Anyway, I think one of my Japanese profs helped us out with this problem by simply stating "Hurry up and learn hiragana and katakana so you don't have to worry about it." Aren't they frustrating sometimes? :-)

adam

ghp
15th September 2000, 01:05
Adam,


I guess I should assume that you didn't mean "baka" ("stupid"/"foolish") towards someone posting in this thread. This would be considered profanity in Japan I believe :-)

Perhaps I missed this? Was that the gobble-de-gook on my screen?

Anyway ... actually, "baka" is not so bad -- pretty tame, really; it can mean "silly." Bakayaro ("ba-kai-errrro") is considerably stronger; and, "konoyaro" is worse. Funny enough, these words are not intrinsically "bad" -- they are just "less polite." For instance, bakayaro means "foolish/stupid person" and konoyaro means "this person."

About the only swear word that is in fact "dirty" (to my limited knowledge) is "kuso!" [$hit]. But that doesn't seem to bother Japanese so much -- nose mucous is "hana-kuso" ... "kuso" appears to me not to convey the strong meaning that its English counterpart does.

Kinda like our use of "bloody"? In the US it doesn't mean anything, it's just a "cute" expletive -- but did I ever get a stern lecture from my girlfriend when I lived in the UK!! (Same for "fanny") -- Boy, did I stick both feet in my mouth!

Still, Japanese is pretty tame -- especially compared to how "flowery" Russian is (so I've been told).

Regards,
Guy

hyaku
15th September 2000, 01:09
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Adam DArcy
[B]Hyakutake San,

I guess I should assume that you didn't mean "baka" ("stupid"/"foolish") towards someone posting in this thread. This would be considered profanity in Japan I believe :-)

..............................

Wow, I thought profanity was showing contempt for God or sacred things.

No just a light hearted joke. My wife calls me baka everyday.
It's not so much the word but the way you say it. If you say it with contempt I suppose it could be taken personally.
If you think it's a bad word you going to be very frustrated if you are driving a new car in Japan and some one talking on their mobile rams into you.

There are a few bad Japanese words (as your Prof there not me)

Actually, if did offend anyone please accept my sincere apologies.

And you read it. I'm really pleased. I am writing this on my home computer and the letter I wrote yesterday at work is an embarassing mess of lines and symbols. Most of the inverted commas show as the @ mark.

Maybe someone could start a learning thread writing Japanese and asking others to translate it?

Xǵ*ǮǢǢ*ǵ*@@S@cgL

Yoroshiki Onegai Itashimasu Hyakutake-Watkin



[Edited by hyaku on 09-14-2000 at 08:11 PM]

Adam DArcy
15th September 2000, 01:59
Hello Guy and Hyakutake san,

You're both right, this really wasn't that big a deal. Sorry, I was just having fun and want to get to know you guys because you always post good stuff up here.

Korekara yoroshiku onegaishimasuuuuuu!

adam

Ron Tisdale
15th September 2000, 18:56
I try pretty hard to find the correct way to do things (short, I hope, of being obsesive), but this is driving me crazy! How in the world do you find the "correct" way to do something when there seems to be at least 4 different "correct" ways?

OK, I've heard poeple say that there is no M in japanese, only N. But the name of the founder of aikido (I know, aikidou, aikidoo, etc.) *begins* with an M in every case where I have seen it in roman print.

Help!

Ron (I'm sooooooo confuuuuused) Tisdale

ghp
15th September 2000, 19:11
Ron,

It is not "M" ... it is "Mo." Mo-ri-he-i.

There is no stand-alone "m" consonant (but there is for "n").

Regards,
Guy

Ron Tisdale
18th September 2000, 15:20
Thank you Guy! That makes more sense now.
Ron

Michael Bland
25th September 2000, 08:38
<B>ghp/ron,</B>

The person who claimed there is no "m" in Japanese is right. However, there also is no "n".

There is a stand-alone "nasal" sound. It is better represented with a "ng" although that is also too strong.
Suffice to say Japanese sounds are written in syllables, not romanized letters. These syllables are written with "kana" and are comprised of consonant-vowel combinations.

So, "ma-mi-mu-me-mo" is just as valid as "na-ni-nu-ne-no".

The last syllable of the japanese kana system is the nasal described above. It has been romanized many ways, and none of them accurately desribe it.


<B>hyaku,</B>


Originally posted by hyaku
Especially if you tell a Japanese person that you do Budo and drop the extended O, youare sayingyou do "a grape."


Yes, on rare occasions, not extending the vowels in speech can mean a different word. This is usually fully understood by context anyway...

However, in this case you are mistaken. The word for "grape" and the word for "martial way" are both pronounced the same with an extended "oh" sound.

A more common mistake of this kind is for foreigners who want to say "cute" (kawaii), and do not enunicate the "ah" sound well in the first syllable "ka", but use the common American schwa ("uh") instead. Further, they do not extend the "ii" sound at the end...

Thus, although they wished to tell a girl she was "cute", it sound to a Japanese speaker like they told the girl she was "kowai" (scary). :)


<B>RE: Japanese profanity</B>
Almost non-existant by English standards. The word "baka" (stupid/fool) and "kuso" (sh*t) are thrown around the classroom in elementary schools by both teachers and students alike. As well as all the combinations of "baka" and "yaro".

About the most "profane" you can get in Japanese is to speak a lot of heavy Osaka dialect and act angry... and even then, not one word will be cut out of national TV or newspapers.

So, it isn't the same standards as English. In fact, Englsh profanity is also fully allowed on Japanese TV. The show I was a regular on we had many people swearing in English. Words like "Motherf----r" were thrown around all the time on our nationally televised show.

There is a list of words in the Entertainment industry which cannot be aired on radio/tv... but they are pretty silly in my opinion. Slang words like "kikori" (lumberjack), "un-chan" (driver), "seishin byo'in" (mental hospital) are considered to have a derogatory meaning and activists groups will make claims against the station.

OK. enough babbling... back to work.

-michael

Bishamon
25th September 2000, 08:55
The words "manko" and "kusottare" could certainly be considered crude, even by English standards.

On the subject of taboo words and topics on Japanese TV (and in society in general), the word "kumosuke" to describe taxi drivers and the word "burakumin" are definitely off-limits (if you want to start a guaranteed fight with a Japanese, just call him by the latter (even better when used in the construction, "Temei, kono burakumin-me!")...).

Mark Brecht
25th September 2000, 10:37
Jon,

did you receive my email?

I had tried the new account you emailed me with twice (came back every time), so i tried your old account. Let me know.

Take care,
Mark

Adam DArcy
25th September 2000, 18:34
Hello All,

I'm going to have to remind everyone that profanity is not tolerated on this site. I understand that this is all in Japanese, but there are native Japanese speakers who come up here as well. I think it's fine to talk about this subject, but let's try to use a few examples of profanity as possible.

Thank you very much for your cooperation.

Adam

ghp
28th September 2000, 05:08
Michael,


It is better represented with a "ng" although that is also too strong

Isn't that sound more accurately applied to the "ga" sound like "chi(n)gau" and considered a Tokyo accent?

As far as the final kana, yes, "n" is it -- the one used to write "ganbatte" (although many might say "gambatte", it is written with this "n" kana). I have been away from Japan for over 5 years, and it has been 13 years since last I formally studied Japanese -- but I don't recall any difficulty with the "n" sound a'tall. Do you mean the "n" romaji doesn't really mimic the "(u)n" sound?? [ The "(u)" being almost entirely silent.]


So, "ma-mi-mu-me-mo" is just as valid as "na-ni-nu-ne-no".

:confused: I don't follow what you are saying here. Both sets illustrated are valid, comprising 10 differernt kana. I don't think you are advocating that "ma" is the same as "na" [you live in Japan and know better]. I am confused.:confused:

Regards,
Guy

hyaku
28th September 2000, 08:40
Originally posted by Michael Bland
<B>ghp/ron,</B>


[QUOTE]Originally posted by hyaku
[B]Especially if you tell a Japanese person that you do Budo and drop the extended O, youare sayingyou do "a grape."


Yes, on rare occasions, not extending the vowels in speech can mean a different word. This is usually fully understood by context anyway...

However, in this case you are mistaken. The word for "grape" and the word for "martial way" are both pronounced the same with an extended "oh" sound.

A more common mistake of this kind is for foreigners who want to say "cute" (kawaii), and do not enunicate the "ah" sound well in the first syllable "ka", but use the common American schwa ("uh") instead. Further, they do not extend the "ii" sound at the end...

Thus, although they wished to tell a girl she was "cute", it sound to a Japanese speaker like they told the girl she was "kowai" (scary). :)
..................


I wouldn't have thought that there was any major problem between the pronuciation of the words Kawaii and Kowai.

As to their usage that's another matter. Fortunately cute is one of the lesser used words in my vocabulary and I can't stand Kawaiiiiiii and only use it for babies and small animals. I would have thought that Kowai was very appropriate looking at some of the Dental nightmares here with Orang Utan coloured hair.

Some people from other countries seems to have a problem with byo and biyo. Also I have noticed that the word Kita is invariabley pronounced as "Keeta" mixing a beigo namari with Japanese. Mixing ones own namari with Japanese produces some strange words.

Where I live se is pronounced as "she" by older people regardless of ireba.

Sumimashen Shenshei

Hyakutake Colin


[Edited by hyaku on 09-28-2000 at 03:57 AM]

Michael Bland
10th October 2000, 07:25
ghp,

All I was saying is that "m" is just as much of a valid phoneme in Japanese as "n". Hence the examples of the
kana "ma-mi-mu-me-mo" and "na-ni-nu-ne-no".


hyakutake,
Interesting. Where is it that you are at where people are pronouncing "se" as "she". sore wa naniben desu ka?
I'd certainly like to hear it. I have heard some funky dialects during my time here. *smile*


-michael

Kris
11th October 2000, 15:22
I just came into this thread and personally I liked your (Hyaku) post with n!. To tell you the truth, I hear that from my wife a lot as well (and from my `[would ?@have been more appropriate?]on occasion)!

I most deffinetly agree with the person who said just learn kana early! The hiragana and katakana haven't been a problem, it is the damn kanji! hehe. Also, I have found "school book" Japanese to be farily useless in daily life here in Japan, much to my frustration.