Katakana Extension

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Katakana Extension

Postby IMABI » 2011-07-07, 3:42

I have spent time compiling a list of Katakana extensions used to transliterate foreign phrases into Japanese script. I have come across, at times, inconsistencies from varying outlets and have found out that there has yet to be a way to approximate consonant-yi sounds into Kana. In some respects, the ability for such combinations to be made by a Japanese speaker would be nearly impossible. However, this is for sole purposes in making Katakana a script that can be more viable in linguistic studies. There are unrefined methods of which to represent non-Japanese elements into Katakana. For example, in the study of Korean, Katakana is often stretched to fit vowels such as eu and eo. In Ainu Katakana consonant ending coda are allowed by the usage of small u-sound Kana. The government of Japan in the 1970s almost made precedent in Kana extension by postulating a l-gyou made by using r-sound Kana combined with a handakuten. For example, ラ゜represents la. To get back to my point from above, I believe that I have come up with a method to finally allow any hypothetical consonant-yi sound to be represented in Katakana. Applying the possible representation of yi, ユィ, into account, I propose that we subscript both of these after a i-sound Kana to create such combinations. For example, kyi would be キュィ. We cannot use キゥィ because this implies "kwi". However, it would be an alternative solution because kiu did represent kyu in Old Orthography. There are other loopholes to fix in Kana extension methods; however, this is one that has yet to receive any notice. Even wikipedia doesn't give any options. Does anyone believe the method I proposed would be worthwhile?
More examples of my proposed method:
ミュィ = MYI
テュィ = TYI
Note: For columns where an i-column is not applicable, a suitable substitute is used instead.

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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby md0 » 2011-07-07, 5:03

ミュィ evokes a /mɥi/ from me, I don't know about native speakers.

イェ…ミェ
イィ…ミィ
This ye is already well-established in katakana, why break the pattern?

PS. What the purpose though? Japanese have merged their ye and yi with plain vowels long ago, and as far as I see, they still do, even in loanwords. イェ is pronounced more like イエ.
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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby IMABI » 2011-07-07, 9:55

The purpose was given earlier. I am quite aware of the fact that yi disappeared hundreds of years ago and ye as well, howbeit a little earlier. The purpose is to allow as many different foreign sounds to be rendered into Katakana for the study of other languages in Japanese script. By the way, ミィ and other Kana like it are not necessary designated as myi etc. by all accounts. For some it is simply another method to show mii. This would defeat the purpose of specifically rendering consonant-yi sounds. It would not break any pattern as far as I'm concerned because ユィ is a viable and recognized variant to write yi. イィ still evokes ii to me, especially if it were rendered in Hiragana. If this changes, in other words, if precedent made this not so, I would be completely fine using it instead.

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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby md0 » 2011-07-07, 10:49

Well, this is up to the Japanese, if they are using ユィ for /ji/, this is the correct way to write it.

The purpose is to allow as many different foreign sounds to be rendered into Katakana for the study of other languages in Japanese script.

Yeah, this is what I don't get :hmm:
If you are going to come up with tens of katakana extensions to cover just English for example, why not learn teach English using the actual script of the language and IPA for pronunciation aid?

But I like this as a mental exercise.
/æ/ is surely エァ. It's a convention used in Japanese dialectology.
/ʌ/ should probably be オァ.
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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby IMABI » 2011-07-07, 13:50

For starters, there is a time where foreigners learning a foreign language must leave their script behind and use the actual script of the language in question. However, from the way you're speaking, you must not be a fun of Romanization. English is not the only foreign language taught in Japan, and it is a common practice to use Katakana equivalents to teach how to say things. It's only natural. It's even more common to show readings for Hanzi and Hangeul. There has to be some sort of stepping stone in Japanese orthography. It's not as if the script is moribund. Oh, and as for IPA in respect to English, that is almost if not completely futile. You can go down any given street in America and get a different set of linguistic data from individuals. It's why there is spelling to give an approximation. lol
I'm just trying to be creative and allow Japanese people to study languages at the beginning without having to learn a different writing system automatically. For example, my fourth language I'm learning is Korean and I often see Katakana readings about Hangeul. However, they're all different depending on the outlet and I get often discouraged at the approximation. It's probably why long ago a Korean friend of mine made fun of the Japanese accent when speaking Korean. Plus, the sounds wouldn't be no help to the study of other Japonic languages and dialects.
Note: エァ is common in the Nagoya Dialect.

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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby md0 » 2011-07-07, 17:28

For starters, there is a time where foreigners learning a foreign language must leave their script behind and use the actual script of the language in question.

Which, imho, is the time they decide to learn the language.
However, from the way you're speaking, you must not be a fun of Romanization.

Romanized Japanese have their place and purpose. But it's not how Japanese people write their language, at least not yet. Substitute Japanese with Greek or any language that's not written in some version of the latin alphabet.

English is not the only foreign language taught in Japan, and it is a common practice to use Katakana equivalents to teach how to say things. It's only natural.

I've seen textbooks Furigana everywhere :wink:
This is probably why EngRish persists. Japanese language and therefore katakana do not distinguish /æ ʌ a ɑ ə ɜ/ using ア(ー), thats 6 common phonemes in English though (same in Greek, half of them merge to <α> and the rest to <ε>. My first English classes used transliteration is the Greek alphabet as an aid, and in combination with teachers not caring to correct students' accents, explains why most Greeks and Cypriots suck at spoken English, like me). Katakana as it is used now, no way it can help them. And if you invent a bunch of new combinations to represent sounds that are not in Japanese, I don't think it will be easier for them than learning the target spelling in the first place, imo.

It's even more common to show readings for Hanzi and Hangeul.

Chinese and Korean have a ton of consonants that are allophonic in Japanese (for example シ can be xi si or shi in Mandarin).
Such pronunciations are OK if you are borrowing a new Chinese or Korean word in Japanese, but not if you are learning to speak the language. That's way Japanese sound funny to Chinese and Korean speakers as you said, isn't it?

Oh, and as for IPA in respect to English, that is almost if not completely futile. You can go down any given street in America and get a different set of linguistic data from individuals. It's why there is spelling to give an approximation. lol

Of course there will be allophony. Educational IPA is broad transcription. What you need is a way to show that, eg luck and tough have the vowel, whether it is [ʌ], [ɐ] or [ʊ] or something else. IPA can do it, phonetic respelling can do it. Katakana cannot do it. It merges more sounds than it should.
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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby IMABI » 2011-07-07, 23:05

:(
I don't see what's so wrong about trying to push Katakana to its limits. I disagree when it comes to learning the script of another language about the very beginning. We can't get everyone to learn the IPA for the given language they're studying. Think of a Japanese kid that wants to learn say French. Do you think his or her first words will be better remembered in Kana or in the French alphabet? My goal, though, is not for educational purposes. It's just for fun and to see if one can truly use Katakana to represent as many sounds as possible. Plus, you'll always have some poor souls that just forget stuff. It's part of the reason why I still use romanization for advance students because I can't guarantee their knowledge of given characters. I do think it would be easier for approximation for Japanese speakers: it gives a medium. As for x and sh in Mandarin, Katakana most definitely needs to be manipulated to show different phonemes. Similar steps I might add are being proposed for different phonemes from Standard Japanese in Okinawan languages. For now, making approximate vowel blocks is the most practical first step. Besides, as for Americans, people need to somehow speak English with some sort of standardization. Americans just say "what?" too many times--a stereotype against my own kind. lol

I am still weighing the options of whether using, for example, キィ or キュィ. Maybe the later can be used to, like you stated earlier, represent labio-palatal approximation. I was merely at the beginning of this forum trying to propose an interesting option I thought of. Maybe we can add a ゜to make xi. シ゜??

I am no supporter of making Japanese people write in Romanization. That's absurd. That was tried in occupation after WWII but met with horrible cultural backlashes. I, as I believe I have said before on another chat, want to use Kanji as much as practically possible and get rid of the mazegaki and kakikae made de facto during simplification. The goal for extending Kana is for Japanese to not automatically have to drop their script in foreign language transliteration. Why would transliteration be such a big no? When I was learning Japanese years ago the amount of extended Kana available online was at least half of what it is now. So, there have been people since then that have thought of methods to extend the system. This makes everything seem less farfetched. If I would ever learn Greek, I would want to stick to my native English alphabet until I got the hang of it.

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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby md0 » 2011-07-08, 0:11

As I said, I'd love to do this just to see how far can katakana go. I love that kind of stuff.
But, as I stated in my previous post, it's not efficient in teaching a language. It can work for a phrasebook or for some very specific uses tho.

As for what would be more practical for a student to step into a new language with, my experience says Native script + hints of IPA.
I learnt my first English using Greek transliteration and even when it was phased out (very quickly, thankfully), I wasn't given any explanation on how "bat" and "but" are different, and after some 14 years of English classes, my pronunciation is still crap (and you will notice it in my posts here, I make many typos involving minimal pairs like "live" and "leave"). On the contrary, our French professor taught us the IPA and the theory behind all the French sounds that do not exist in our languages (front rounded vowels, fermé-ouvert distinction, nasalized vowels, e caduc, and the 3 semi-voyelles) first thing when we stepped into the classroom. And she never used any transcription whatsoever. As a result, I am more speech conscious in French than in English. Which basically boils down to the fact than I can have a relatively fluent accent in French when I am not too lazy to bother with ... the fermé-ouvert distinction basically. Of all the French features, this is the hardest to master if you are a Greek speaker.


Regarding the /ji/ sound... I admit that イィ is not a very good solution, due to it's colloquial use in place of イー. ユィ is an established convention as it seems, but it does breaks the pattern. /je/ is イェ. I don't like it when it happens, but maybe its necessary.
If ユィ is taken for /ji/ though, what can we use for the very Frenchy labio-palatal consonant? I parse ユィ as Yウィ, so /jwi/ -> [ɥi] seemed natural. クィ is taken by /kwi/, クュィ would correspond to /kji/, so /kɥi/ can be... ビㇲクュゥィ? parsed as bi-s-k-j-wi (biscuit). (We can use the Ainu extensions to represent syllable-final consonant sounds).

Typical/received Japanese シ is the same as Mandarin xi (a /ɕ/), so we can use the handakuten for shi, /ʂ/. /s/ can be represented with スィ, which is an established convention (but leaves us with no /swi/?).
Same with the respective affricates, using チ.

What about aspiration? It's allophonic in Japanese so there's just パピプペポ for example, but Mandarin has ph and p. If these conventions are going to be universal, then we can't have ba-gyou to copy Pinyin's use of b for unaspirated p, because voicing is contrastive in other languages, including Japanese. Maybe small ha-gyou?
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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby IMABI » 2011-07-08, 0:37

Yes, I would agree with the Ainu extensions for consonant ending sounds. I think ɥ could be ユゥ・ユゥァ, etc. I guess precedent has to be made to make yi-consonant sounds something like ミィ.

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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby md0 » 2011-07-08, 14:09

Before we decide how to represent ɥ, we first need to decide on how to write the front rounded vowel /y/, which is the syllabic version of ɥ. A modifier for roundness.... handakuten is round allright, but it's taken. On ra-gyou it's /l/, on ka-gyou it's /ŋ/. So a digraph is the only option.
I don't think there was any convention for [y] in Japanese dialectology... or for any round front vowel for that matter. French uses u with the front vowels (eu, œu and a plain u instead of *iu), German uses e in the form of umlaut with the back vowels to show frontness (ö ü).
イゥ vs ウェ... イゥ for [y], ュゥ for [ɥ]. リ゛ュゥィ ljwi, lui.
That was kinda circular, I can't thing of something new.
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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby IMABI » 2011-07-08, 16:47

ウィー is used to represent yː in the Nagoya Dialect.
オイという連母音はオェー([øː]または[öː])に、ウイという連母音はウィー([yː]または[üː])に変化することがある。

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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby md0 » 2011-07-08, 16:55

Interesting, I haven't read much about Nagoya dialect, or anything about south Honshu dialects except Osaka-ben for that matter. If you have any links, please share.

Well, we can't use ウィ for [y], without resurrecting the wa-gyou's ヰ for [wi], can ヰー? :P
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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby IMABI » 2011-07-08, 16:59

The chou'onpu is used to distinguish though. I've been seeing that used to distinguish certain things. We could resurrect the old wu, yi, and ye Katakana proposed during the Meiji Reformation?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katakana This has pictures of them. It's just that they haven't been added to Unicode. But, if they were resurrected, that would all change. This would solve three problems wouldn't it?
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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby md0 » 2011-07-08, 17:36

Again, you need to decide if these conventions ought to be universal or language-specific.
ウィー can also stand for /wi:/, for example. But if lets say this convention is only for French, AFAIK there's no /i:/ at all, so the long vowel mark can serve as a disambiguator.

The yi ye wu kana are indeed outside Unicode, but we can still have fonts that include them in the private codepoints. A while ago I had a font that had the entire hiragana か゜行 in precomposed characters (you couldn't type them with an IME though).
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Re: Katakana Extension

Postby IMABI » 2011-07-08, 17:45

I wouldn't want to go code hunting. I was just showing you what the orthographic standard was for a particular Japanese dialect. We could still invert the characters in the digraph to get to what you showed earlier. Whatever gets done to Katakana should be universal.


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