Hiragana and Katakana

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Kubi
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Postby Kubi » 2005-09-15, 13:11

Car wrote:Thanks, that's interesting. So the "h" in "hy" does indeed become [ç]? That's the impression I sometimes had, but I wasn't sure. Now I know how to pronounce that, actually, I wanted to ask that. ;)

I'm not sure how exactly you want to know it, but the "hi" is actually farther back in the mouth than the German "ich". So it's not precisely the same sound, but a very similar one. For practical purposes the German [ç] will always do the trick.

What's the thing with the devoicing of vowels? I can (again, only sometimes) here something e.g. at the end of a sentence, but I don't know how to pronounce it that way.

It means that "i" and "u" tend to not being pronounced between unvoiced consonants and at the end of a word unless being stressed. Therefore "desu" sounds like [des], and "-masu" like "[mas]". Depending on region and speaker the dgree of devoicing differs, women usually devoice less than men.

I'll definitely have a look at the link a few times, but I'm happy to know I figured a few things out myself, like the pronunciation of "g", I didn't understand the explanation in my book.

Kubi wrote:Actually, both exist. In Japan I've heard it pronounced both open and closed, though the open one was more frequent. I'm not sure which is the "official" version, though.


Ok.[/quote]
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Car
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Postby Car » 2005-09-15, 13:57

Kubi wrote:It means that "i" and "u" tend to not being pronounced between unvoiced consonants and at the end of a word unless being stressed. Therefore "desu" sounds like [des], and "-masu" like "[mas]". Depending on region and speaker the dgree of devoicing differs, women usually devoice less than men.


Then I misunderstood the text completely... So I can leave them out, just as I did so far, right?
Please correct my mistakes!

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Kubi
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Postby Kubi » 2005-09-15, 14:16

Car wrote:So I can leave them out, just as I did so far, right?

In those cases, yes. Though you'll sound more feminine if you leave them trailing a bit :wink:
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Postby Psi-Lord » 2005-09-15, 14:24

Useful links for writing and for checking some slightly different variations (because of the font style):

http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/~ts/japanese/javatype.html

http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/~ts/japanese ... troke.html

http://www.sf.airnet.ne.jp/~ts/japanese ... troke.html
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IkimashoZ
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Postby IkimashoZ » 2005-09-15, 22:53

Car wrote:What's the thing with the devoicing of vowels? I can (again, only sometimes) here something e.g. at the end of a sentence, but I don't know how to pronounce it that way.


Devoicing of vowels occurs seemingly at random to us Westerners. But there are some cases where it works, and some cases where it doesn't. As far as the Japanese themselves are concerned (at least the ones that I've talked to) devoicing doesn't exist. I had a teacher in college who, when asked why she was saying "des" instead of "desu" responded that that she was indeed saying "desu." I've also heard some extraordinarily long final 'u' and 'i' sounds in addition to instances where those vowels don't seems to exist at all.

I haven't figured out the rhyme or reason to it yet. But it's fairly easily to get used to the fact that those two vowels tend to disappear. I'd say that probably the Japanese aren't really devoicing them in their minds, but that the sound is simply very, very short.
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Kubi
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Postby Kubi » 2005-09-16, 6:30

IkimashoZ wrote:I've also heard some extraordinarily long final 'u' and 'i' sounds

That can happen if the sentence is only half pronounced, in those cases of the famous "I don't need to say the rest, you know what I mean" phrases that end in the middle. Then the last syllable is often trailing relatively long in order to give an indication of "there's something more to be understood behind".

I'd say that probably the Japanese aren't really devoicing them in their minds, but that the sound is simply very, very short.

I'd say weak more than short. I don't think it's shorter, but it's pronounced with less "breathing effort", if you know what I mean...
Je défendrai mes opinions jusqu'à ma mort, mais je donnerai ma vie pour que vous puissiez défendre les vôtres. - Voltaire

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Postby Car » 2005-09-17, 10:12

Kubi wrote:
I'd say that probably the Japanese aren't really devoicing them in their minds, but that the sound is simply very, very short.

I'd say weak more than short. I don't think it's shorter, but it's pronounced with less "breathing effort", if you know what I mean...


I think that's what I heard sometimes.
Please correct my mistakes!


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