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kokyu
09-30-2005, 08:27 PM
I should have asked this question when I was living in Japan, but somehow, I never got around to asking :)

There seem to be 2 different ways of pronouncing 「本部」. From what I know about the Japanese language, it should be 'honbu' , but many people pronounce it hombu - even in Aikido textbooks, people translate
「本部道場」 as Hombu Dojo (and not Honbu Dojo)

I noticed this 'm' and 'n' pronunciation difference in the subway as well. For example, 「日本橋」 in hiragana is written にほんばし, but in English, it is written as Nihombashi (and not Nihonbashi).

I would really be grateful if someone could explain the 'correct' pronunciation of 「本部道場」

Peter Goldsbury
09-30-2005, 09:13 PM
A similar case is the word for newspaper in Japanese. This is 新聞 in Chinese characters and しんぶん in katakana. However, the English translation favoured by my local newspaper is Chugoku Shimbun, with an 'm', not Shinbun, with an 'n'.

I think you are mixing up pronouncing and writing. Uttering the word is governed by the conventions of euphony, or ease of pronunciation. So it becomes shimbun, Hombu. Writing the word in kana, for example, is governed by the conventions of the syllabary. Every consonant in Japanese except 'n' is followed by a vowel. so there is no way of writing 'shinbun' with an 'm'.

akiy
09-30-2005, 11:07 PM
If I remember correctly, the linguistic terminology for this would be "reverse assimilation in the place of articulation." The usual "n" sound is produced at the alveolar ridge (that "shelf" right behind your teeth) However, as Peter alluded to above, since there's a bilabial (eg "b", "p") sound coming after the "n" sound, the lazy human mouth decides that it'll save it some trouble and uses nasal bilabial consonant (ie "m") rather than a nasal alveolar consonant (ie "n"). You'll see such things even in English in words such as "impossible" (which most likely came from adding the prefix "in-" to the word "possible).

As far as actually pronouncing that part of the words goes, I think you'd be hard pressed to distinguish someone saying "honbu" (with a real "n") and "hombu" in regular, everyday speech with their back turned towards you. (Similarly, the "th" and "f' sounds are also hard to distinguish without visual and contextual cues.) Seriously, I kind of doubt there are many Japanese folks out there who would say "ho n bu" rather than "ho m bu" when speaking naturally.

Transliteration or the art/science of writing Japanese words in the Roman alphabet is not consistent. Some people write "kenpo" while others write "kempo." Some people even write "si" rather than "shi" -- probably since, technically, there's no "si" sound (as in the Spanish "yes" or the German "if") in Japanese. There are even other issues such as nigori (the voicing of certain consonants in a compound word) where some people write "katatedori" while others write "katatetori." Also tricky is the case of long vowels -- if we were really picky about it, we'd probably be writing the name of the art as "aikidou" rather than "aikido" since the last vowel is a long one...

Peter, Chris, Michael, David I, and anyone else, please feel free to correct me if anything I wrote above sounds wrong...

-- Jun

Rupert Atkinson
09-30-2005, 11:44 PM
Honbu is how it is written, Hombu is how it is pronounced. It is confusing as they look / sound so similar but consider say the Chinese written 'x' that is pronounced 'shi' and you might see what I mean.

akiy
10-01-2005, 09:30 AM
Honbu is how it is written, Hombu is how it is pronounced.
I think that's an interesting distinction to make, but it's not universal; I'll point out that some places use "hombu" written (eg the Aikikai (http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/hombu.htm) website, the Yoshinkan (http://www.yoshinkan-aikido.org/contents/hombu_dojo?language=english) website). Other places may use "honbu" written, too, though, making this all the less clear cut in the long run...

-- Jun

diesel
10-01-2005, 05:19 PM
I have asked a japanese person this question.. The answer deals with the natural flow of speech.

Say honbu 5 times fast, then say hombu 5 times. The 'n' has a 'hard' or elongated sound to it. In natural speech, it is easier to roll that sound to an 'm' as opposed to an 'n'. Prevents a slow down in speech.

Another example of this is sushi. Alot of japanese people will say zushi when using it in a sentence. Here is another example.. 'inari sushi' and 'inari zushi' The 's' is a hard sound where the 'z' rolls off the tongue easily..

My .02..

senshincenter
10-01-2005, 06:52 PM
Yes, I have understood things like Rupert - in part at least. The "n" or "m" distinction has to do with how characters are romanized when they are written - not how it is pronounced when spoken. Different romanized systems use one or the other. The one I learned in school never used the "m" (only used "n") - others did. Either way, when reading or romanizing you were supposed to know that the pronunciation was neither an "n" nor an "m" but was a kind of in between thing - a nasal "n". In studying Japanese, I have never been taught to pronounce things with a lone "n" or a lone "m," even though in some cases I'm sure that one could get away with speaking like this (as in "honbu" and "hombu"). I was taught to always produce a nasal "n" sound when reading the character in question.

Zato Ichi
10-01-2005, 07:10 PM
Honbu is how it is written, Hombu is how it is pronounced.

Sounds like "honbu" so me. Maybe it's just Kansai.

nekobaka
10-01-2005, 07:38 PM
I was taught that when ん is followed by p or b sounds, it is pronounced m, as Jun said.

Another example of this is sushi. Alot of japanese people will say zushi when using it in a sentence. Here is another example.. 'inari sushi' and 'inari zushi' The 's' is a hard sound where the 'z' rolls off the tongue easily..

another rule that is difficult because most of time you change the s to z when it is the last part of a compound word. but about 10% of the time there are expections. :grr:

kokyu
10-01-2005, 09:37 PM
Honbu is how it is written, Hombu is how it is pronounced. It is confusing as they look / sound so similar but consider say the Chinese written 'x' that is pronounced 'shi' and you might see what I mean.

That's an interesting comment. However, in the case of the Chinese 'x', the pronunciation rule is a sound between 's' and 'sh', so there isn't any confusion in my opinion - i.e. one sees 'x' and *knows* how it is pronounced.

Another example of this is sushi. Alot of japanese people will say zushi when using it in a sentence. Here is another example.. 'inari sushi' and 'inari zushi' The 's' is a hard sound where the 'z' rolls off the tongue easily..

That's true. However, the furigana for inari zushi (one of my favorites) is written as 「いなりずし」 or [inari zushi], so there's no confusion when pronouncing it.

I have never seen the furigana for 「本部道場」. Is it 「ほんぶどうじょう」 or 「ほむぶどうじょう」, i.e. [honbu doujou] or [homubu doujou]? The latter being a case where the 'u' in 「む」 or [mu] is hardly pronounced.

The mind boggles. :p

Peter Goldsbury
10-01-2005, 09:40 PM
I mentioned 新聞 しんぶん because for a number of years I was the translator and editor of the English-language sections of our local newspaper that were published on August 6, the day commemorating the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. So I had to work with the Japanese members of the Editorial Department.

The question was how to translate the newspaper's title into English. Unhappy with Chugoku Newspaper, they wanted Shinbun or Shimbun in the title. I argued for Shinbun; they argued for Shimbun, on the grounds that this reflected better how the word was actually pronounced in Japanese (at least the Japanese spoken in this part of Japan).

Incidentally, I have never detected any difference in how Japanese living in the Kanto pronounce ほんぶ and how Japanese living here pronounce the word.

Peter Goldsbury
10-01-2005, 09:47 PM
I have never seen the furigana for 「本部道場」. Is it 「ほんぶどうじょう」 or 「ほむぶどうじょう」, i.e. [honbu doujou] or [homubu doujou]? The latter being a case where the 'u' in 「む」 or [mu] is hardly pronounced.

The mind boggles. :p

It is ほんぶどうじょう. As I stated in my first post, there is no way writing shimbun (or hombu) with an 'm' syllable in Japanese.

kokyu
10-02-2005, 01:05 AM
I mentioned 新聞 しんぶん because for a number of years I was the translator and editor of the English-language sections of our local newspaper that were published on August 6, the day commemorating the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. So I had to work with the Japanese members of the Editorial Department.

The question was how to translate the newspaper's title into English. Unhappy with Chugoku Newspaper, they wanted Shinbun or Shimbun in the title. I argued for Shinbun; they argued for Shimbun, on the grounds that this reflected better how the word was actually pronounced in Japanese (at least the Japanese spoken in this part of Japan).



Hmmm... that's very interesting. It appears that the Romaji pronunciation is more faithful to the actual pronunciation than the Hiragana one. So, I guess for 「日本橋」 one should read [Nihombashi] and not [Nihonbashi].

This is one of those things that makes the study of Japanese difficult. It's something one has to pick up from usage rather than the textbook. Just like intonation. For example, we have 「かき」[kaki] which could mean oyster 「牡蠣」 or persimmon 「柿」, but intonation is used to differentiate the two. I remember this very well because a friend of mine was saying 「かき」[kaki] but it sounded like 「牡蠣」[oyster] rather than 「柿」[persimmon]. This caused some confusion to the Japanese listeners :)

(There are tones in Chinese, but standardized accent marks or numbers are used to indicate the intonation)

Zato Ichi
10-02-2005, 03:12 AM
Hmmm... that's very interesting. It appears that the Romaji pronunciation is more faithful to the actual pronunciation than the Hiragana one. So, I guess for 「日本橋」 one should read [Nihombashi] and not [Nihonbashi].

Actually, the locals pronounce it にっぽんばし, and is romanized as Nipponbashi.

kokyu
10-02-2005, 04:39 AM
Actually, the locals pronounce it にっぽんばし, and is romanized as Nipponbashi.

They may pronounce it as Nipponbashi, but I distinctly remember the Romanization as Nihombashi on the chikatetsu [subway] wall.

Peter Goldsbury
10-02-2005, 04:43 AM
Hmmm... that's very interesting. It appears that the Romaji pronunciation is more faithful to the actual pronunciation than the Hiragana one. So, I guess for 「"・-{橋」 one should read [Nihombashi] and not [Nihonbashi].

Heavens no. You could never spell the sacred name for the land of the gods with an 'm', especially here. Japanese soccer fans always shout "Gambare Nippon!", not "Gambare Nihon!" :)

Of course, がんばる is another example.

kokyu
10-02-2005, 06:21 AM
Actually, the locals pronounce it にっぽんばし, and is romanized as Nipponbashi.

I noticed that you are from Osaka, so the Romanization may be different from what one sees in Tokyo.

These two sites refer to 「日本橋」 as Nihombashi.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihonbashi
http://www.jref.com/practical/nihombashi.shtml

I guess the sites have to be edited ;)

Rupert Atkinson
10-02-2005, 07:08 AM
Honbu is how it is written, Hombu is how it is pronounced.

I still stand by what I said, but accept that locals may tend to produce both versions. Think of the word - often - how do you say it? I am from the UK and pronounce the 't', but accept that not everyone in the UK does. However, I have yet to meet an American who pronounces the 't'. But that is pure pronunciation - we don't have any particular rules about it. Japanese romanisation, on the other hand, follows rules that non-natives follow (if they know them), whereas natives could not care less about such rules. I learned to write 'n' to match the Japanese 'n', and 'm' to follow the Japanese 'm' - writing is writing, after all. Pronunciation is something else, so 'n' followed by 'b' in the spoken form changes to 'm'. But as some natives ignore it, so may you.

diesel
10-02-2005, 10:47 PM
How did you learn to write the japanese 'm' when there is no letter to correspond to it in the japanese alphabets? Even in romanization from hiragana and katakana, ほんぶ romanized is honbu. Romanization doesn't hold true for phoenetic and spoken rules..

I understand what you are saying about spoken japanese, but romanizing because the sounds are pronounced different is bad.. back to your example, lets write often as offen, or across as acrost. Try backwards translating that.. わかる?

Try searching a japanese dictionary for hombu...

Rupert Atkinson
10-03-2005, 01:18 AM
How did you learn to write the japanese 'm' when there is no letter to correspond to it in the japanese alphabets? Even in romanization from hiragana and katakana, ほんぶ romanized is honbu. Romanization doesn't hold true for phoenetic and spoken rules..

Try searching a japanese dictionary for hombu...

Speaking of 'm' - the only written ones are: ma, mi, mu, me, mo.

There is no final 'm', only a final 'n'.

In fact, 'n' is the only final consonant in Japanese, is it not? Everything else ends in a vowel. And 'm' only appears between syllables.

Ron Tisdale
10-03-2005, 02:24 PM
You gentlemen are reinforcing my idea that there is no earthly reason to learn japanese!

Ron (just kidding)

James Angelo
10-04-2005, 07:23 AM
I agree with most of the previous postings. According to my Kodansha Japanese-English dictionaries, the Japanese syllable "n" can be pronounced in at least 6 different ways depending on the sound that follows the "n."

It's pronounced as "m" as in "market" before an "m," "b," or "p" sound, so according to this dictionary, the standard pronunciation of the word in question is "hombu." However, the romanization used in the dictionaries is "honbu," which doesn't reflect the actual pronunciation of the word.

It's pronounced as "n" as in "nation" before a "t," "d," "n," "ch," "j," or "z" sound.

Check the dictionaries for the complete pronunciation guide. Having said all these, I do think that a native speaker will often not be aware of the different variations and that the actual sounds they produce may not be exactly the same as the english approximations.

Rupert Atkinson
10-04-2005, 08:49 AM
I think that's an interesting distinction to make, but it's not universal; I'll point out that some places use "hombu" written (eg the Aikikai (http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/hombu.htm) website, the Yoshinkan (http://www.yoshinkan-aikido.org/contents/hombu_dojo?language=english) website). Other places may use "honbu" written, too, though, making this all the less clear cut in the long run...

-- Jun

Just because they use it (the 'm') does not make it right :)

As part of my job I have to deal with the romanisation of Korean - a real nightmare. Japanese romanisation is 100 times easier. As an aside, if you ever decide to learn Korean , never ever try to learn it using romanisation - just learn their alphabet and start from there.

akiy
10-04-2005, 09:14 AM
Just because they use it (the 'm') does not make it right :)
You're right, of course, but I'm not arguing which one is "right." Just that what you wrote does not apply universally.

Using Google Battle (http://douweosinga.com/projects/googlebattle), a site which returns to you the number of "results" indexed for two certain keywords in Google and lets you know which one is used more often, "honbu" is, indeed, used much more at 410,000 results and "hombu" at less than a third of that at 134,000 (results (http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=honbu&word2=hombu)).

However, taking into account Peter Goldsbury's thoughts on the Japanese term for "newspaper," I found out that "shinbun" returns 818,000 results and "shimbun" 6,780,000 results (results (http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=shinbun&word2=shimbun)).

Transliteration is not an exact science and does and will point out the differences between the spoken and written language. The Japanese participle はand the postposition へ are usually transliterated as "wa" and "e" rather than "ha" and "he" due to the way they are pronounced rather than the way they are written.

Even using the "strictest" of transliteration rules into the regular English alphabet will lose certain distinctions. As someone pointed out, "homonyms" that differ only in intonation is difficult to convey through romaji only (eg kaki, hashi, sake, ame). (Of course, the same problem exists in hiragana, but that's another story in contextual references.) Also, there are even situations such as a vowel followed by a glottal stop that are used in certain interjections (eg 「あっ」、「えっ」、「うっ」 ) which presents a difficulty in how to transliliterate that into just romaji. In my experience, in order to properly convey these kinds of subtle differences that provide difficulties for simple transliteration, the international phonetic alphabet or some other such system would do much better in properly dealing with these kinds of cases.

Any way, sorry I digressed a bit. But, hopefully, that'll provide some information on this subject for those interested.

-- Jun, recovering linguist

kokyu
10-04-2005, 10:08 AM
You gentlemen are reinforcing my idea that there is no earthly reason to learn japanese!

We are just talking pronunciation here... wait till you see the grammar :D

As part of my job I have to deal with the romanisation of Korean - a real nightmare. Japanese romanisation is 100 times easier. As an aside, if you ever decide to learn Korean , never ever try to learn it using romanisation - just learn their alphabet and start from there.

Coincidentally, I am learning Korean. And I started with their alphabet (no romanization). Why is romanization so much more difficult for Korean than Japanese? I am curious.

senshincenter
10-04-2005, 10:35 AM
I've been taught (and have come to agree with) that good language programs in Japanese do NOT bother with any romanization at all. Maybe you are just in a good Korean language program. :-)

Rupert Atkinson
10-04-2005, 05:09 PM
Coincidentally, I am learning Korean. And I started with their alphabet (no romanization). Why is romanization so much more difficult for Korean than Japanese? I am curious.

Can of worms slowly opening ...

Korean has lots of consonats, lots of vowels, and they all mix together to make soup. Next, there are three systems of romanisation of which Koreans know none as they don't need them. Therefore, they just write anything they please.

The Korean govt. made the latest version in 2000 and has slowly being trying to get things in order, but most scholars prefer the old system and still use that. Finally, linguistic scholars use their own version. Basically, don't even go there - just learn the Korean alphabet.

kokyu
10-04-2005, 06:51 PM
I've been taught (and have come to agree with) that good language programs in Japanese do NOT bother with any romanization at all

Well... I have to admit that I got confused with the Katakana 'ro' 「ロ」and the Korean 'mieum' [m]. Unfortunately, they are written in the same way and both writing systems are phonetic :(

Next, there are three systems of romanisation of which Koreans know none as they don't need them. Therefore, they just write anything they please. Basically, don't even go there - just learn the Korean alphabet.

Thanks for the heads-up... I'll stick with Hangul :p

kokyu
10-04-2005, 07:46 PM
Using Google Battle (http://douweosinga.com/projects/googlebattle), a site which returns to you the number of "results" indexed for two certain keywords in Google and lets you know which one is used more often, "honbu" is, indeed, used much more at 410,000 results and "hombu" at less than a third of that at 134,000 (results (http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=honbu&word2=hombu)).

However, taking into account Peter Goldsbury's thoughts on the Japanese term for "newspaper," I found out that "shinbun" returns 818,000 results and "shimbun" 6,780,000 results (results (http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=shinbun&word2=shimbun)).


Akiyama san, thanks for the statistics. It's possible that the Japanese word for "newspaper" would be found more often in a website hosted in Japan. Hence, the preference for the "standardized" [shimbun] as found in Yomiuri Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, etc... It's also possible that the word [Hombu]/[Honbu] was found on a number of websites not hosted in Japan. Because the standard Kanji Romanization is Honbu, we find more instances of Honbu than Hombu. The other thing is that [Hombu] isn't as widely known as [Shimbun], so people may use the [Honbu] Romanization.

Since the Aikikai and Yoshinkan websites use [Hombu], I guess I'll stick to "Hombu" as well :)

saltlakeaiki
10-05-2005, 12:13 PM
Oh my, I see I have been needed here :) The correct answer has basically been given, but I feel the need to sum up, add some detail, and knock out a few misconceptions. I now see that the thread has started to run away from me since I started writing this, so I better post this quickly before it becomes entirely irrelevant. Sorry to repeat some things others have said, and for not attributing quotes to the various individuals.

First a frame of reference: the sound (phoneme) at issue here is what is known as the "mora nasal" in Japanese linguistics circles. Aside from being the only consonant which can close a syllable, it is also a kind of "promiscuous" (my word :)) sound, in that it will match certain of its features to whatever sound comes next to (after) it. When it is not followed by a consonant in the same word (e.g. /hon/ 'book', /hen'atsuki/ 'voltage transformer'), the default pronunciation is as a uvular, which means your tongue touches way in the back of your throat, even further back than for [k] and [g] (in some dialects it may be the same place as [k,g], I'm not sure). When it is followed by a labial ([b], [p] or [m]) however, it becomes labial ([m]), when it is followed by a velar such as [k] it becomes velar (c.f. English "think", "sing"), etc.

I think you are mixing up pronouncing and writing.Precisely!

Uttering the word is governed by the conventions of euphony, or ease of pronunciation. So it becomes shimbun, Hombu.Yes and no. How things are pronounced is governed mostly by phonology, although phonology is often influenced historically by such things as ease of pronunciation. In this case, the mora nasal becomes an [m] before [p,b,m] not because it's easier to say, but because it is so determined by the phonology of Japanese. The point is this: if it were only a question of ease for the speaker, it would be ok for people who like to always do things the hard way to pronounce words like /honbu/ as [hoNbu] rather than [hombu]. But it's not ok. It's a "rule" that that sound is realized as [m] in production. If a native speaker went around saying [hoNbu], people would begin to steer clear of him with sidelong glances. This is a textbook example of phonology.

Every consonant in Japanese except 'n' is followed by a vowel. so there is no way of writing 'shinbun' with an 'm'Except in roomaji :D And actually this is not strictly true, either, if you accept the theory that small "tsu" is a consonant (called the mora consonant) which is followed by another consonant in doubling situations.

If I remember correctly, the linguistic terminology for this would be "reverse assimilation in the place of articulation."Actually it's "regressive". I used to say "reverse" all the time, too, until I finally learned it :) This sort of regressive nasal assimiliation is very common among the world's languages. English certainly does it.

the lazy human mouth decides that it'll save it some trouble and uses nasal bilabial consonant (ie "m") rather than a nasal alveolar consonantNow now, we don't make value judgements such as "lazy" in linguistics :)

You'll see such things even in English in words such as "impossible" (which most likely came from adding the prefix "in-" to the word "possible").Thank you... here's a beautiful case of a very similar sort of phonologization. The "im-" in this word absolutely does derive from "in-", but ease-of-pronunciation has become encoded as part of the language. Which is to say, you can't say .

Honbu is how it is written, Hombu is how it is pronounced.This brings up a good point that we should always keep in mind when trying to "mix" languages and writing systems. Is "honbu" really how it's written? Of course not. It's really written ほんぶ. Why can we say that it's written as "honbu"? Because we are taught that the mora nasal ん represents an 'n' sound, and in general we tend to use the letter 'n' in writing for almost all nasal sounds. Because as English speakers we are not aware of the differences between nasal sounds, many of us don't even notice that the mora nasal is by default a uvular (tongue back) rather than our own default, alveolar (tongue forward).

It's probably safe to say that in all the European languages there are no other letters used for nasal sounds than 'n' and 'm', and all of them except the labials (m and m-like) are spelled with 'n' (possibly with diacritics as in Spanish enya). In English, for example, we use the same letter 'n' to spell the nasal sound in the word "thin" and in the word "think", even though these two sounds are very different - they share nothing in common other than nasality.

So these romanizations are convenient shorthands, conventions, what-have-you... but we need to remember that they are not in the sort of 1-to-1 relationship with the phonetics of Japanese that we like to imagine they are.

Another example of this is sushi. Alot of japanese people will say zushi when using it in a sentence. Here is another example.. 'inari sushi' and 'inari zushi'No, this is an entirely different issue. It's called "rendaku" (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4731) . And it's not "a lot of Japanese people", it's all of them :)

Sounds like "honbu" so me. Maybe it's just Kansai.I suspect your perception is being influenced by your knowledge of the writing system, which is probably also enabling a kind of interference from your native language English. On the other hand it's also conceivable that Kansai pronunciation is characterized by a slightly greater degree of uvular closure than for Kantou people. If you're especially sensitive to such acoustics, you might be picking up on something like that. However I'm [i]quite certain that the basic phonology of assimilation discussed above applies just as well to Kansai-ben as to all other dialects.

That's true. However, the furigana for inari zushi (one of my favorites) is written as 「いなりずし」 or [inari zushi], so there's no confusion when pronounciRight. In this case, the phonology is brought to the surface so you can see it in writing (ten-ten). In the case of mora nasal assimilation you can't see the differences in writing, hence this long diatribe :)

Hmmm... that's very interesting. It appears that the Romaji pronunciation is more faithful to the actual pronunciation than the Hiragana one. So, I guess for 「日本橋」 one should read [Nihombashi] and not [Nihonbashi].It's not a question of faithfulness. Roman transcription (inasmuch as the Hepburn system is the most heavily used) usually opts in favor of representing the pronunciation of things for the benefit of foreigners (we have seen from Peter's anecdote that the newspaper editors preferred this approach). The native writing system of Japanese doesn't need to be so phonetically precise, because speakers of Japanese already know how writing maps to pronunciation. In English as well, we have tons of words that are written in a way which is (apparently) quite different from the way they are pronounced - the result of hundreds of years of history, and contact with other languages. There have been many attempts to change the spelling of English to be more phonetically transparent, but all have failed, and always will fail, because we need the history which is encoded in those bizarre spellings. And as native speakers we have no trouble (usually :)) pronouncing them correctly in spite of this.

Actually, the locals pronounce it にっぽんばし, and is romanized as Nipponbashi.Not to be pedantic :D, but (for reasons alluded to above) pronunciation cannot be encoded in hiragana. Hiragana is an abstraction, almost as much as the way the roman alphabet is used in English! (although certainly not nearly as much as kanji :)) Really the best thing to use would be IPA (Int'l Phonetic Alphabet), but lacking that, roomaji will do. This name is pronounced [nippombashi]. Note that native speakers of any language often are not aware of how they really pronounce things, and will often report that they would never say "X", when in fact they say "X" every day. It can take quite a bit of introspection to discover the truth...

They may pronounce it as Nipponbashi, but I distinctly remember the Romanization as Nihombashi on the chikatetsu [subway] wall.I think the confusion here is that there are 2 places with this name, one in Tokyo and one in Osaka. The Tokyo place is [nihombashi] and the Osaka one is [nippombashi]. They are written with the same kanji, of course.

Dave

Rupert Atkinson
10-05-2005, 06:48 PM
Great answer - isn't lingusitics great!

saltlakeaiki
10-05-2005, 07:19 PM
Great answer - isn't lingusitics great!It like, totally r00lz :)

BTW, there was something you said earlier that I wanted to comment on...
Think of the word - often - how do you say it? I am from the UK and pronounce the 't', but accept that not everyone in the UK does. However, I have yet to meet an American who pronounces the 't'.You need to get around more :D There are TONS of Americans who pronounce the /t/. I don't (I'm from Philadelphia), and I suspect it's primarily northeasterners who don't. Pretty much everyone here in Utah, where I live, pronounces it, and I think that's generally true in the West.

But that is pure pronunciation - we don't have any particular rules about it.Shall we say it's "pure dialect variation"? :)

Dave

Zato Ichi
10-05-2005, 07:45 PM
I suspect your perception is being influenced by your knowledge of the writing system, which is probably also enabling a kind of interference from your native language English. On the other hand it's also conceivable that Kansai pronunciation is characterized by a slightly greater degree of uvular closure than for Kantou people. If you're especially sensitive to such acoustics, you might be picking up on something like that. However I'm quite certain that the basic phonology of assimilation discussed above applies just as well to Kansai-ben as to all other dialects.
David, no offense, but do not presume to tell me what I hear and what I don't hear. :grr:

saltlakeaiki
10-06-2005, 04:40 PM
No offense intended to you either, Rob... and you're quite right... I really have no way of knowing what you hear. If anything, it seems to me that I was suggesting that your hearing might be more acute than the average person, though you're under no obligation to take it as a compliment :) On the other hand, I do have a darn good idea about the way Japanese people talk (including Kansai people). Just to satisfy myself, though, I'll elicit some pronunciation from a couple Osakajin I know here in Salt Lake.

I still haven't quite learned after several years in this biz that people don't always react with fascination when you try to tell them (or even speculate) what's going on in their heads, linguistically. It's nothing you need to take personally. Your private thoughts are private, but the way you process language is not. You are what you speak (to some extent). If you think it would be ridiculous to be offended by the suggestion that your body is subject to the laws of physics, then you shouldn't be offended by what I've said, either.

Dave

arister
10-08-2005, 07:23 AM
Yeah, gotta love it. Just from a lay person's point of view, this reminds me of my being pestered for two years with the question about whether my name should be spelled and/or pronounced (and you'll have to forgive the inaccurate transliteration as my computer is ancient and I am lazy) "mi sshe ru" with a small "tsu" or "mi she ru" without the small "tsu." My answer was always the same- you choose. I really didn't mind one way or the other because before living in Japan I hadn't known that either possibility existed.

saltlakeaiki
10-08-2005, 12:51 PM
I really didn't mind one way or the other because before living in Japan I hadn't known that either possibility existed.Naturally, because these possibilities only exist in Japan :)

Dave

Mike Fugate
10-12-2005, 08:57 PM
Isnt it just like "kenpo" and 'kempo"...i pronounce it as Kempo..but it translated in to english as keNpo?

nekobaka
10-12-2005, 10:17 PM
I definetly will never study linguistics. :blush:

saltlakeaiki
10-13-2005, 10:32 AM
I definetly will never study linguistics. :blush:I have failed :sorry: :D

arister
10-22-2005, 05:55 AM
Naturally, because these possibilities only exist in Japan.

Yes, thank you, Mr. Iannucci. That was my point.

Dirk Hanss
10-22-2005, 12:57 PM
Naturally, because these possibilities only exist in Japan :)

Dave
Wrong!
It is more natural speaking. Even the Romans had this problem. You even find it in English words like im-portant and many others. But as they wrote already in Latin characters, the Romans changed writing. And in German we often use the French "bonbon" for sweets and at kid I pronounced it "bomm-bomm". Well, now it might be not so hard, but there is still at least one m in the middle.

Just my 2 cts (but Euro-cents are worth more for the time being ;) )

Dirk

saltlakeaiki
10-23-2005, 01:31 PM
Wrong! It is more natural speaking. Even the Romans had this problem. You even find it in English words like im-portant and many others.The possibilities referred to are not related to the above discussion of nasal assimiliation, but rather to the insertion (or not) of the mora consonant (small "tsu") into the coda of the first syllable of Michelle's name :)

Also, I don't think nasal assimilation is generally considered a "problem" :D

Dave

Dirk Hanss
10-23-2005, 01:47 PM
Sorry David,
should have read mor carefully.

Regards Dirk