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    Default Question about romaji

    there a some character can be represented several ways, like

    ち = ti = chi
    つ = tu = tsu
    しょ = sho = syo

    is there a way to tell which is correct or they are both is correct ?

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    The native Japanese romanize in a way slightly different from the Western convention.

    We tend to romanize by approximating the pronunciation. For example, the T-column hiragana た・ち・つ・て・と would be ta, chi, tsu, te, to. This is the preferred way.

    However, the Japanese like to be more systematic, and they are more likely to use ta, ti, tu, te, to for the hiragana mentioned above. Likewise, you may see し = si instead of shi, ふ = hu instead of fu, and じゃ = zya instead of ja. This is not incorrect, but I, for one, certainly don't like to see this method being used in transliterations.

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    If you're interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Japanese
    has some small articles about various systems too

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    Quote Originally Posted by animeyay View Post
    The native Japanese romanize in a way slightly different from the Western convention.

    We tend to romanize by approximating the pronunciation. For example, the T-column hiragana た・ち・つ・て・と would be ta, chi, tsu, te, to. This is the preferred way.

    However, the Japanese like to be more systematic, and they are more likely to use ta, ti, tu, te, to for the hiragana mentioned above. Likewise, you may see し = si instead of shi, ふ = hu instead of fu, and じゃ = zya instead of ja. This is not incorrect, but I, for one, certainly don't like to see this method being used in transliterations.
    I know what you means, but I think this is the wrong way. Let's just see how Japanese people learn English, the mark all English word by katakana and trying to pronounce it the katakana way, then it become the biggest barrier when they need to communicate with who is native English. They know each other's English, but not the English spoken people's English ! So who has the most difficulty to learn English ? first Japanese, second Chinese.

    I really do not want to see this happen when some guy need to learn Japanese. But one may say, 'who cares, I'm not leaning Japanese, I'm just imitating', do you seriously think they are imitating English ? Even me, not English spoken, can tell, Oh horrible Japanglish.

    So the true problem is that it is used wisely, everybody familiars with this way. But I suggest use the Japanese way while leaning Japanese, they are pronouncing hu not fu, ex...

    Quote Originally Posted by LavaBug View Post
    If you're interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Japanese
    has some small articles about various systems too
    This really helps, I'll take a look.

    By the way, today I have just fail my jptest due to wrong romanization system used, but this is not a big deal, I can catch it up easily, there is nothing more than a text replace.

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    Yea but do they actually SAY 'tu' rather than 'tsu'? I mean the 'tu' like the English word "too"?

    But more importantly, we don't learn Japanese by reading romanized lyrics of anime songs. We do that in classrooms where romaji is not even recommended. Romaji is only for starters. We romanize Japanese songs because we want to help the people who love anime songs but can't speak and don't even BOTHER to learn how to speak Japanese, read the Japanese songs.

    What may not be explained in that wiki link is that the romanization system that you see natives use is what I call the pasokon-siki, or what IME produces when you type the roman letters in (formerly) a word processor and nowadays on the computer. Typing an extra 's' in 'tsu' is time-consuming and it's the u-entry in the タ行 anyway so when you type in 'tu' you get つ. BUT YOU STILL PRONOUNCE IT AS 'TSU'.

    Loanwords make things impossible to read properly in pasokon-siki. インフィニティー is now what, 'innfuxinitexi-'? Would you have that in the romaji of a song?

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    Quote Originally Posted by zealot0630 View Post
    I know what you means, but I think this is the wrong way. Let's just see how Japanese people learn English, the mark all English word by katakana and trying to pronounce it the katakana way, then it become the biggest barrier when they need to communicate with who is native English. They know each other's English, but not the English spoken people's English ! So who has the most difficulty to learn English ? first Japanese, second Chinese.

    I really do not want to see this happen when some guy need to learn Japanese. But one may say, 'who cares, I'm not leaning Japanese, I'm just imitating', do you seriously think they are imitating English ? Even me, not English spoken, can tell, Oh horrible Japanglish.

    So the true problem is that it is used wisely, everybody familiars with this way. But I suggest use the Japanese way while leaning Japanese, they are pronouncing hu not fu, ex...
    Just like people learning Japanese use romaji, kana is simply a guideline. They are kinda like water wings to people not familiar with English. Unfortunately, most people usually stop there because they don't really need to be able to speak English. And since the majority speak really choppy "Engrish" or none at all, people assume that everyone talks that way. But the the people who do study properly (and have the proper teachers) lose the "Engrish" accent over time.

    Of course, there are some people who just have trouble picking things up no matter how much they study. But thats just that.

    And in most schools they usually have a foreign (English/American/Aussie) teacher that helps the Japanese teacher. So even if the Japanese teacher has an accent, the students still know what the language is supposed to sound like.

    And it's pronounced "fu" not "hu".
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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    Okay, let's just all be clear on one thing: nothing is absolute, so no system is absolutely preferred over another, either. And let's face it, you don't need to know Japanese to like Japanese songs, and you shouldn't have to, either. That's why we use romaji to enable non-speakers of Japanese to sing along without having to learn the actual language. We are NOT, I repeat, NOT, trying to make them learn Japanese!

    So, we wouldn't want to use tu, for example, when it's actually pronounced tsu. Why? People not familiar with the language will end up pronouncing it wrong. The last thing we need is putting up romaji and then having people pronouncing tsuzuku as tuduku. Remember, many people are not trying to learn Japanese at all, so using the more systematic native Japanese romanization system will really really impede our effort.


    Last thing, about ふ... it's kinda special. It's actually neither [f] nor [h].
    は = [ha], glottal (at the back of your mouth) fricative
    ひ = [ši], palatal (at the roof of your mouth) fricative
    ふ = [ɸɯ], bilabial (between your lips) fricative
    へ = [he], same as は
    ほ = [ho], same as は

    You may need to have some linguistics training to hear the nuances, but trust me, they are there. [f], which is not even a native Japanese sound, is a labiodental fricative, meaning you pronounce it with your lip (most likely lower) and your teeth (most likely upper). To English-speakers (as well as many Westerners), ふ is closer to f than h, because linguistically, bilabial is closer to labiodental than to glottal.
    Last edited by animeyay; 01-17-2011 at 12:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    Quote Originally Posted by animeyay View Post
    Okay, let's just all be clear on one thing: nothing is absolute, so no system is absolutely preferred over another, either. And let's face it, you don't need to know Japanese to like Japanese songs, and you shouldn't have to, either. That's why we use romaji to enable non-speakers of Japanese to sing along without having to learn the actual language. We are NOT, I repeat, NOT, trying to make them learn Japanese!

    So, we wouldn't want to use tu, for example, when it's actually pronounced tsu. Why? People not familiar with the language will end up pronouncing it wrong. The last thing we need is putting up romaji and then having people pronouncing tsuzuku as tuduku. Remember, many people are not trying to learn Japanese at all, so using the more systematic native Japanese romanization system will really really impede our effort.


    Last thing, about ふ... it's kinda special. It's actually neither [f] nor [h].
    は = [ha], glottal (at the back of your mouth) fricative
    ひ = [ši], palatal (at the roof of your mouth) fricative
    ふ = [ɸɯ], bilabial (between your lips) fricative
    へ = [he], same as は
    ほ = [ho], same as は

    You may need to have some linguistics training to hear the nuances, but trust me, they are there. [f], which is not even a native Japanese sound, is a labiodental fricative, meaning you pronounce it with your lip (most likely lower) and your teeth (most likely upper). To English-speakers (as well as many Westerners), ふ is closer to f than h, because linguistically, bilabial is closer to labiodental than to glottal.
    Oh god...the demons of my first Japanese class start hunting me again...*cringes* :P

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    Quote Originally Posted by lavabug View Post
    oh god...the demons of my first japanese class start hunting me again...*cringes*
    僕、人の意識の奥に深く潜んだトラウマを再び呼び覚ますのが得意だもん!=)

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    @Zealot That's just the Japanese way of writing things and you don't need to pay attention to them, but some of them aren't technically incorrect. This may get confusing, but I personally think a lot of those sounds are a cross between the two. Like how you get different pronunciations with Korean too, it's the same in Japanese depending on the area.
    For example: One of my Japanese friends would say that づ is pronounced slightly like "dzu", but another would say that it's jut "zu". し will sometimes sound like "si", other times like "shi" but don't pay that much attention. I would reccomend our way of romanising Japanese to read off, but only for that. If you're serious about learning the language, start learning to read kana and you won't run into those problems. Now.... I have one bit of advice here which is unniversal for every language and if you listen to this, you won't have to think about problems such as this with other languages. The rule is....: LISTEN AND IMITATE. That's all there is to it :3 Doing so, you'll hear many different ways of saying the sounds and you can choose for yourself what is right because reality is, no text book is truly going to be able to teach you how to pronounce it properly. it only comes with listening, patience and experience. Just choose your own way of reading it all in the end. Eventually, you'll edit how something is written by one person to how you'd do it in your ownn mind.^^

    @animeyay Lol, if you explained it to me that way, I'd be @_@ all over the place!XD I started learning Korean like that and it was horrible: it took a long time to understand!><
    Last edited by Hikarin; 01-18-2011 at 09:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    I agree with Hikarin 100% on this one. Once you start listening, you'll find people don't always say things how you think they would say.

    z vs dz is a prime example. Some Japanese always use z, some always use dz, but most people use them interchangeably or according to the situation. My ears are more sensitive than necessary at differentiating the two sounds (probably because of my Chinese's influence), and I noticed, for example, that fripSide would pronounce all the za as dza in their songs. I checked with my sensei, and he said yea, both ways are correct, and most Japanese people aren't even aware of the existence of these two different sounds. I personally pronounce all the z as dz because that's how it's pronounced in Chinese as well, lol.

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    Yeah, I personally say it as "dz". Also, you are right. Mayumi-chan for example isn't even aware of any other sound it can make other than "z", but Miki-chan is aware of both, but prefers "dz".
    Is animeyay Chinese? =0 I think I must be the odd one out here with no asian background!XD

    Anyway, this is getting more into pronuciation here than anything else. Just make sure to stay mindful and open zealot (I keep thinking of "Zelos" XD), and just listen to a lot of different things. You'll get there.

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    I'm pretty sure there is no z or dz in Chinese, as I'm one. The phonetic of 's' and 'z' in Chinese should be s and .

    Most of Chinese including me can not distinguish T-column from D-column under certain condition. For example, these phoneme t, and d. Both English and Japanese recognize both t (tip,ex.), (step,ex.) as t, d as d, but in Chinese, there are no d, we can separate t from and d, but are not able to separate from d. So when I hear or d, I don't know which it is.

    here is an article in detail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_onset_time . even I know the theorem, I can't apply it. But as I know, most westerner do not have this problem.

    Oh, I'm off topic

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    Default Re: Question about romaji

    I don't plan to dive into Chinese phonology, but I will tell you that voiceless consonants in Chinese often become voiced between vowels. You may not realize this because it is your native tongue (I assume), and most linguists ignore this fact as well.

    Although, I agree it took me some effort to be able to distinguish among p, ph, and b, for example.

    So, again, an perfect example that you really need to listen and listen. Learning by theory only helps so much, and will sometimes even impede your process.

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