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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sorry, I Don’t Speak Manglenese: Pronouncing Foreign Terms through Japanese Phonetics (part 10)

If you've caught a glimpse of the ひらがな or カタカナcharts, you'll notice there's nothing for Ye or Yi, primarily because there isn't a way to render the full sound; there is, however, a way to get an approximation of each-which you'll see again for the other sounds in this section.

     Yi sounds, as normally heard, use イ to render them, the harder version heard in Yipe and Yikes using ヤイ; for Ye sounds, the common way is to use イエ, in some instances using イェ to represent the actual sound. If you wondering how often you'll be able to practically use this, so was I when I started doing research and discovered how few words in the dictionary even have these sounds or the onescoming up. At least now you have something to refer back to and thus be less confused over the next time someone lets out a cheer of “イエイ(japanese rendition of "Yay")!” in celebration.

     Now then, on to 'W' sounds, in particular the sounds that either don't exist or are likely to cause a double take,starting with the 'wo', 'we' and 'wi' sounds. 'Wo' sounds come in 3 distinct varieties: medium (like in work and wonder), High (like in Wok and Woe) and low(like in wound and wolf); medium 'wo' sounds are rendered using 「ワ」, high ones, 「ヲ」, and low ones, 「ウ」. Low ones are likely the ones you'll need to spend some time before it really sticks, so don't get to flustered if you don't get it right away, just keep at it(note: the info 'bout low 'wo' sounds also apply when it's written as 'wu').

     Similarly, 'Wi' sounds comes in two types:soft(as in winter and withdraw) and hard(as in Wipe and Wise). Soft 'Wi' sounds are made using 「ウ」mora + イ + appropriate mora, where hard 'Wi' sounds use 「ワイ」 + any appropriate mora to form it.

'We'sounds (such as those in Wet and Well), similarly, also come in two varieties: short(rendered using「ウ」mora+ エ + appropriate mora) and long (extended「ウ」mora+ イ + appropriate mora). All these together will lay a solid foundation and let you grasp for possible words and names these sounds a reconnected to, like when your friend tells the tale of ワイルド・ウエンディー・アヴ・ザ・ウインズ, the girl who lassoed anyone foolish enough to pronounce her family name, 'Whip' as hwip(note about names: in Japanese,foreign names and strings of terms are typically separated with this dot(・), produced with the key that makes this (/) when the keyboard's set to Japanese). Get all that? Alrighty then, time for the next level of 'W' sounds: those using 'Wh' somewhere within them.

     In English, those sounds can be spoken one of two ways: the way normal 'W' sounds would be and the form which gives it a unique sound, e.g. saying 'Whip' as hwip. When this sound is rendered through Japanese phonetics, folks often use the latter way and base how they say it on that, so that's where the next section will be aimed, starting with 'wha'sounds.

     'Wha' sounds-heard in whack and wham-use ホ + 「ア」mora, long 'Wha' sounds using  ホ + extended「エ」mora; should one of your Japanese-speaking friends ask you what 「ホアック・ザ・ホエーラーズ」means, this knowledge will let you understand what they're trying to convey and tell them the implications of such a statement(which, if you can interpret the intended meaning, is very potent). 'Whe' sounds-heard in whet and when-apply the general principles you've picked up with 'E' sounds, utilizing ホ +「エ」mora for short sounds and ホ + extended「イ」mora for long ones, the same going for 'Whi' sounds and what you learned from 'I' sounds; to be more specific, 'Whi' sounds-used in which and the previously whip-use ホ +「イ」mora, while long versions of it use ホ + ア + イ.

     The only 'Wh' sound where previous knowledge won't do you much good is with 'Who' sounds-short versions using just ホ and long versions using フ(bear in mind that the sound associated with フ in either formlies somewhere between the sounds made in words like hula and fool). Now that I've topped off your knowledge of how to say foreign terms through Japanese phonetics, you may still be wondering how much use this all has in the long run, after you've built up your vocab, grammar and other related knowledge. Sit tight, 'cause in the next part, I'll show you a taste of what you do and how all this can let you make the Japanese you pick up yours and yours alone, which is really what you want out of learning to use a language, right?

Key Takeaways!

ñ  Soft 'Yi' sounds →  イ(EX:Yiddish → イヂッシュ)

ñ  Hard 'Yi' sounds →  ヤイ(EX:Yipes → ヤイプス)

ñ  'Ye' sounds → イエ (EX:      Yes → イエス)

ñ  Medium 'Wo' sounds → 「ワ」(EX: One Pattern(word used to say someone/thing does things the same way over and over again and is boring to be around) → ワンパターン)

ñ  High 'Wo' sounds → 「ヲ」(EX: Wozniak →  ヲズニアック)

ñ  Low 'Wo' sounds → 「ウ」(EX: Woozy → ウージ)

ñ  Soft 'Wi' sounds → 「ウ」mora + イ + appropriate mora

(EX:Week → ウイーク)

ñ  Hard 'Wi' sounds → 「ワイ」 +appropriate mora

(EX:Winans → ワイナンス)

ñ  'We' sounds → 「ウ」mora + エ + appropriate mora

(EX: Wedding → ウエディング)

ñ  Short ‘Wha’ sounds → ホ +「ア」mora(EX: What → ホアット)

ñ  Long ‘Wha’ sounds → ホ + extended 「エ」mora

(EX: Whale -> ホエール)

ñ  Short ‘Whe’ sounds → ホ+「エ」mora (EX: Whey -> ホエイ)

ñ  Long ‘Whe’ sounds → ホ+ extended 「イ」mora

(EX: Wheezy ->ホエージ)

ñ  Short ‘Whi’ sounds → ホ+「イ」mora (EX: Whisper -> ホイスパー)

ñ  Long ‘Whi’ sounds → ホ +「ア」mora+イ (EX: White → ホアイト)

ñ  Short ‘Who’ sounds -> ホ (EX: Whole -> ホール)

ñ  Long ‘Who’ sounds -> Extended フ (EX: Whodunit -> フーダニット)

Extra Credit!

Asbest as you can, render the words Yenta, Wolverine, Smartphone, Wheedle and Whimper into Japanese phonetics

As best as you can, render the words イエルプ,ウインナー, ウマン,ホイットル and ホッパーinto English phonetics

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