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Silent U's?

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Silent U's?

Postby Tokage » Sat 10.27.2007 6:45 pm

I know a little Japanese, not alot, and I was wondering how you tell if you pronounce the U in some of the words. Is there a rule if the U is silent or not, or it just depends on each word?
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RE: Silent U's?

Postby Hatori » Sat 10.27.2007 7:17 pm

I don't exactly remember the U rule, but most of the time if it's the first sound of a word, you're supposed to say it under circumstances. If you see TSU I don't think you're supposed to say the U. Uhm, if I made any mistakes, people who KNOW what they're talking about correct me and continue on. ^_^;;;
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RE: Silent U's?

Postby Igirisu_gaz » Sat 10.27.2007 7:59 pm

Hatori wrote:
I don't exactly remember the U rule, but most of the time if it's the first sound of a word, you're supposed to say it under circumstances. If you see TSU I don't think you're supposed to say the U.


You pronounce the "u" in "tsu" - think of "tsunami"

I assume this refers to the use of "u" to elongate the previous syllable?

For example:

Bank - 銀行 ぎんこう - In this example you just extends the vowel sound in "ko"

Candle - 蝋燭 ろうそく - In this example it extends the vowel sound in "ro"

However, when using it with other vowels you pronounce the "u",

Buy - 買う かう is not pronounced "kaa"
Last edited by Igirisu_gaz on Sat 10.27.2007 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Silent U's?

Postby Shikono » Sat 10.27.2007 8:07 pm

lol. When I read the first post, I kept thinking stuff like "desu, -masu" and stuff like that. xD Since when I watched anime when I first started, I thought 'des' and 'mas'. lol. But it was actually just people talking really fast or leaving it out because they need to talk at a certain speed or something. I don't remember. Just putting in my little thoughts. xD
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RE: Silent U's?

Postby Tokage » Sat 10.27.2007 8:23 pm

Igirisu_gaz wrote:

You pronounce the "u" in "tsu" - think of "tsunami"

I assume this refers to the use of "u" to elongate the previous syllable?

For example:

Bank - 銀行 ぎんこう - In this example you just extends the vowel sound in "ko"

Candle - 蝋燭 ろうそく - In this example it extends the vowel sound in "ro"

However, when using it with other vowels you pronounce the "u",

Buy - 買う かう is not pronounced "kaa"


Actually, I didn't mean to elongate to syllable. I meant like in the word "desu" it's actually pronounced "des". How would you know just by reading it that you don't pronounce the U?
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RE: Silent U's?

Postby Wakannai » Sat 10.27.2007 8:38 pm

u is sometimes devoiced. When you devoice a vowel, you still form you mouth in the proper position, but you cut off the airflow before the vowel sound becomes apparent. In other words, you might say des instead of desu, but your mouth is ends in the su position not the es position.

u is often devoiced before hard consonants and at the end of words, t, k, etc, so suki is often pronounced s'ki and desu becomes des.

In general, voice all of the vowels unless you specifically hear some of your voice models devoice. There is no real rule though. It does not affect the meaning, and even people that often devoice vowels do not always devoice them. It seems to be mainly a matter of personal style.
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RE: Silent U's?

Postby spin13 » Sun 10.28.2007 12:22 am

Wakannai wrote:
In general, voice all of the vowels unless you specifically hear some of your voice models devoice. There is no real rule though. It does not affect the meaning, and even people that often devoice vowels do not always devoice them. It seems to be mainly a matter of personal style.


Placing emphasis on the final, otherwise unvoiced vowel, is a somewhat feminine speech pattern, although both sexes will do so when speaking politely to those above them. The former is used to convey emotion (usually excitement or surprise), and the latter is perhaps just attention to speaking precisely and properly in a formal situation (when speaking with the boss, all vowels are voiced, particles are not dropped, etc).

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RE: Silent U's?

Postby Wakannai » Sun 10.28.2007 12:26 am

I have to admit. I find it highly amusing having your signature come after mine.
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RE: Silent U's?

Postby EvanT » Sun 10.28.2007 4:15 am

The "i" and "u" are also devoiced when between voiceless consonants, namely s,t,k and p. That's the basic rule, but just listen for these contractions and it will soon become natural when to chop up vowels.
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