Pronunciation of adjacent vowels.

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Kurisu33
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Pronunciation of adjacent vowels.

Post by Kurisu33 » Tue 05.16.2006 2:03 am

Okay, did not really know where to post this question so I figured I'd do it in the translation forum.

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先生 <-------> せんせい <---------------------> se | n | se | i

From what I've read and been doing I have been pronouncing this type of word as:

seh (as in September) -> followed by a muttled 'n' sound (as in Sunday) -> seh -> ee (as in free)

So i was racking my brain trying to define the word phonetically using flash cards when I accidentally said:

seh (as in September) -> followed by a muttled 'n' sound (as in Sunday) -> say

Holy shit! I know that word: "sensay"!! Its master/teacher.. good ole' kung-fu movies where I always hear them talking to their mentors calling 'em "sensay"

So, my question is do two vowels next to eachother make a different sound? Have I been memorizing the wrong word sounds? I've learned hiragana & katakana from multiple sites, but none made mention of adjacent vowels sounding different than separate vowels.

Anyone clear this up?

せい - seh-ee or say?
こう - ??
くお - ??
かお - ??
せお - ??

Machina Maw
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RE: Pronunciation of adjacent vowels.

Post by Machina Maw » Tue 05.16.2006 2:16 am

--えい is pronounced like "say". You can't compare these sounds to anything in English. As syllables, they are pronounced individually, but are somewhat slurred together to sound different. Say the word "sensei" slowly, stressing each syllable. You have "seh-n-seh-ee" - せ-ん-せ-い. After you have said it slowly to yourself, say it faster, using the exact same sounds. That's how it should be pronounced.

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Kurisu33
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RE: Pronunciation of adjacent vowels.

Post by Kurisu33 » Tue 05.16.2006 3:08 am

After you have said it slowly to yourself, say it faster, using the exact same sounds.
Okay, I've tried saying it as fast as I can about 40 times and it comes out sounding like:

"sen-seh-he" or "sen-sah-he" or maybe even a "sen-zeh-ee]"

Sounds like and English "seh-he" and not an English "A".

The last two hiragana is supposed to be two distinct sounds ("seh-he") or a single sound (English "SAY") or another single sound like (English "SEA") or (English "C").




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Feels like a tongue twister :D: A slipperly slug slides sideways slugishly.
Last edited by Kurisu33 on Tue 05.16.2006 3:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Oyaji
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RE: Pronunciation of adjacent vowels.

Post by Oyaji » Tue 05.16.2006 3:41 am

You'll be fine with sen-say for now. As you learn more words and hear more spoken Japanese you will pick up the little technical tid-bits.

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keatonatron
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RE: Pronunciation of adjacent vowels.

Post by keatonatron » Tue 05.16.2006 8:00 am

Kurisu33 wrote:
Okay, I've tried saying it as fast as I can about 40 times and it comes out sounding like:

"sen-seh-he" or "sen-sah-he" or maybe even a "sen-zeh-ee]"

Sounds like and English "seh-he" and not an English "A".

The last two hiragana is supposed to be two distinct sounds ("seh-he") or a single sound (English "SAY") or another single sound like (English "SEA") or (English "C").
Most confusing explanation ever.

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zengargoyle
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RE: Pronunciation of adjacent vowels.

Post by zengargoyle » Tue 05.16.2006 8:40 am

i think "sen-seh-he" sounds like he's unvoicing between the 'E' and the 'I' thus generating the 'H' sound in the middle...

"sen-say" is pretty close, try "sen-sayee" ('yee' like in the cowboy 'yee-haw'), then just drop the 'y', "sen sa(y)ee".

(trying to WIN the 'most confusing explanation' prize) :D

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keatonatron
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RE: Pronunciation of adjacent vowels.

Post by keatonatron » Tue 05.16.2006 8:45 am

I agree, thinking of it as "sen-say" is the closest. But really, trying to explain pronunciation over the internet is rediculous.

If you can just figure out the pronunciation of each hiragana character, then just mash those together. The pronunciation of each character never changes (in theory). If you don't have enough contact with Japanese speakers to ask how to pronounce things, then you don't have a need to learn the more difficult aspects yet :D

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