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Pronunciating 「い」 While using it to extend vowel sounds!

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Re: Pronunciating 「い」 While using it to extend vowel sounds!

Postby yangmuye » Sun 09.12.2010 11:07 pm

Although I'm not a native speaker, I would add some comments.

1. The spelling does not really correspond to the pronunciation.
There are no diphthong allowed in ancient japanese. The Chinese loan words and the phonetic change of は行 braked this rule, then diphthongs appeared.
Spoiler:
お->お o -> wo -> o
え->え e -> je -> e
ゐ->い wi -> i
ゑ->え we -> je -> e
を->お wo -> o
(at the head of a word)
は->わ pa -> fa -> wa
ひ->い pi -> fi -> wi -> i
ふ->う pu -> fu -> u
へ->え pe -> fe -> we -> je -> e
ほ->お po -> fo -> wo -> o
(in the middle of a word)
は->は pa -> fa -> ha
ひ->ひ pi -> fi -> hi
ふ->ふ pu -> fu
へ->へ pe -> fe -> he
ほ->ほ po -> fo -> ho

However most of them disappeared later. Here is a table of it:
Spoiler:
The kanas on the left side of -> use 歴史的仮名遣い. The consonant before the first vowel is omitted.
あふ -> おう/ぉう apu -> au -> ou -> o:
いふ -> ゆう/ゅう ipu -> iu -> ju:
うふ -> うう/ぅう upu -> u:
えふ -> よう/ょう epu -> eu -> jou -> jo:
おふ -> おう/ぉう opu -> ou -> o:

あう -> おう/ぉう au -> ou -> o:
いう -> ゆう/ゅう iu -> ju:
うう -> うう ungu? -> u: (this u corresponds with chinese "-ng")
えう -> よう/ょう eu -> jou -> jo:
おう -> おう ou -> o:

やう -> よう/ょう jau -> jou -> jo:
ゆう -> ゅう ?? -> ju: (few kanji have this special sound)
よう -> よう/ぉう jou -> jo:

えい -> えい ei -> e:
あい -> あい ai -> ai
うい -> うい ui -> ui
あむ/あん -> あん amu/an -> an
いむ/いん -> いん imu/in -> in
うむ/うん -> うん umu/un -> un
えむ/えん -> えん emu/en -> en
おむ/おん -> おん omu/on -> on


2. The rhythm of Japanese is not absolutely based on mora.
All the diphthongs listed above, together with ああ いい うう ええ おお, can't be regarded as two separate vowels. For example, the length of these sounds is not as long as 2 Mora. Usually you can't have an accent on the second vowel...

The suffix of verb and adjective are not regarded as a part of diphthongs. But う音便 seems to be.

3. It seems that Japanese do not really distinguish between ei/e or ou/oo
Although these sounds do really exist in their language, it seems that they don't distinguish between them.
I have checked my NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典, The pronunciation of えい sound in kanji is written as エイ. However it's actually pronounced as エー. I don't know why.

Actually, Japanese vowels are very loose.
e can very from [e](sometimes even [ɪ]) to [ɛ].
o can be [o]~[ɔ].
u can be something between [ʉ] [u] [ɯ] [ʊ]
It's even possible that a monophthong is pronounced like a diphthong. There are questions on Japanese forums in China every month such as "Should お be read as ou, o or ao"(Chinese ao is close to [ɔ]or[ɔʊ]). We often call it 月経スレ.
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Re: Pronunciating 「い」 While using it to extend vowel sounds!

Postby NileCat » Mon 09.13.2010 11:33 am

Hai-San wrote:
NileCat wrote:I found a wikipedia article about this subject.

In terms of the first 「あいうえお」examples,
かあさん can be pronounced like かーさん
にいさん can be pronounced like にーさん
くうき can be pronounced like くーき
ねえさん can be pronounced like ねーさん
こうしん can be pronounced like こーしん



Im just on Hiragan and you wrote ー up there. I couldnt find what it was, is it like a "pause" of something?
Iam pretty sure i will tackle it on Tae Kims when i move on, but iam just beeing curious :whistle:

Say "cheese". :)
And prolong the vowel like "cheeeeeeese".
The function of Japanese "ー" (macron) is to indicate the prolonged vowel like that. (Very strictly speaking, this macron has to be used only with katakana, not with hiragana. But, in reality, we use it with hiragana as well.)
チーズ(ちーず)cheese (proper)
チーーーズ(ちーーーず)cheeeese (joke-ish)

あー ahh
いー ee
うー ooh
えー ehh
おー ohh
(the shape of your mouth doesn't change while you are pronouncing the long vowel)

As you may know "えいご" means "English".
But we sometimes pronounce it like "えーご" (ehhgo/not eigo) especially in our casual conversation. :shock: Which means, ちーず and ちいず sound very similar to us. It is sometimes indistinguishable for us. But we always differentiate ちーず(cheese) from ちず(map). :o
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Re: Pronunciating 「い」 While using it to extend vowel sounds!

Postby TJack » Mon 09.13.2010 5:16 pm

Thanks for your explanation Nilecat! When I first read your first post I thought "doesn't かあさん and かーさん or とけい and とけー sound the same??" Now I understand the difference. :)
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Re: Pronunciating 「い」 While using it to extend vowel sounds!

Postby micahcowan » Tue 09.21.2010 4:45 pm

NileCat wrote:As you may know "えいご" means "English".
But we sometimes pronounce it like "えーご" (ehhgo/not eigo) especially in our casual conversation.


I'm pretty sure this is true of non-casual conversation as well. In any event, in Japanese-language classrooms and textbooks in America, we are invariably taught that えい should be pronounced as エー and not エイ. Judging from the wikipedia article, though, it sounds like both are acceptable and common in Japanese (probably depending on where you're from?).

As far as I can tell, ー is not normally used with hiragana, certainly not in formal writing; yet with few exceptions, when an えー is used in hiragana words, it is not represented as (え段)え but as (え段)い. Is this not so?
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Re: Pronunciating 「い」 While using it to extend vowel sounds!

Postby NileCat » Wed 09.22.2010 12:50 pm

micahcowan,

If the speaker is a professional announcer and the speech is expected to be "proper" or "formal", I'm sure the announcer is expected to pronounce it えいご or え(え)ご not えーご.

To me, the difference between えい and えー is something like "h" sound in English "should have". It might depend on where the speaker's from and all that jazz. But generally, if you want to hear the sound, you can hear it. But if you don't concentrate on it, you can't hear it, at least in our daily conversation.
In short, you can't differentiate it as "A or B". It's "in between".
Actually, it's not the same sound as any English vowel. (英語のABCは、エービーシーで正しいですか? それともエイビイシイですか? それともエィビィスィですか? という質問と同じです。どれも違います) :)
As I have an experience to teach Japanese pronunciation to an American who never studied Japanese, I know it's very puzzling to get the concept of Japanese long vowel, though.

Besides, "natural pronunciation" can never be "defined". I, for instance, usually pronounce it as えぇご, not えいご, never えーご. Do you see the difference? Well, I don't think so. But you know, it's not a big deal in Japanese, bluntly speaking.



In terms of your grammar question, I have no idea, to be honest. But your English grammar doesn't change even if "should have" is pronounced like "should-of"? Of course there exists "should've". But in official paper, it is assumed as "should have", isn't it?

英語 is えいご. It's always correct. No dictionary has it as "えーご".
When it is pronounced like えーご, it's acceptable. Some would find it "more natural".
However, if you made the "ー" sound a little bit longer than usual (like 10 nano-seconds longer), unfortunately it would sound "childish" or "uneducated" or "joking", JFYI. :mrgreen:


EDIT:
Speaking of myself, I can't pronounce the word "New York" properly, even now.
You maybe have watched a stereo-typical Japanese character in an American movie. So-called "Japanese accent". Many Japanese people would pronounce it like "New Yohku". Because we don't have "or(k)" sound. Same thing. You don't have "ヨーク" sound in English. You can't spell it with your English alphabet.
It has nothing to do with what our(your/my) textbooks at school tell us using our(your/my) alphabets. :(
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Re: Pronunciating 「い」 While using it to extend vowel sounds!

Postby yangmuye » Wed 09.22.2010 10:30 pm

Quote from NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典 解説・付録

P14
⦅イ⦆[i]
……注意すべきはこの⦅イ⦆が⦅セイト⦆〔生徒〕、⦅テイネイ⦆〔丁寧〕のように、エ列の拍の次に来た場合で、自然な発音では⦅セート⦆⦅テイネイ⦆のように、引く音に変化する。ただし、⦅アテイト⦆〔縦糸〕のようにその間に意味の切れ目が有る場合は、そうはならない。

P44
 共通語では、連母音エイ[ei]をエー[e:]のように長母音に発音するのが普通である。例えば次の例の通り。
 エーコ゚(英語)・ケイサツ(警察)
 センセ↓イ(先生)・テ↓ージ(定時)
 ヘーワ(平和)・メーモク(名目)
 レーカイ(例会)
 ただし、特に丁寧に発音するときはエイコ゚・ケイサツ・センセ↓イ・のようにエイにもなる。
 この長母音は、東京方言以外の地方にも広く行われる。これに対して日常生活で、エイ[ei]が優勢な地方は、九州をはじめ四国・紀伊半島などである。しかし、今日では、これらの地方でも、しだいにエイ[ei]は退化してエー[e:]に変わりつつある。

P132
「エイ・ケイ・セイ……」の発音
1.「経験」「性格」など漢語系統の「エイ・ケイ・セイ……」は、日常自然な発音では長音になる。
放送でも、原則として長音で発音する。ただし、一音一音明確に言う場合には、「エイ・ケイ・セイ……」となることがある。
〈例〉経験
 自然な発音では ケイケン
 一音一音明確に発音すると ケイケン
ただし、この辞書では、検索上の便宜を考慮して「ケイケン、セイカク」など表記し、配列した。
2.和語系統の「エイ・ケイ・セイ……」は、自然の発音でもなるべく長音としない。
〈例〉
 エイ   えい 《鱏》
 メイ   めい 《姪》
 マネイテ 招いて
3.外来語系統(地名人名を含む)の「エイ・ケイ・セイ……」は、自然の発音でも、なるべく長音としない。
〈例〉
ペイ     pay
スペイン   Spain
メイン州   Maine
レイキャビク Reykjavik
ゲイツケル  Gaitskell
メイア    Meir
〈注〉NHKの「外国語のカナ表記の原則」では、『二重母音の「エイ」[ei]は、原則として長音符号で「エー」と書き表す』としている。しかし、上記の例のように、「エイ」と発音するほうが望ましいものについては、表記の面でも「エイ」とっしている。
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