Things Japanese Being Notes on Various Subjects Connected with Japan for the Use of Travellers and Others

By Basil Hall Chamberlain | Go to book overview

NOTE ON THE PRONUNCIATION OF
JAPANESE WORDS.

Sound the vowels and diphthongs as in Italian, that is (opproximately),

aasin"father."uasin"bush."
e"""men."ai"the"y"of "my."
i"""police."ei"the"ay" of "may."
o"""for."au"the"ow" of "cow."

Distinguish long vowels front short, as in Latin; thus tori, "bird," but tōri, "street;" zutsu, "[one, etc.] at a time," but zutsū, "headache."

Sound the consonants as in English, noting only thatgnever has the "j" sound. At the beginning of a word it is pronounced as in "give;" in the middle it has the sound of Englishng. Note, too, thatzbefore "u" is pronounced asdz, thus Kōzu (kō-dzu).

Consonants written double are distinctly pronounced double, as in Italian. Thus amma, "a shampooer," sounds quite different from ama, "a nun." (Compare such English words as "oneness," "shot-tower.")

There is little if any tonic accent, all syllables, except such as have long quantity, being, pronounced evenly and lightly, as in French, for instance, the word ama given above sounds almost exactly like the French word "amas," and would not be understood if pronounced like English "armour."

-vii-

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