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USAGE: More Japanese

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Saturday, July 5, 2003, 20:39
One last plea for Nihongo help, then I'll return to conlanging

I'm trying to transcribe a couple Japanese songs.  Let me say
that I definitely hear /4/ as [l] in some contexts, especially
phrase-initial.  But there are other places where I'm not hearing
what I should be hearing, so I have some questions.

1. It appears that [N] is an allophone of /g/.  Correct?   That's
   reasonable enough, but for some reason one of the [N]s sounds like [nj]
   to me, which is of course a different phoneme altogether.

2. Does Japanese have [?] a an allophone of /t/?  Or is it more likely to be
   just a case of "all stops sound alike in a recording"?

3. At one point an intervocalic /m/ seems to disappear completely.  There's
   just no trace of it; the word "omotte" /omot:e/ sounds like [o:?e].
   Any idea what happened there?

4. The converse keeps happening, too; I keep hearing extra sounds that
   aren't supposed to be there.  At various points in the
   two songs I have, I hear "iru" /i4M/ as [i4mM]; "kotare" /kotAre/ as
   [kotArje]; and "ki" /ki/ as [kwi].  Except for the [rje], which sounds
   like a palatized syllable, the extra sounds obviously don't fit the
   Japanese syllable rules, so they aren't a problem, but it seems odd
   that they're there.

Finally, I would like to make sure I understand all the phonetic changes.
These are the ones I know about; am I missing any?

1. /hu/ is pronounced [fu]
2. /si/ is pronounced [Si] (/sj/ is [S])
3. /ti/ is pronounced [tSi (/tj/ is [tS])
4. /tu/ is pronounced [tsu]
5. /zi/ is pronounced [dZi] (/zj/ is [dZ])

Thanks again.



Garth Wallace <gwalla@...>