Japanese phonetics questions
So I just realized something when I was doing my Rosetta Stone lesson. I was doing it in Romaji spellings like normal (as I am still memorizing my Kana) and I decided to try and switch to Kana setting to see how far I could get with only that. I then come upon the following sentence (sorry cannot get my computer to input Kana today, have to reinstall language pack) :
"Watashi wa kouen de hataraite imasu"
but I had my first look at it in Kana. and I had troubble reading it due to thinking that "wa" would be after "watashi" like it always is in romaji, but rather it was "ha"... Am I correct to assume when "ha" is used that way it ends up sounding like "wa"? What is the exact rule on that? and are there any other phonetic change rules that are common that I should look out for?
simple, は when particle is pronounced wa
わたしは watashi wa
other cases, は is ha,
there are also particles へーe, をーo
September 20, 2012
The rule is that は ("ha") as the topic marker particle is always pronounced "wa", and を ("wo") as the object marker particle is always pronounced "o". If they are not used in this way, then they are pronounced normally.
Another rule is that a つ ("tsu") before a consonant makes this consonant long ("geminate consonant"). For this reason, it's often written smaller: っ.
So がんばって is "ganbatte" and not "ganbatsute". There are also combinations with vowels (e.g. ちょ = cho), but you usually learn these as compound kana, I suppose.
I can't think of any other photic exceptions at the moment. An optional rule is that the vowel in "ku" and "shi" is often weak and can be very short or completely absent when speaking quickly. E.g. you can say "yoroshku" instead of "yoroshiku".
As an American, make sure you pronounce the vowels in a "flat" way (like Italian), and try to keep the syllable stress way down. Japanese stress is mostly done by pitch, not by loudness. One way to approximate this is to speak with as little emotion as possible.
September 20, 2012
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