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The Super Deep World Of The Japanese Letter を (O) — 10 Comments

  1. How do you pronounce を after ん without turning it into a の? Or, is it supposed to be a の because that’s the natural position of your tongue? 写真を撮る。 I didn’t realize I was doing it until this week. You could probably write another post like this for ん, that mercurial little letter.

    • It’s going to naturally slightly blend the end ん sound with the を sound.

      What to watch out for is to make sure to give proper emphasis to the ん and let it linger slightly when transitioning to the を. Rather than have a full stop after the 写真 before going on to を.

      These types of explanations really need audio though to make any sense!

  2. を is pronounced wo quite frequently in songs. I’ve heard that when teaching people to sing, it’s even common practice to actively focus on that enunciation.

    • That’s interesting. I wonder how that came about.

      Though it makes sense, as a lot of Japanese music puts a lot of emphasis on nonstandard pronunciation and intonation.

    • Yes, I notice this a lot. (please excuse me bumping such an old thread, and changing the topic) A related phenomenon that I have never been able to find discussion on is how singers often sing the small tsu. Instead of projecting it forward and doubling the next consonant, it gets reflected back, and doubles the preceding vowel.

      For example, 分かった is sung as わかあた. I’d love to know what this technique is called!

  3. I’m trying to find the “proper” transliteration for 大, as in Chikanobu’s triptych series 千代田の大奥.
    The best I can come up with is “no o-o oku” because the three would be (?) の ぉお ぉく (the use of the small ぉ in 奥 comes from Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC).
    I’d appreciate any suggestions.

    • Technically it is as you said, no oo-oku.

      I’m not really that familiar with transliteration, but I believe that some use a bar over the vowel to replace double vowels. Maybe Ōoku then?

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