Monday, March 25, 2013

New Pronunciation Key

In JL #27 I introduced a new system of pronunciation keys for the English words. If you don't know how Japanese works it's kind of difficult to explain, but over each Japanese word (such as Justice League in the title shown directly below) I write smaller Japanese characters as pronunciation. However, because the Japanese sounds are fewer and more stringent than English, words like "cup" and "cap" end up being given the same pronunciations in Japanese. I added a "dot" or a "triangle" to try to help differentiate the sounds. Obviously, it didn't work. :-) 

 From this issue we have changed the way we write furigana over the kanji. I have taken upon myself to create the following new furigana. 
1. "L" sounds. For those sounds that represent "L" there will be a small triangle in the upper right corner. For example, Green Lantern would be written as this:

If there is no little triangle in the upper right-hand corner of the pronunciation, then the sound is an "R."
2. "TH" sounds. For those sounds that represent "TH" instead of just "S" or "SH." For the "TH" sound roll your tongue as you pronounce the "S" sound.
3. "A" vs "U" sounds. I want to differentiate between words like "cap" and "cup" or "ran" and "run," which all have different "A" and "U" sounds but have the same katakana "spelling."  To pronouce "A," open your mouth wide like this and while putting pressure on your cheeks make the "ahh" sound. When it is "U," keep your mouth as shut as possible and project a sound "uhh" from the base of your throat. The other "ahh", as in "aqua," sounds the same as the Japanese "ah." So in this new system you would read "Justice League" in Japanese as "" and Aquaman as "

4. The "schwa" mark
When the letter "R" is preceded by a vowel (A, E, I, O, or U) instead of opening your mouth and stretching the vowel sound, as is taught in Japanese schools, do not open your mouth at all. "Swallow" the vowel sound while stretching it. To remind you to do this, I have put a sub-set of the "schwa" mark under the katakana character for this sound. For example, Superman is  and Wonder Woman is

This system will be in use from now on to make the furigana more closely resemble the actual English pronunciations.

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