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Phonemics and phonetics

nihongootaku

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Hello I have to learn japanese phonemes and phones, but I don't really understand some things.

My professor gave me a sheet which is the 日本語音節表 (国際音声記号による) so there is a table with what I thought were phonemes but below there are explications and my teacher uses the square brackets [] so they must be phones.
But on Wikipedia, I found for example the word 蓋 which is written [ɸɯ̥ᵝta], whereas on my sheet it is simply written
[ɸɯta] with a little square below the ɯ... so I was wondering if this kind of symbols were actually useful or not ? Will the teacher think its correct if I don't use the ᵝ or not ?

Also if I write "futa" with japanese phonemes, which one is correct between /huta/ and /hɯta/ ?

And my last question is, where can I find a table with a list of japanese phonemes ? I don't understand how I can write for exemple "nihongo" with phonemes.

This might look like a simple question but I find it so confusing with all these terms bilabial and all, I don't know if it's important to know whether one consonant is voiced or not for example

Anyway, thanks
 

Toritoribe

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Wikipedia has some explanations.

日本語のウは、 [ɯ] ほど平たくないが円唇後舌狭母音 [U ] よりも唇の丸みが少ない。非日本語話者への教育等には専門書籍では[ɯᵝ]が使われることが多いが、加えて[u, ɯ] より少々広めであるので、弱めの円唇 ̜ または強めの円唇 ̹ の補助記号を付して [u̜˕] または [ɯ̹˕] といった記述もなされる。
非円唇後舌狭母音 - Wikipedia

The symbol ⟨ɯ⟩ is sometimes used for Japanese /u/, but that sound is rounded, albeit with labial compression rather than protrusion. It is more accurately described as an exolabial close back vowel.
Close back unrounded vowel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Close back rounded vowel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Our veteran member @nice gaijin -san is an expert of this field, so he might give you more detailed explanation.:)
 

nice gaijin

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Thanks for the mention, @Toritoribe. I'm more of a phonology enthusiast, but I was already writing a response... has anyone else had trouble posting or saving their posts?

@nihongootaku, Is this for a Japanese language class or a Phonology class focusing on Japanese?

Looks like the sheet your teacher gave you contains a broader phonetic transcription, which is why it contains less detailed information than what you see on wikipedia. It's not as precise but that doesn't make it wrong, and chances are you'll be graded based on the materials given to you in the class, so you probably don't need the extra stuff, but if your teacher knows their phonology it could be an interesting conversation.

The extra diacritics narrows how the sounds are pronounced (such as devoicing and compression of the ɯ vowel in your example).

If you're talking phonemes, it would be /huta/, as [ɯ] is the more precise pronunciation/allophone of the /u/ phoneme. Most people simply know it as "u," and would be confused if you wrote a word with ɯ. Similarly, the phoneme for the initial consonant is /h/, pronounced [ɸ], and many foreign speakers write it as "f", but Japanese people also romanize it as "h" because "f" lives under the "h" consonant group.

Easily enough, phonemically it's still /nihongo/

Another IPA resource that includes some explanation of the diacritical marks: http://www.ablongman.com/html/productinfo/bauman3e/020554925X_ch03.pdf

List of Japanese Phonemes: Japanese phonology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Comparative phonology of English and Japanese (PDF): http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0ahUKEwi7ooqoqpHMAhUQ72MKHblNBNoQFggxMAM&url=http://a-plus.auhw.ac.jp/modules/xoonips/download.php?file_id=1680&usg=AFQjCNH6FkPRF7rxfnW2u4X6LpTWACe8uQ
 

nihongootaku

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Thanks for the answers!
@nice gaijin : I am studying japanese at the university and I have one subject called linguistics, so I study phonetics and phonology this semester

So if I want like the word 蛇口 in IPA, I will have to write [dʑagutɕi] right? and in phonemics /zaguti/ ?
Thanks!
 

nihongootaku

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Sorry for the double post I can't edit my other one, I have two last questions xD

Correct me if i'm wrong, but all allophones are phones, but not all phones are allophones right ? because a phone is any sound and the allophones are the different readings for a phoneme

And can an allophone for /z/ be an allophone for /d/ ? I just found out that [ʑ] was the allophone for /d/ but also for /z/ before i, y

Thanks
 

nihongootaku

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Thanks I was not talking about that but it's interesting
 

nice gaijin

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As I remember it (it's been a while since I was in school), an allophone is a specific pronunciation recognized as a phoneme; when two different sounds sound identical to a native speaker, they're considered allophones for the same phoneme. I tend to use the term to talk about the more specific pronunciation put into the [square brackets], although technically you could just use the term "phones" for them. When you have two sounds that make a minimal pair, they can't be allophones because they are recognized as different phonemes. This explains why certain accent quirks in language learners are still understood and overlooked, while others stop people in their tracks and cause difficulty communicating.

When writing phonemically, I usually just stick to the romaji that are associated with the mora. As I recall, when I was learning there wasn't a huge difference between writing things phonemically and writing in romaji, although there were exceptions. The /phonemes/ are more about how the sounds are identified, the [allophones] are for the narrow transcription of how they are actually pronounced in IPA.

This is why I love kana, because once you get used to it, it feels so much more natural than trying to write phonemically with latin characters, and you naturally understand the different groups the consonants belong to.

some more resources:
Help:IPA for Japanese - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Japanese Phonetics - Vocaloid Wiki - Wikia
 

nice gaijin

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One point of clarification, allophones don't sound identical to each other (by definition they are different sounds), but in the context of the word, they don't change the interpretation of the word to native ears.

This bleeds into what I was saying about accents, because different accents use different phones, but the words are still generally understood, depending on the listener's language background. For instance, as a native (US) English speaker, the rounded and unrounded variations of the open back vowel sound very similar to my ears because there are no minimal pairs between ɑ: and ɒ:, which means it's easy to associate them with the same phoneme. But to someone who speaks a language that differentiates between these two sounds, it could be confusing to listen to an American and British person conversing, akin to hearing "battle" when the speaker said "bottle."

Back to writing phonemically, one phoneme I remember standing out was the moraic nasal ん. It always represents a nasal sound produced at the same location (nasal assimilation) as the following consonant, or a nasalized version of the following vowel. Phonemically, ん is always written as a capitol /N/, but when the sounds are written phonetically, the N changes to whatever narrow transcription is ultimately spoken.

Just a few examples:
/saNzeN/ -> [sanzeɴ] (note that the word-final [ɴ] here is a uvular nasal)
/saNmaN/ -> [sam:aɴ]
/saNkaku/ -> [saŋakɯ]

Here's a good article about Japanese phonetics specifically, nasal assimilation is topic #3: The CJK Dictionary Institute, Inc. - The Challenges of Japanese Speech Technology
 

nihongootaku

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Thanks for your answer!
But didn't you forget a "k" in [saŋakɯ] ? It should be [saŋkakɯ] I think

And I will read the link! I have an exam on it tomorrow (it's midnight here) so I better be ready
 

nice gaijin

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Oops yes there should be a k in there.

Thanks for finding that links, @Toritoribe, I kept finding references to it where the link had been lost in the data migration (along with all the Japanese characters getting garbled in old posts, unfortunately)
 

nihongootaku

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Thanks!

The exam was so hard, there was not much of phonetic/phonemic transcription, it was almost everything about the organs and the names of the phones (fricative bilabial and stuff) :(
 

nice gaijin

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haha you get used to it after a while, once that vocabulary sinks in you'll quickly be able to describe and understand where and how every possible sound is created, it's like the DNA for language.
 
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