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The "hi" sound in the Kanto region


27 Nov 2003
I wonder if anyone has noticed that in the Kanto region (around Tokyo) some Japanese people pronounce the "hi" sound like "shi." Thus, Asahi Beer becomes Asashi Beer, "hito" (person) becomes "shito" and "hitotsu" (one thing) becomes "shitotsu." "hige" (mustache or beard) becomes "shige". I've never seen this happen in Osaka area where I grew up, or anywhere elese. If you spend enough time around people from Tokyo and pay careful attention, you will notice this.

When I was growing up in Japan (nearly 40 years ago), the number 7 was pronounced "hichi." Maybe they still do in Osaka and elsewhere. However, perhaps because of the Kanto's influence, last time I noticed, the number 7 had offically been written as "shichi" in some textbooks.
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