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Transliteration: "ou" vs. "ō"

J44xm

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I've always been under the impression that "ou" and "ō" were slightly different sounds. Yet, I've found the word for "comma," 読点 (とうてん, say WWWJDIC and Aaaa), transliterated as "tōten" and "touten." Given the hiragana, shouldn't it be "touten"? Is "tōten" identical? Are "ou" and "ō" actually the same (at least in Modified Hepburn), meaning that おう can be "ō"?
 

Emoni

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Do you mean like the words こうこう and かお ?
 

J44xm

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Thanks for replying. I'm not too sure that your example falls within the scope of what I'm asking, however, since "kou" and "kao" (Wow, I can actually read this now!) don't use the same initial sound ("ko" vs. "ka"). But it might add to my query in that I can ask if こうこう (which seems to have many meanings!) would be the same as こーこー, but this might not be quite the same.
 

Keiichi

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J44xm said:
I've always been under the impression that "ou" and "ō" were slightly different sounds. Yet, I've found the word for "comma," 読点 (とうてん, say WWWJDIC and Aaaa), transliterated as "tōten" and "touten." Given the hiragana, shouldn't it be "touten"? Is "tōten" identical? Are "ou" and "ō" actually the same (at least in Modified Hepburn), meaning that おう can be "ō"?
Yes, often in Hepburn ō = ou, not "oo" (but ou and oo sounds the same in Japanese).
 

J44xm

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Keiichi said:
Yes, often in Hepburn ō = ou, not "oo" (but ou and oo sounds the same in Japanese).
Ah, I see. So then which you choose is essentially a matter of style? (Personally, I've been making "ou" and "ō" sound different as, to the English ear, they aren't necessarily the same.)

So does this mean that I'll only ever see おう and never おー?
 

PaulTB

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J44xm said:
Ah, I see. So then which you choose is essentially a matter of style? (Personally, I've been making "ou" and "ō" sound different as, to the English ear, they aren't necessarily the same.)

So does this mean that I'll only ever see おう and never おー?
This is a complicated question so I'll start from the top.

You will come across
おう
おお
and
オー
a lot. You may well also come across
オウ
オオ
and
おー
but not very often because ー is not usually used to lengthen hiragana and katakana usually _does_ use ー. There are exceptions though.

There is _currently_ no difference in sound between any of the above.
おう probably /used to/ sound different to おお.

Now as to romaji representation it depends entirely on what system you choose to use, whether the medium you are using supports ō, and just plain what you prefer.

My personal preference is
おう ou
おお oo
オー o-

You will find that it is difficult to have the character ō represented in many software environments when you are also have Japanese characters displayed in the same 'page'.
 

J44xm

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Wow! Thanks, PaulTB-さん. I appreciate the wealth of information. As for the rōmaji, I think I'll try to stick with ō when I can (otherwise, ô) as I feel that this is least confusing. (Personally, I might not figure that "o-" is "オー" as there is no clear signal that the "o" is long and not just a hyphenated add-on.)

So おお is actually a long お and not two separate お's pronounced just a bit separated ...

EDIT: Okay, so what about 長音符号 (chouon fugou)? How is this pronounced--with three o's or something?
 
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Keiichi

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It'll be like: chou-on fu-gou
If I had to use romaji, I'd use direct kana translation rather than pronunciation.

Keiichi

:blush:
 

cacawate

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PaulTB said:
There is _currently_ no difference in sound between any of the above.
おう probably /used to/ sound different to おお.
I'm glad this was brought up because normally when verbs end in -oう / おう I tend to pronounce the u (e.g. 思う / omou). Any takers on this? I'd be very interested to see how other people learning the language pronounce this. Heck, even Japanese people with different dialects.
 

David Hallgren

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According to my teachers, at least the ones from Tokyo, you should make sure the u is heard as a separate sound when it's at the end of a verb.
I first found this out when I tried to use
拭う(ぬぐう)
They thought I said
脱ぐ(ぬぐ)
So I was told that with verbs that end in ou or uu one should really pronounce the last u, not make the ou/uu pair long. But more comments on this would be great.
 

PaulTB

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David Hallgren said:
According to my teachers, at least the ones from Tokyo, you should make sure the u is heard as a seperate sound when it's at the end of a verb.
Oh yes. I forgot to say that bit. :p

Well I did say it was complicated. I was specifically talking about the cases when it is just a 'long o'.
 

Glenn

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From a native Japanese speaker (Tokyoite): When you Romanize a Japanese verb, do not use a circumflex for the suffix. For example, the Group I verb くう (eat) is Romanized as "kuu", not "".

Taken from this page
 

J44xm

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Ahh ... See, I thought any doubled vowel was a lengthened single one and could correctly be transliterated with a macron or circumflex (per Modified Hepburn).

Also, I have a great new site for reference!
 

J44xm

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(I can't believe I'm about to ask this ...) I note that ピチュー and ピカチュウ end differently, the former with an extended "chu," the latter with a regular "chu" followed by a separate "u." My question is, are these endings pronounced the same? (I'd think not; otherwise, why not use the same method?)
 
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CorDarei

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J44xm said:
(I can't believe I'm about to ask this ...) I note that ピチュー and ピカチュウ end differently, the former with an extended "chu," the latter with a regular "chu" followed by a separate "u." My question is, are these endings pronounced the same? (I'd think not; otherwise, why not used the same method?)
I think they would be pronounced the same. In this case it's mostly a matter of style, not pronunciation.
 

J44xm

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So what I'm understanding from this thread is this: (1) unless they're at the end of a verb, おう, おお, and オー (and their counterparts) sound identical, and they can be transliterated identically as "ō" or "ou" (or "oo"); and (2) チュー and チュウ are pronounced identically and can both be transliterated as "chū" or "chuu." Correct?
 

PaulTB

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J44xm said:
So what I'm understanding from this thread is this: (1) unless they're at the end of a verb, おう, おお, and オー (and their counterparts) sound identical, and they can be transliterated identically as "ō" or "ou" (or "oo")
Not entirely.

In kanji compound words the reading of the whole word can usually* be split up into readings of each kanji in the word.
e.g. 女王 じょおう = 女 + 王, じょ + おう
The 'long o' does not continue across the 'divide' so that it isn't
jou + o but jo + ou.

* There are exceptions. 今日 doesn't imply 今 = きょ and 日 = う
 

J44xm

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PaulTB said:
The 'long o' does not continue across the 'divide' so that it isn't
jou + o but jo + ou.
Ah. I've heard of something similar with the name Jun'ichiro. So in modified Hepburn, this would more likely be rendered "jo'ō" or "jo'ou," I presume? Time to look up some rōmaji resources.
 

PaulTB

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J44xm said:
Ah. I've heard of something similar with the name Jun'ichiro. So in modified Hepburn, this would more likely be rendered "jo'ō" or "jo'ou," I presume?
Hmm, good question. I suspect the ' isn't used but I'm not 100% sure.

joou does present a problem as 'oo' is the way the long 'o' is rendered in some romaji systems but there's no ambiguity with joō as to where the long vowel is. The only problem with joō is that ō doesn't distinguish between the おう and おう long o.
 
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