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Which is correct?


18 Apr 2003
I've been having an argument with someone (not on this forum) about the spelling of a certain word.

Now, as most of you know, sometimes, the romajified versions of words can be simplified for example, Toukyou to Tokyo.

But lets say the title is originally
"Patapata Hikousen no Bouken"

isn't it wrong to simplify that to
"Patapata Hikosen no Boken" ?

The reason why I argued that it was wrong is because
Bouken = Adventure and Boken = Maternal Rights.

Would you say that it's correct to simplify it to
"Patapata Hikosen no Bouken" and not Boken?

Personally, in this case, I wouldn't simplify it at all. But I just wanted to make sure if simplifying the word Bouken to Boken is indeed incorrect...
Welcome to the subjective world of Romanization! I personally would provide the extra u, as it is a sound that modifies the word, or the little line denoting a long vowel sound. However, part of the game is effective communication to the audience you are aiming for. A bunch of people not familiar with Japanese will not notice, especially if you provide the translation for the word, and in that case I wouldn't sweat it. In a scholarly paper you would probably provide the original Japanese after your initial modification of a word so the audience will understand your rules for romanization. Just my two cents.
When I write Japanese in the charset Latin I (ISO-8859-1), I often use �, �, �, �, � to indicate that they have a long vowel, so I would write as Hikōen and Bōen. But in the charset JIS (ISO-2022-JP), I do not apply them because those letters must be garbled, so I would write as Hikousen and Bouken. Personally I do not like Hikosen or Boken.
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There's no real right or wrong -- you just need to pick a convention and be consistent. It depends on your audience and your aims. Personally I like the accurate, non-ambiguous method.
So even though Boken means something else, it would still be correct to use it if you used that convention? But would that just make it very ambiguous?

Is there some rule with romanisation? like you shouldn't shorten words if they mean something else or something like that?
I'd say, yes, it would be correct if that were the convention you had decided upon. I agree it is lame as it has inherent problems such as those you describe. But, then, remember Japanese itself is ambiguous -- if a word is written only in kana you can't easily map it back to the same word written in kanji.

Here I found a library catalog system that that is following the convention you describe:

The rule of romanization of Japanese

Long vowels are shortened to the single vowel except, for some reason, long i which is ii. Strange.

Here's a book with bouken in the title:

Waseda University Library /All Locations
Oh cool!!

Thanks for the links! I'll most definitely check them out!

And yes, I do think that the not shortening of the double i's is a little strange...

*sigh* so much to read up on.
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