aishanuwang
  • aishanuwang
日本語 - the kanji 時 ("o'clock") has the kana じ, but I've seen this can be pronounced as either "ji" or "zi." Is it simply a matter of preference on the part of the speaker, or does the pronunciation change based on the place of 時 in the sentence?
Language and Culture
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schrodinger
  • schrodinger
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anonymous
  • anonymous
Hello, As far as I known it is not a matter of preference or the use of a kanji character. The kana character you reference is part of the 四つ仮名 (yotsugana). Which is a specific set of four kana characters. (じ, ぢ, ず, づ) (zi, zi, zu, zu). \(\bf{じ}\) transliterated is usually written as \(ji\) due to Hepburn transliteration style being more common in America. The \(ji\) however does not mean to sound they same way you pronounce it American English. It sounds closer to the \(j\) in French if I had to make a comparison. (Which is somewhat like \(zi\) in American English.) If you understand the International Phonetic Alphabet, I can explain this all the more easier by saying it sounds like \(dʑi\) or \(ʑi\). (Which hits the pronunciation spot on. (Should be soft though.)) Side note: The \(ji\) comes from Hepburn transliteration style, the \(zi\) comes from the Ministry of Education transliteration style, also known as the Kunrei-shiki rōmaji style. Disclaimer: Pronunciation, orthography, and phonology are not my forte. Peace.
Vincent-Lyon.Fr
  • Vincent-Lyon.Fr
As I understand it: there is no opposition in Japanese between the phonemes \ʒ\ and \ʤ\, and as Algorithmic said above, the romaji transcription ji and zi will lead to the same character じ on your computer. Typing jikann or zikann will both lead to 時間.
anonymous
  • anonymous
Sorry I should have clarified, \(dʑi\) and \(ʑi\) sound exactly alike however it can be written either way or so I have seen. So I decided to leave both in because of the common usage of both.

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aishanuwang
  • aishanuwang
Thank you both for the clarification!

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