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Yotsugana

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Yotsugana (四つ仮名, literally "four kana") are a set of four specific kana, , , , (in the Nihon-shiki romanization system: zi, di, zu, du), used in the Japanese writing system. They historically represented four distinct voiced morae (syllables) in the Japanese language. However, most dialects, such as Standard Japanese-speakers, have undergone mergers and now pronounce two sounds.

Different regions distinguish different sets of sounds. Using the Nihon-shiki romanization system:
1 sound (zi = di = zu = du)
2 sounds (zi = dizu = du)
3 sounds (zi = dizu ≠ du)
4 sounds (zidizudu)

Contents

Most of the far northern dialects (Tōhoku dialects and Hokkaidō) and far southern dialects (notably Okinawan Japanese) and the Ryukyuan languages (the other Japonic languages) have also mostly merged the four sounds to one sound. However, a few dialects, mainly around Shikoku and Kyushu in the southwest, still distinguish three or even all four sounds.

In the current Tokyo dialect, the base of the modern standard language, as well as in the widely spoken Kansai dialect, only two sounds are distinguished, as is represented in the Hepburn (ji, ji, zu, zu) and Kunrei (zi, zi, zu, zu) romanization systems.

The spelling differences between the four kana were retained well into the mid-20th century, long after the merger of the different sounds that they had represented. Two distinct morae remain in most dialects of the mainland, such as in Tokyo.

Shortly after World War II ended, the discrepancy between kana orthography and pronunciation was rectified as part of a general orthographic reform, the Gendai Kanazukai, or modern kana orthography. Under the new orthographic rules, only the two kana じ zi and ず zu are to be used, with two notable exceptions:

  1. When a word exhibits sequential voicing, or rendaku, as a result of compounding, a second morpheme that would otherwise begin with the kana つ tu or ち ti in isolation (神無月 かんなづき kannaduki for which 月 in isolation is written つき tuki).
  2. When the kana つ tu or ち ti is repeated and voiced in a word (続く つづく tuduku).

An exception was permitted for regions that pronounced the four kana as three or four distinct sounds. After a 1986 update to the Gendai Kanazukai, the exception was replaced with a statement that the unified spelling was to be primarily used, but etymologically-correct spellings would still be permitted.

The following table shows some of the different realizations and mergers of the Yotsugana characters throughout Japan:

Variants di zi du zu
Tokyo (standard) [d͡ʑi] ~[ʑi] [d͡zɯᵝ] ~[zɯᵝ]
North Tohoku, Izumo [d͡ʑi]
South Tohoku [d͡zɯᵝ]
Kōchi (Hata, Tosa) [di] ~ [dᶻi] [ʑi] [dɯᵝ] ~ [dᶻɯᵝ] [zɯᵝ]
Kagoshima [d͡ʑi] [ʑi] [d͡zɯᵝ] [zɯᵝ]
Okinawa [d͡ʑi]
  1. Jeroen van de Weijer, Kensuke Nanjo, Tetsuo Nishihara (2005). Voicing in Japanese. Walter de Gruyter. p. 150. ISBN 9783110197686.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

Yotsugana
Yotsugana Language Watch Edit This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in Japanese February 2009 Click show for important translation instructions View a machine translated version of the Japanese article Machine translation like DeepL or Google Translate is a useful starting point for translations but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate rather than simply copy pasting machine translated text into the English Wikipedia Consider adding a topic to this template there are already 2 655 articles in the main category and specifying topic will aid in categorization Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low quality If possible verify the text with references provided in the foreign language article You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Japanese Wikipedia article at ja 四つ仮名 see its history for attribution You should also add the template Translated ja 四つ仮名 to the talk page For more guidance see Wikipedia Translation This article needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources Yotsugana news newspapers books scholar JSTOR January 2014 Learn how and when to remove this template message Yotsugana 四つ仮名 literally four kana are a set of four specific kana じ ぢ ず づ in the Nihon shiki romanization system zi di zu du used in the Japanese writing system They historically represented four distinct voiced morae syllables in the Japanese language However most dialects such as Standard Japanese speakers have undergone mergers and now pronounce two sounds Different regions distinguish different sets of sounds Using the Nihon shiki romanization system 1 sound zi di zu du 2 sounds zi di zu du 3 sounds zi di zu du 4 sounds zi di zu du Contents 1 Modern sound usage in various dialects 2 Modern kana usage 3 Modern regional variants 4 ReferencesModern sound usage in various dialects EditMost of the far northern dialects Tōhoku dialects and Hokkaidō and far southern dialects notably Okinawan Japanese and the Ryukyuan languages the other Japonic languages have also mostly merged the four sounds to one sound However a few dialects mainly around Shikoku and Kyushu in the southwest still distinguish three or even all four sounds In the current Tokyo dialect the base of the modern standard language as well as in the widely spoken Kansai dialect only two sounds are distinguished as is represented in the Hepburn ji ji zu zu and Kunrei zi zi zu zu romanization systems Modern kana usage EditThe spelling differences between the four kana were retained well into the mid 20th century long after the merger of the different sounds that they had represented Two distinct morae remain in most dialects of the mainland such as in Tokyo Shortly after World War II ended the discrepancy between kana orthography and pronunciation was rectified as part of a general orthographic reform the Gendai Kanazukai or modern kana orthography Under the new orthographic rules only the two kana じ zi and ず zu are to be used with two notable exceptions When a word exhibits sequential voicing or rendaku as a result of compounding a second morpheme that would otherwise begin with the kana つ tu or ち ti in isolation 神無月 かんなづき kannaduki for which 月 in isolation is written つき tuki When the kana つ tu or ち ti is repeated and voiced in a word 続く つづく tuduku An exception was permitted for regions that pronounced the four kana as three or four distinct sounds After a 1986 update to the Gendai Kanazukai the exception was replaced with a statement that the unified spelling was to be primarily used but etymologically correct spellings would still be permitted Modern regional variants EditThe following table shows some of the different realizations and mergers of the Yotsugana characters throughout Japan Variants ぢ di じ zi づ du ず zuTokyo standard d ʑi ʑi d zɯᵝ zɯᵝ North Tohoku Izumo 1 d ʑi South Tohoku d zɯᵝ Kōchi Hata Tosa 1 di dᶻi ʑi dɯᵝ dᶻɯᵝ zɯᵝ Kagoshima d ʑi ʑi d zɯᵝ zɯᵝ Okinawa d ʑi References Edit a b Jeroen van de Weijer Kensuke Nanjo Tetsuo Nishihara 2005 Voicing in Japanese Walter de Gruyter p 150 ISBN 9783110197686 CS1 maint multiple names authors list link Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Yotsugana amp oldid 1038217439, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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