日本語 confusion Re: 々/のま

I saw this in an example in the 2nd level they were teaching uses of 日本 . The example was like this: 日本の人々. I looked up how to say the last part as the repeater symbol (noma) is there. To my great surprise it was pronounced Hitobito! not Hitohito or ninjinninjin… :fearful::dizzy_face::dizzy_face::dizzy_face:Hahahaa!! Can anyone help me understand why this repeater is there when the word isn’t actually being repeated?

1 Like

々 means “the kanji is repeated.” Not, “the word is repeated exactly as it was.”

See this article for why ひとびと has a sound change.

Just as an aside though, this isn’t a possible option. 人 with an onyomi is always either にん or じん, never にんじん

17 Likes

It’s a Kanji repeater, not a word repeater.

In Japanese, you don’t write 人人, but 人々, but it’s as if you had written the first thing.

As for the pronunciation… that’s something you have to learn individually for each word, because you’re right: there’s no a priori reason why it’s not pronounced じんじん or にんにん. You just have to know it. WK teaches that specific vocab on level 2.

edit: Leebo’d

edit2: ninjinninjin means “carrot, carrot”

10 Likes

This can happen, sometimes, very rarely. Especially with simpler kanji it sometimes pops up. But it’s almost always 人々

4 Likes

Readings have to be learned one at a time most of the time the kanji is read the same or slightly different as with 色々(いろいろ) 早々(そうそう) 人々 (ひとびと) 時々(ときどき). Eventually you get a feel for when a word will end up with a redaku instead of repeated exactly.

There are a couple of exceptions like the n2 vocab 明々後日 (しあさって) and n1 vocab云々(うんぬん) but having the repeated kanji read completely different is not the norm

Edit: fixed 云々 reading

1 Like

Eh, both of those exceptions can be blamed on etymology.

Etymology of this one’s a bit unlear. It’s basically 明後日 plus し on the front, though why it’s a し and why it’s represented by an 明 is anyone’s guess. The addition of the iteration mark might spring from the on’yomi reading, which is みょうみょうごにち.

This is basically うんうん → うんぬん[1] → うぬん[2]

[1] This is a process that’s sorta related to rendaku called 連声れんじょう - essentially an ん at the end of a kanji reading smearing over to the next kanji. It’s why, for example, 天皇 is てんのう rather than てんおう.

[2] This change is because people are lazy. :stuck_out_tongue:

6 Likes

I knew the meaning and reasoning behind this one. I came across it really early in my studies and it threw me off though since it doesn’t follow the normal pattern, so wanted to point it out.

I do wonder why its し to change it from the day after tmrw to in 3 days time. The kanji choice makes sense to me just not the reading, but that’ll happen with a language that did their best to cram Japanese words into Chinese characters.

Idk why my brain didn’t put this together lol I knew this existed but didn’t register that was what was happening to this one

3 Likes

Is this reading even a thing? I thought it was うんぬん, which is due to 連声, as mentioned.

4 Likes

It is うんぬん i was half asleep when typing and misread the furi on kanji study and my phones ime pulled it up with うぬん so i didn’t think much of it

5 Likes

To add on to the main question, when talking to a native speaker, would they understand if we said “hitohito” instead of “hitobito” (or other similar rendaku mistakes)? Especially if there is good context?

Most likely. Especially since pronouncing the word fast enough, you’ll slur the middle of it either way. Just think about how you can understand someone butchering your native language just fine, even if it’s very bad.

3 Likes

Thanks! Yes, that’s true about butchering and still understanding, good point.

Some Japanese people mess up rendaku at times. Never 人々, but stuff less obvious or common like 溺れ死ぬ. So don’t worry too much

1 Like

They would and probably would find “hitohito” a little funny :sweat_smile: . A general note, though, 人々 is not used commonly in speech. I was reminded not to use it by my teacher at some point and she exclaimed that it’s mostly in written language.

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.