Eiffel Tower - How do you write this using kana?

Currently I have “Eiffel Tower” in my lessons (level 45) and for the life of me I cannot figure out how to write it in kana:エッフェル塔. Specifically, it’s the smallェ after the フ…what is the combination of English letters that enables this combo?

I can’t believe I’ve never run into this before, but somehow I missed it and I’m completely stumped. How does this work? Thanks to anyone who can help!

1 Like

At least for me, to get エッフェル (or えっふぇる) I type “efferu” on my Romaji keyboard.

10 Likes

There’s フェ fe, ティ texi, ツァ tsa, ヴァ va, etc.

2 Likes

Fe will automatically give you フェ, but the key is to use x when you’re unsure. The next letter after x will become small. So something very unconventional like woxa becomes をぁ

9 Likes

fuxe or fe

But there are usually 2-3 letter combinations, like fe, thi, tso, qi, vi

1 Like

Or “thi”, as someone taught me here a few months ago.

2 Likes

Also works with ‘L’, which is what I use, but either one works.

1 Like

Except in WaniKani, where L is treated as equivalent to R… unless they changed that while I wasn’t watching.

2 Likes

Every time I completely blank on a kanji reading I just type “la” and it comes up as ’ぁ’. So yes something did change while you weren’t watching.

3 Likes

Now I’m curious, is katakana/imported words the only place where you see odd small vowel usage like this, or do some hiragana words do it too? My guess would be “no” since imported words tend to try and approximate the pronunciation of the words in its original language while “traditional” Japanese words don’t have to do that, but it seems like there’s always an exception to every rule.

1 Like

Ah thank you, the X trick should be pretty useful going forward when I run into any similar constructions.

1 Like

I never heard of x before. I always use l. l for little.

I hadn’t either until I tried Torii SRS, where you have to type x in order to make small vowels. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to type small vowels to type the word パーティー until I poked around the app’s settings and how-to’s. :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Pretty much just imported words, but you do sometimes see small vowels to prepresent drawn-out sounds, like じゃねぇ~, for example.

3 Likes

In cases like these, is the small vowel meant to indicate that the speaker’s voice is getting softer as the sound goes on? Is it any different from the usual “elongated sound”? (i.e. じゃねぇ vs じゃねえ)

1 Like