Why is there no long あ and い in on'yomi?

皆さん、こんにちは
It’s been bothering me for about a year now. There are readings like れい, すう and もう but no readings like まあ and りい. Is there a reason to that considering ラーメン and マーボーどうふ come from Chinese and there are long あ in there?

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おかあさん hmm?

I’m pretty sure that’s kun’yomi

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I don’t want to make assumptions about what readings are elongated, I just wanted to point out an example of where it exists for あ

This is a fascinating question. Assuming your suspicion is true–from what I’ve come across while looking into this, it seems so–I think the reason will be an interesting history lesson.

Here are some interesting pieces I’ve come across in my search:
How Many Unique On’yomi Are There
Explaining the Long Vowel Sound
The Chouonpu

The first link suggests that the on’yomi らあ, for example, exists in theory but that, if it ever did exist in practice, it did not make its way into modern Japanese for whatever reason. Now I’m curious, too.

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… Because 拉麺 is an archaic word that never gets used any more?

(I mean, to be fair, the らー bit is pretty much always written in kana of either variety…)

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Well, it’s not listed as an onyomi for it (ら, らつ, and ろう are). Not sure of the history of the word 拉麺

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Yes, my suspicion exactly.

As Leebo suggests, this doesn’t seem to be a modern on’yomi. Do you have a resource that lists archaic on’yomi? I haven’t been able to find such a thing but am keen to explore one.

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Curiously, in 辣油 = ラー油, 辣 also has らつ listed as on’yomi.

One wonders if rather than this being archaic on’yomi, it’s more of an archaic gemination…

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Hmm. I’m speaking beyond my own expertise here, but I’d be surprised if らっ changed over time to らつ.

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While I still don’t know anything about Japanese I do speak Chinese and I would say there really are no long-form vowels in Chinese. If I had to guess, I would say when words like ラーメン and マーボーどうふ were translated into Japanese the translators were trying to capture the Chinese tones on the words rather than indicate a long vowel. In Chinese ラーメン is pronounced lāmiàn and マーボーどうふ is pronounced mápódòufu, as you can see there are no long forms of the vowel a or i. However, there are varying pronunciations for u, o, e sounds.

Maybe this is why you rarely see あ or い but it would be hard to know for sure.
.

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what about 老麺 (variant for 拉麺?)

ah, 麻雀

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I would describe lao less as an elongated a and more as it’s own vowel combination though their are a lot of linguistic issues with trying to view language through the lens of anthers construction e.g. Japanese, or English. But when you consider how lao is pronounced it is not a simple a sound but rather a unique ao sound. As for 麻雀 I wouldn’t really view a rising tone as an elongated “a” because when you are speaking conversational Chinese it doesn’t really take much longer to say rising tones as any of the other tones. But this is the problem with trying to compare two inherently different languages so :man_shrugging:

pronunciation in Japanese is not equal to original loan words, so… who knows.

there are also exapmles with あん reading following something ending with ‘a’ (and the same can be said about ‘i’, like in 吏員), but this is a bit different case

yet, 麻 has マア listed as on’yomi, so it matches the topic question.

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I can see that えい and おう come from diphthongs but what’s bothering me are the long う as in くう, すう and ふう. It’s interesting to note that there doesn’t seem to be any kanji with the reading うう.
So maybe my question could be “Where do the long う sounds in on’yomi come from?”.

well, irregular 温麺 would disagree, but, this reading is irregular here.

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Where?

The kanken people don’t recognize it

https://www.kanjipedia.jp/kanji/0006521800

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把握 is one. Does that count?

The あ of 握 is not part of the reading of 把 though, so it can’t be said that the word or the kanji has a long あ sound.

like a few applications on Linux desktop and on Android have this on’yomi listed.

apparently,… it looks like it comes from KanjiDict in all these applications, and this dictionary might be out of date/place/era/whatever and surely other resources can provide different information, like because they show its actual everyday usage, and this information might be different as any language changes over time.

anyway, it seems that Kanken still shows reading as “まあ” for a couple of words, yet as uncommon/exceptional.