Why some Japanese words do not match in Roman words? Is this because of based on the sound (ghost)?

Ohayogozaimasu! (Good morning!)

こんにちは but the roman words said “konnichi"WA”" instead (KonnichiHA)!? So it should be like: こんにち And another example is ときょう = Tokyo. It should be following like: ToUkyo? *Because there have “u” in japnese!) Get what I mean? T_T (I’m not trying to insult in Japanese language, but I just want to understand them so I can embrace them well)

To promptly introduce myself, I’m a deaf. Yes, I’m deaf, studying this language as well I’m studying Russia language. I can see the big different between both. AND the RSL (РЖЯ) & JSL (nihontego)
I am primary ASL user, and English is my strength area but not like English-native hearing speaker. (You might find some my errors English grammar. Suimasen!).
I am very heavily visual on exact words in order to understanding this mean. Not for Japanese (японский) and as well in Russian too. With Roman make easier on me, but not in all time of cases. Russia (русский) can be similar to remember easily, like “student” = стндент (gakusei). I will have to learn every new words for Russian and Japanese.

This is my summary of who I am. Arigatougozaimasu & Spansibo (спасибо)! (Thank you)


The “は” in こんにちは is the topic marker particle, which is always pronounced わ. There are more particles with irregular pronounciations. を is pronounced お, and へ (as a particle) is pronounced え.

As for とうきょう, in Japanese, if a う follows a syllable from the お-column (which is the case for と), it just elongates the vowel. Same goes い after え-column syllables, making せんせい sound like せんせえ.

Studying a language being deaf seems tough! がんばれ!


TheNomad beat me to it. Romanization follows one of a few different standards, but doing so phonetically was a bad decision and they should have kept it 1:1 with the vowel equivalents actually needed to type. If you learn every word in Romaji first, you’re going to have a bad time because you won’t know how to type it out on a US keyboard to get the correct kana.

Often, if i follows an e, it is pronounced as a long E.
If u follows an o, it is often pronounced as a long O.
That is, of course, going to be hit and miss, because Japanese was not designed to be romanized.

おはよう incorrectly becomes おはよお according to romanization rules, and せんせい incorrectly becomes せんせえ as TheNomad points out.

In general, this is why you see a lot of people vehemently boycotting romaji. Once you stop using romaji altogether, the rest of the language actually becomes a lot simpler. I shudder to think about having to type out a report in romaji that had a minimum word count (not a minimum letter or page count).


Tokyo is the English name actually, the romanization is indeed toukyou, but that’s misleading when trying to pronounce it and English would never mislead you like that :slight_smile:

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It depends which romanization standard you are using. More commonly long Japanese vowels are printed as a repeating or a macron bar accented vowel.


So you prefer some more perfect Romanization for pronunciation? Well this Romaji system (Waapuro, which follows modified Hepburn) follows more of Kana, and less of preferred English equivalent. (Which Kana itself doesn’t follow pronunciation perfectly, but at least better than hundreds of years ago.)

Also, even if to go full-blown, like IPA, there will still be faults and not perfect.

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Thank you for explaining, sometimes I will have to memorize based on the word from Japanese word s& Romji (Romanzation) words. Sometimes it helps me to remember, some not. If I find they do not match, I will memorize it anyways. Just like remembering of the children’s name. English do have irregular verbs and words rules, as Japanese are. I do not like too comfort-zone, so I have to get out this to possible writing Nihongo! Arigatougosaimasu!

I don’t visually see Romaji much these day; but I think Romaji makes Dakuten more apparent, like s vs z.

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I would think that, without the hindrance of knowing what English sounds like at all, you’d have an advantage in learning Japanese. English is both limited and complex, and one of the more inconsistent languages for pronunciation. Either way, romaji sounds like it would be even less useful to you than someone that grew up hearing English that needed a pronunciation bridge.

When you share this websites explains that a lot. Nihongo can be scary sometimes. BUT, I am sure there is no shortcut to win. (Unless there’s a tip or explanation especially on deaf people.) But that’s it.

Native-Japanese people might know and easier on them. I’m on average-English, so I will have to learn out-the-box and get out of my own comfort-zone. Katakana words this I like the most part than hiragana but I am still enjoying on both. Why? Katakana can be part of similar (borrowing) English-like. for example Milk = Miruku (I find that attached to me very much, it is very beautiful! Even it is not English itself!) Amerika = America (I can tell to remove from English C to K in Japanese. English L to R in Japanese) Like Loid (SpyxFamily Character) = Ro-Do in Japanese. I do not want to explain furthermore if you know. ^^’

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If you are curious, there is English to Katakana Converter - which is far more than usual characters in Romaji.

If romaji had an advantage IMO it would be in the digraphs (compound kana). Ryo りょ was actually somewhat useful to me.

Now, there is that ambiguity too - sho or syo? cho or cyo or tyo? jo or jyo or zyo? (In any case, personally, I am against jo.)

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Thanks for your explanation very clear. I will have to memorize all anyways regardless not matches depending on individual words. There is no shortcut to win, and I shall get out of comfort-zone itself.

Wa and ha are very closely related sounds in Japanese. Basically, you’re looking at the remnants left behind from sound changes.

The はひふへほ sounds were more like “pa, pi, pu, pe, po” a long time ago. Also, it may be surprising, but they were used in verbs (where we would use “wa, i, u, e, o” now. So the spelling of いう in older versions of Japanese was いふ. The spelling of あう was あふ. You can confirm this in dictionaries that keep original spellings in the entries.

And if you conjugated いふ to the negative, you would have いはない (which is いわない in modern spelling).

Like I said, the old pronunciation of these はひふへほ kana was more like “pa, pi, pu, pe, po”, but when they appeared in between vowels like in the verb conjugations, their pronunciation started to change. The end result is that they started to sound more like the modern kana we write them with, and so they decided to actually write them with those kana when spelling reforms were done.

The は particle, which also tends to be sandwiched between vowels, and so also underwent the sound change to be more like “wa” was one of the old fossils that they decided to not change with the reforms. It’s confusing for beginners, but it’s usually not hard to determine what it should be.


Unless it’s a verb :smiley:
For the おう rule that is…

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