Trubetzkoy (1958/69) proposed that natural languages fall into two groups, mora-counting and syllable-counting languages, according to the smallest prosodic unit used in that language. Japanese has been classified as a mora language, whereas English is labeled a syllable language. This proposal has been taken for granted over the decades and has been interpreted as suggesting that the mora and the syllable are mutually exclusive within a single prosodic system. This paper challenges this interpretation by demonstrating that at least one major role which the mora plays in Japanese is observed in syllable-based languages as well and, moreover, that the syllable plays a pivotal role in a wide range of linguistic phenomena in the putatively mora-based system of (Tokyo) Japanese.
Human beings innately have two neuropsychologically different rhythm processing systems: holistic and analytic. The former copes with rapid tempos of rhythm with less than 330ms inter-beat intervals (IBIs), and the latter with slow ones with more than 420ms IBIs. These two systems constitute a hierarchical structure: the holistic system comprises the base, and the analytic system, the superstructure component. These systems and their relationship were detected in Kohno's accumulated experiments using a split-brain patient, a patient with pure anarthria, and normal persons as subjects (Kohno, 1992, 1993, etc.). On the basis of these experiments, the underlying reasons for correction of truisms long-held by phoneticians will be discussed and the following claims will be made: 1) The traditional dichotomy of speech timing such as 'stress-timed' and 'syllable-timed' should be reclassified into 'stress-timed' and 'mora-timed'. 2) 'Mora-timed' is not a subcategory of 'syllable-timed'. 3) Equal interval accent is not a language universal, but a language specific. The timing regulation mechanism in a mora-timed language and the possibility of foot structure in Japanese (cf. Poser, 1990) will also be discussed.
This paper rejects Matsumoto's (1984, 1995) arguments that o1 and o2 in Old Japanese (OJ) are allophones of the phoneme /o/. Matsumoto claims that a restricted distribution of the phonetically unmarked o1, its low frequency, and the anomalous direction of its merger with o2 should be regarded as denoting their status as allophones, rather than two different phonemes. The phonological distinction of vowel quantity in OJ and pre-OJ, and Short-mid-vowel-raising in pre-OJ (Hattori 1976, 1979a, b) and Vowel-shortening, which shortens the vowel of the first syllable in a disyllabic morpheme containing two long vowels in pre-OJ, can explain all the alleged anomalies and serve to invalidate Matsumoto's arguments.
Hardly any research on the rhythm of spoken Japanese, particularly the rhythm of casual speech has been conducted, although there are some studies on the rhythm of short phrases and verses. This is because the rhythm in fast and casual speech is complex due to contractions and prolongations of syllables. As we are interested in teaching the rhythm of spoken Japanese to foreign learners, we are conducting contrastive studies of rhythms of Japanese and other languages with TEMAX, which processes spoken language automatically and shows rates of speed of utterances. We suggest how to improve TEMAX so that it can be utilized in teaching the rhythm of spoken Japanese.
There is not a large difference between the Philologist and the Japanologist regarding the fundamental understanding of the structure of Japanese syllable. There are three important areas of this topic: 1) phonetic study of the technical terms, 2) analysis of the syllable structure of dialects, and 3) historical study. I argue the term "Syllabeme" is not proper . Lastly, I give an outline of the history of the structure of the Japanese syllable.
It is well known that sonority is a major factor in determining the peaks and margins of the syllables in many languages. Recent studies report several languages in which the word accent (stress) is driven by the relative sonority of vowels. The present paper analyzes the interaction between compound accentuation and syllable structure in Tokyo Japanese and proposes that the relative sonority of vowels plays an important role in determining the position on which the accent falls. It is suggested, however, that sonority plays little or no role in foot formation.
One of the problems found in musical notation of Japanese songs are the long voiceless consonants that lack vibration of the vocal-cords ('sokuon'). Rest symbols, quarter-notes or eighth-notes are used randomly.We examined the durations of 'sokuon' and their preceding vowels in speech and songs. The results revealed that the ratio of the durations of the preceding vowels and the following 'sokuon' is seven to three in 'warabeuta' and songs for school children. The values were similler to those of emphasyzed utterances with prolonged vowels. This may be necessary to produce the melody.
The aim of this study is to clarify the phonetic features and problems of pronunciation of English and Japanese by Korean native speakers based on the results of listening and pronunciation tests. It is valuable to compare the English pronunciation of Korean speakers with their Japanese pronunciation from the viewpoint of a contrastive analysis of the English, Japanese and Korean languages, as well as to make an analysis using data obtained from both listening and pronunciation tests. Analysis of the data led to the following three conclusions: 1. There is much first language interference when learning a second language; 2. Such interference occurs when the first language differs from the second language not only on the phonological level but also on the phonetic level; 3. Even when the multiple second languages have identical or similar phonological and phonetic features, first language interference does not always occur.
This volume is intended for both teachers and learners of Japanese who wish to further their knowledge of standard Japanese pronunciation. It gives a detailed description of segmental elements as well as of suprasegmental elements. Also instances of sounds from various languages of the world that may best be compared with Japanese sounds or which ought not be confused with Japanese sounds are given.