ConcordeBoy
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Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:49 am

Got into it with another enthusiast today....
  • I've always pronounced NRT and HND as "NAH-ree-tah" and "HAH-nay-da".
  • I've run across so many (albeit non-Japanese) who pronounce them "nah-REE-tah" and "hah-NAY-da"/"hah-NEE-da".

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    For anyone more in the know, what's the truly popular/official methods for pronouncing these hubs?

    For those who aren't, how do you say 'em?
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    B6FA4ever
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:58 am

    Quoting ConcordeBoy (Thread starter):
    I've run across so many (albeit non-Japanese) who pronounce them "nah-REE-tah" and "hah-NAY-da"/"hah-NEE-da".

    NRT - Narita - "Nah - Ri - Tah" (the "Ri" is pronounced like "ree"l ) roll the "R" though when speaking

    HND - Haneda - "Hah - Ne - Dah" ("Ne" is like the country "Ne"pa)

    ~B6FA4ever
     
    ConcordeBoy
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:51 am

    ...since that really does nothing to answer my intended question, allow me to further specify:
    I'm wondering where the syllabic emphasis is placed.
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    rfields5421
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:07 am

    Man it's been over 20 years since I lived in Japan and my kids knew more of the language than I did.

    From memory - the Japanese language doesn't put emphasis on specific syllables the way we do in English.

    These notes match my memories:

    "1. In English, stressed syllables in a word are pronounced louder and longer. In Japanese, all syllables, with a few exceptions, are pronounced with equal length and loudness.

    2. In Japanese, a stressed syllable is merely pronounced at a higher pitch. This is part of the Japanese intonation pattern.

    3. Japanese does have a distinct intonation pattern. Their intonation pattern can be heard not only in individual words, but also in whole sentences. Intonation is produced by a rise and fall in pitch over certain syllables. In the case of questions, the Japanese intonation pattern bears no relation to the English one. This is a source of a lot of confusion."

    Just the inclusion of emphasis syllables in your original post makes the pronounciation wrong in both cases.

    Also, there are different pronounciations depending upon the status of the speaker and the listener. For a high status listener and a low status speaker, it's one way, and slightly different for the opposite.

    It's normally the same for all non-Japanese because they are low status.

    I never, ever, heard any native Japanese speaker pronounce the airport names above in a form which was easily recognized. For one these are very short words pronounced very quickly. Haneda was always Haneda Airport or Tokyo Airport. I don't remember it as a separate individual phrase. (Or course when I was there - Narita was more commonly referred to as New Tokyo).

    One of my neighbors probably said it best when I talked to him on the emphasis point - "It doesn't matter - all gaijin will always pronounce Japanese wrong."
     
    RussianJet
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:31 am

    You are correct - it is the first syllable of Narita that is stressed. As for Haneda, I'm not 100% sure but I'm pretty sure it's the same - first syllable.
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    LHboyatDTW
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:28 am

    Quoting B6FA4ever (Reply 1):
    roll the "R" though when speaking

    Actually you don't need to roll the "R" in Japanese. I am taking Japanese in college and I am yet to hear my professor roll her Rs.

    though for Japanese vowels:

    a sounds like "ah"

    e sounds like "eh"

    i sounds "ee"

    o sounds like "oh"

    u sounds like "oo"
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    GRIVely
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:32 am

    Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 3):
    "1. In English, stressed syllables in a word are pronounced louder and longer. In Japanese, all syllables, with a few exceptions, are pronounced with equal length and loudness.

    2. In Japanese, a stressed syllable is merely pronounced at a higher pitch. This is part of the Japanese intonation pattern.

    I lived five years in Japan and speak Korean and Chinese as well. I agree with RFields that Japanese, like Korean, is best described as monosyllabic, unstressed except for certain phrases that are spoken as part of a grammar pattern.

    It is almost impossible for an Indo-European language speaker to utter anything with an equal stress as I-E languages heavily depend upon stress for part of the meaning of the word. (difference between re-fuse and ref-use, polish and Polish, minute and mi-nute.

    Speakers of American accented English are often struck by how different the pronunciation is between northerners and southerners since people in the South, like many English, put the emphasis on the first syllable. So southerners say UM-brella while northerners will say um-BREL-la. Like PO-lice and po-LICE.

    Isn't language interesting?

    Cheers,

    GRIV
     
    RussianJet
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:41 am

    Quoting GRIVely (Reply 6):
    monosyllabic

    Mm, monotone, maybe? Monosyllabic means consisting of one syllable.

    Whether through pitch, intonation or whatever - in the case of Narita one can hear the effect of the first syllable being stressed when spoken by a native Japanese speaker. I understand where you are coming from though, and you're right that syllables are not 'stressed' in the same sense as in western languages.
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    andaman
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:53 am

    A bit of the topic but...
    To Finnish ears many Japanese words sound rather similar to Finnish, even some first names like Aki or Mika exist in both languages.
    Finnish is not an Indo-European language either, so perhaps pronouncing Japanese correctly easier for a Finnish speaker?
    Would need a native Japanese to check this though  Wink
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    centrair
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:54 am

    Quoting LHboyatDTW (Reply 5):
    Actually you don't need to roll the "R" in Japanese. I am taking Japanese in college and I am yet to hear my professor roll her Rs.

    Very very true. Many Japanese can't roll their Rs at all because there is no true "R" in Japanese. There is no true "L" in Japanese either. When making the phonetic "romaji" system, they chose R as it seemed closer to the sound than an L. But in reality the sound is not in the Latin based sound set.

    When we make a basic R, our tongue is up and to the back of our mouth.
    When we make a basic L, our tongue is pressed up to the back of our upper front teeth.

    When rolling an R, we are moving our tongue between the roof of the mouth and the front teeth

    But when making Ra, Ri, Ru, Re, Ro in Japanese the tongue is actually in the middle or up at the top of the pallet. It produces a sound between an L and an R.

    Try it.

    As for the core question concerning NRT and HND. If you were to put a stress it would be on the 1st part. NA ri ta and HA ne da. But it is only lightly stressed. In English we have rules upon rules about syllables but Japanese has none as all sounds are diatic, only 5 sounds are singles; a, i , u , e, o and n. All other sounds are consonant/vowel combinations using different consonants in the first position and a, i, u, e, o in the second position. So you will never see two consonants but you can see two vowels next to each other.

    This being said there are a few words where the accent might be shifted. For example: HAshi is chopsticks and haSHI is bridge. The kanji are different but the romaji would be the same. There are other words like this.

    Common mistakes.
    Hiroshima = Many westerners will call it hiroSHIma. When it should straight no stress.
    Back in 1998, NBC sports kept calling it the naGAno olympics. And instead of using a round "a" they used the American nasal "a".
    I hear that I do not live outside of nagoya but I live outside of naGOya.

    In fact because western foreigners put stress on the language, Japanese think that if they speak with a foreigner they have to add stress to words to be understood. To me this is condescending. I do a TV show at a local cable channel and am always telling my co-host to speak regular Japanese as we don't want to teach something that is not right.

    Cultural Linguistics are fun!
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    LHboyatDTW
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:41 am

    Quoting Centrair (Reply 9):
    All other sounds are consonant/vowel combinations using different consonants in the first position and a, i, u, e, o in the second position. So you will never see two consonants but you can see two vowels next to each other.

    I may not be a native speaker of Japanese, but honestly I wouldn't be so fast to say that.

    For example, the word kekkon (marriage) would be written like ‚¯‚­‚±‚ñ (or kekukon, with the "u" being silent) instead of ‚¯‚‚±‚ñ which would be a more accurate way of writing it assuming it's not written in kanji. Besides that word, I believe it's common in katakana as well. However, I am sure I can be proven wrong in two aspects A: the word "kekkon" could be written in kanji as I previously noted and B: the symbol "‚Â" should be smaller to prove it's a double consonant.
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    centrair
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:50 am

    Quoting LHboyatDTW (Reply 10):
    I may not be a native speaker of Japanese, but honestly I wouldn't be so fast to say that.

    I see your point for romanization but in the pronunciation you only say one K sound, and without an explanation that kekkon is really pronounced ke'kon (with a small break) people would pronuciate in the same way we say "better." As an American I would say beder for better. But when read in a Japanese romanization it would be "be'ter".

    Kekkon is usually written in Kanji ?? and in HIragana ????. with a small tsu. Katakana follows the same rule for hiragaga.

    Kanji = Words borrowed from Chinese.
    Hiragana = pronunciation and Japanese only words.
    Katakana = non-Japanese, Non-chinese borrowed words. like "pan" for bread
    Romaji = used for computer input, and so that people who read an alaphabet an try to figure out Japanese.
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    Tom in NO
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:10 pm

    Cboy, to directly answer your question as asked, as someone who is not versed in the Japanese language or pronunciations, I've always placed the accent on the second syllable with both Haneda and Narita.

    Tom at MSY (on the CrackBerry)
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    Carpethead
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:33 pm

    As a native Japanese speaker, RFields5421's explanation is right on.

    As a sidenote, most Japanese will mix-up 'B' with 'V' & 'R' with 'L', vice-versa.
    It's always my personal joke to try to have Japanese pronounce 'Ralph Lauren' properly - it ends up sounding like walf-woen.

    Quoting ConcordeBoy (Thread starter):

    There is no really right or wrong as long as you don't butcher the pronunciation. Most people in Japan will understand Haneda or Narita, anyways.
     
    sh0rtybr0wn
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:15 pm

    When I went from Tokyo to Kyoto, I got off at Kyoto station.

    I asked how to get to Karasuma/Marutamachi station and of course had the intonation accents wrong. They laughed and said they didnt know. For a while there, I thought i was in the wrong city.

    They didnt understand. Then i asked if that was Kyoto (but like an american I said "Key-OH-to" and they still didnt understand. Then I remembered the correct pronunciation was Kyo-To, and they told me yes, I was in the right place etc.

    I also noticed the people in Osaka talked alot differently from those in Tokyo. Was I just imagining that?
     
    ConcordeBoy
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:37 pm

    Quoting Centrair (Reply 9):
    As for the core question concerning NRT and HND. If you were to put a stress it would be on the 1st part. NA ri ta and HA ne da.

    ...so in other words, my initial assertion was correct?

    'preciate it  Wink
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    G4LASRamper
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:51 pm

    For Andaman,

    Japanese and Finnish both had their ancient origins in Asia Minor. These Altaic languages spread north and east, and in the case of Japanese picked up mongolian, korean, and polynesian influences which lead to the present language. But yes, Finnish and Japanese are distantly (very distantly) related.

    For Sh0rtybr0wn,

    Western colloquial Japanese (the Kansai region) is indeed quite different from that spoken in Tokyo (the Kantou region). Several different kinds of Kansai-ben (named for the region) are the dialects spoken in and around Osaka. Although everyone learns the Tokyo dialect in school (nowadays it is the 'official' Japanese), millions of people use Kansai-ben or one of its offshoots if they are not in a classroom.  Smile
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    UA772IAD
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:05 pm

    Quoting Sh0rtybr0wn (Reply 14):
    I also noticed the people in Osaka talked alot differently from those in Tokyo. Was I just imagining that

    Yes, there is a separate dialect in Osaka (Osaka Dialect) from that of Tokyo. Many different regions in Japan have different dialects. If you travel down to Okinawa, the vernacular is very hard to understand (it almost sounds like Chinese). You will also notice a few other differences. In Tokyo, (IIRC) you walk on the right side of the escalator, and stand on the left. In Osaka, its reversed (Or is it the other way around?)

    I've been speaking Japanese for 9 years now, and as others have said, there's really no emphasis on syllables, like there is in Chinese.
     
    ikramerica
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 4:27 pm

    What's interesting is you can speak and understand english with very little use of weak and strong syllables. Whisper quietly to yourself, and you'll see that you drop most of the embellishment, and speak much more in a monotone, Japanese style.

    If you also remember the FedEx commercials with the fast talkers, you'll hear the same phenomenon. It takes time and effort to speak with inflection, so the faster or softer your try to talk, the less you can do it.

    English is a very compact language, but we make up for it with stress and intonation. And even then, english is 50% redundant/filler.
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    LHR777
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:48 pm

    Err, guys, surely as airline enthusiasts, we actually pronounce them as 'N-R-T' and 'H-N-D'??!  Big grin
     
    jpyvr
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:39 pm

    Quoting GRIVely (Reply 6):
    It is almost impossible for an Indo-European language speaker to utter anything with an equal stress as I-E languages heavily depend upon stress for part of the meaning of the word. (difference between re-fuse and ref-use, polish and Polish, minute and mi-nute.

    OT - As a teacher of English as a second language, I have to make a small correction to the information above. It's true that stress is important in English (and other IE languages) in determining meaning, but the examples given above don't actually show this, as there is a difference in pronunciation as well as stress in them - for example in polish and Polish the stress doesn't move, but the pronunciation of the "o" changed from "a" as in father, to "o" as in over. However there are good examples of the moving stress, changing meaning pattern like "record. As a noun (Beyonce's latest record) the first syllable is stressed, but as a verb (Beyonce will record a version of "God Save the Queen") the second is stressed.
     
    chase
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:15 am

    As far as syllables being accented or not in Japanese...I got into a cab in Kyoto and asked to go to NIH-nah-jee temple. The cabbie corrected me and said "nih-NAH-jee" with accent on the 2nd syllable. Ditto in Tokyo when I got in and said "GIN-za ni, onegaishimasu" and he corrected me with "gin-ZA!".
    And for what it's worth, to my midwestern ear, it sounds like the majority of 3-syllable words on my "Learn Japanese in your CAR" audio CDs have the emphasis placed on the middle syllable.
     
    FoxBravo
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:31 am

    Quoting ConcordeBoy (Reply 15):
    ...so in other words, my initial assertion was correct?

    Yes--as others have noted it's a light stress, more like equal emphasis on all three syllables, but your pronunciation is closer to the Japanese.

    However, I'll admit that, when speaking in English with non-Japanese speakers, I sometimes revert to "na-REE-ta" just to make myself understood and to avoid any arguments like the one you had! And I don't see anything wrong with that--we anglicize foreign place names all the time, often very inconsistently. For example, English speakers don't usually pronounce Mexico as "me-hee-co", but we always pronounce San Jose as "san ho-say", even the one in California!
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    ConcordeBoy
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:24 am

    Quoting LHR777 (Reply 19):
    Err, guys, surely as airline enthusiasts, we actually pronounce them as 'N-R-T' and 'H-N-D'??!

    DUDE!
    I'm always forgetting not to do that when speaking to "Groundlings", and they're always like "L-H-R? Where the hell is that?!"
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    bombayhog
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Sat Sep 08, 2007 5:34 am

    Quoting Chase (Reply 21):

    This cabbie misled you. Ginza, for example, is pronounced quite flat as a word, but if you were to look for a point of stress I'd say it's on the first syllable if anything.

    On the question of rolling r's.....it's true that it's a separate sound and not exactly a rolled r in Japanese, but you're getting closer if you roll it than if you say it as the flat English 'r.' And speaking of that, I've noticed that Spanish speakers (big r-rollers) have a much easier time with Japanese pronunciation than most. There are some interesting similarities in pronunciation between Spanish and Japanese.

    And just to echo some of the answers to the original question, yes the stress would be on the first part of the word, especially in the case of 'Narita.' But there isn't much of a stress, especially with 'Haneda.'
     
    SKY1
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    RE: Pronunciation Of Tokyo's Hubs

    Sat Sep 08, 2007 6:16 am

    Quoting Bombayhog (Reply 24):
    I've noticed that Spanish speakers (big r-rollers) have a much easier time with Japanese pronunciation than most. There are some interesting similarities in pronunciation between Spanish and Japanese.

    Yes, that's true!

    Even it's true on the opposite, when the japanese people speaking spanish.
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