Japanese should be romanized.

SagaSon   Sunday, February 08, 2004, 12:58 GMT
Don't you agree that JAP should be romanized and that it is a beautiful language.
Lavoisel   Sunday, February 08, 2004, 13:06 GMT
Japanese has already been "romanised" by Portuguese, French and English words. Do you mean that its writting system sould be dropped for the latin one?
SagaSon   Sunday, February 08, 2004, 13:20 GMT
Exactly. Some say that Japanese grammar is easy, but I find aweosme when Japanese people speak Japanese, it sounds like a menacing language.
Lavoisel   Sunday, February 08, 2004, 16:21 GMT
I don't think the latin alphabet is suitable for such an homophonic language. There would be too many homographes. The kanji and kana system, on the contrary, is effecient to differenciate the homophones.
I don't think Japanese is menacing either.
SagaSon   Sunday, February 08, 2004, 16:35 GMT
Japanese language is a language that hates gays?
to SagaSon   Sunday, February 08, 2004, 18:16 GMT
Lavoisel said "homophones" not "homophobes". Or are you just trying to be funny?
Ryan   Sunday, February 08, 2004, 22:36 GMT
Just changing orthographies won't make the Japanese language sound any less menacing when it is spoken to you, SagaSon.
SagaSon   Monday, February 09, 2004, 00:41 GMT
Huh?? The more menacing the better. I like menacing language, I don't know if my native is, but Japanese and German are.
Jim   Monday, February 09, 2004, 01:06 GMT
I don't get your point. Why should Japanese be romanised? Why is the latin alphabet any better than Japanese characters*. There are advantages of the Japanese system over roman letters.

For example, it is space efficient: whole words can be written with only one character and there is no need for spaces between words. I find it easier to look a Japanese word up in a dictionary if it's listed in kana order* as opposed to alphabetical order and I'm not even a native speaker. Kana shows a clear connexion between voiced and unvoiced pairs which is very handy for Japanese.

Also if you were to romanise it, there's a question of how this is to be done. There are three main systems of romanisation. Which one do you choose? The Hepburn system is the most popular but it's very much based on English orthography (at least as far as consonants are concerned). Would it be right to use this system?

Then there's the Kunrei system which, like the Hepburn system, fails to make certain distinctions made in Kana. The Nihon system makes these distinctions, between, for example, "zu" and "du" both written as "zu" in the other two systems. The thing about the Kunrei and Nihon systems, however, is that it can be difficult to read unless you know Japanese, "Fuji", for example, is written as "Huzi" in these systems.

The difficulties don't stop there either. What do you do, for example, with the long vowels? Do you write them as two letters, one letter with a mark on top or just as one letter? Do you treat "ei" as "ee" and "ou" as "oo"? Do you indicate tones in spelling (with, for example, grave and accute accents).

There is the syllabic "n" which can be pronounced [N], [n] or [m] depending on what follows it. Do you show these differences in spelling? None of the standard systems made distinction between [N] and [n] but one version of the Hepburn system makes the distinction between [N]/[n] and [m]. For a concrete example, take the word for "newspaper", do you spell it "shimbun" or "shinbun"?

There are particles which in kana are spelt with characters which would otherwise represent different pronunciations. Do you maintain these oddities or do you romanise them according only to pronunciation?

I don't find Japanese menacing but whether or not it beautiful is a different story. Whether it's beautiful or not depends on how who is speaking or writing it. The recorded messages on the bus and escalator are very ugly. UA's singing voice is very beautiful. Japanese writing on a webpage tends to be an eye-sore. Japanese writing done by a skilled caligrapher's brush is very pleasing to look at. That would be lost if Japanese were romanised (I suppose we'd still have the Chinese to do it though).

* By "Japanese characters" I mean the ideographic kanji, which is the Japanese version of Chinese characters, plus the phonetic kana of which there are two kinds: katakana and hiragana.

* By "kana order" I mean the modern standard order not iroha order. Iroha order is the order as appears in a certain poem containing each kana just once. Iroha order would be even more difficult than alphabetical order for me. The modern standard order is simple because it lists syllables according firstly to their initial consonant, then the vowel, then whether the initial consonant is voiced or not.
SagaSon   Monday, February 09, 2004, 03:12 GMT
Damn Sampa I hate you ..

Why can't people stick to IPA that is 1000000000000x better???
Jim   Monday, February 09, 2004, 06:17 GMT
IPA can't be written in ASCII that's why SAMPA was created.
Jim   Monday, February 09, 2004, 06:36 GMT
... but if it helps, [N] is the consonant represented by "ng" in words like "sing" and [n] and [m] are just as they are in the IPA.
Khatiya   Tuesday, February 10, 2004, 22:15 GMT
I don't get your point either Sagason. Are you Japanese? If not why do you care? It's up to the Japanese people how they want to write/speak. And excuse them if they don't want to disregard their ancestors completly and earase there language and make a new one. The language is fine the way it is and besides, it shows there culture and history. Its not up to you to earase 3000 years of culture. You forget your place.
Paul   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 15:53 GMT
Obviously the roman based alphabets are easier to map to a keyboard and use on the Internet, But a syllabic list of 70 or so symbols, should be fairly simple to map on to a regular keyboard. I think IBM has even had Kana support for years on its mainframe computers.
Paul   Thursday, February 12, 2004, 15:57 GMT
there is an add on this page.

KingKanji for




Which seem to suggest, Kanji, as well as Kana is supported on most PC OS's.
And Kanji is the Chinese Pictigraphic characters
which has 1,945 symbols.