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Kunreishiki vs Hepburn for romanization of Japanese phonetics

Kurogami
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Kurogami
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Joined: November 13th, 2017, 10:37 pm

June 12th, 2018, 10:06 pm #1

I'm editing a college textbook and need to establish a style rule for romanization of Japanese words/names. It seems the Samurai Archives Wiki uses Hepburn-style consonants, but carets (which is kunreishiki, I think?) instead of macrons. E.g., this entry on Tachibana Dôsetsu Could one of the Wiki editors explain why you prefer the caret over the macron?

Following this model, romanization looks like:
おう or おお --> ô
うう --> û
ち --> chi
ちょう --> chô

How about the insertion of an aspostrophe after the "n" sound? 万葉集 --> Man'yôshû
Are there any other rules I should be aware of? Thanks!


Last edited by Kurogami on June 12th, 2018, 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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kitsuno
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June 13th, 2018, 5:56 am #2

Pretty simple. It just looked better on the screen, and had nothing to do with choosing one romanization style over another.
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Bethetsu
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June 13th, 2018, 9:30 am #3

Kurogami wrote: It seems the Samurai Archives Wiki uses Hepburn-style consonants, but carets (which is kunreishiki, I think?) instead of macrons.

Strictly speaking, Hepburn uses the long mark, which is why you see it in most books and journals. However, things changed with the advent of computers. ASCII does not have macrons, as they are not widely used except for specialized uses and ASCII had to use its available 224 character spots carefully, but it does have carets, which are used in French, etc. So not many keyboards are formatted for macrons, and carets have become a generally accepted alternate, even when submitting manuscripts. So carets are much more convenient for wiki editors. But for printing, macrons are probably better.

As for the insertion of an apostrophe after the "n" sound, it depends on your purpose. For words in an English text, I would say it is probably not necessary, but if you are talking about the language, or giving romanization of a text, I would insert it.

What is the subject matter of the textbook?
Last edited by Bethetsu on June 13th, 2018, 9:40 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Kurogami
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June 18th, 2018, 4:33 pm #4

Kitsuno wrote:Pretty simple. It just looked better on the screen, and had nothing to do with choosing one romanization style over another.
Bethetsu wrote:ASCII does not have macrons...but it does have carets... So carets are much more convenient for wiki editors. But for printing, macrons are probably better. As for the insertion of an apostrophe after the "n" sound, it depends on your purpose. For words in an English text, I would say it is probably not necessary, but if you are talking about the language, or giving romanization of a text, I would insert it.

What is the subject matter of the textbook?
Thank you for the replies. I am editing a college geology textbook, not Japanese-language specific. Several non-English words appear throughout--e.g., Andrija Mohorovičić, Tōhoku Earthquake--so I need to establish an editorial standard for romanizing these words, especially since the book is written by multiple authors.

I have also learned the diacritical mark after "n" isn't an apostrophe, but like the macron/long mark, the apostrophe gets used because it resembles a single quote or hash mark. :roll:

So... Based on your feedback and my hunting around, I am going to follow the Library of Congress romanization table for Japanese. I don't particularly like the apostrophe, uh... quote mark, because I am not convinced it actually helps with pronunciation but chances are I won't need to use it. At any rate, by using the Library of Congress romanization tables I will have references for multiple languages.

BTW, this textbook is part of a cool project I'm working on. It's called Open Educational Resources, and its goal is to provide Creative Commons/open-licensed, peer-reviewed textbooks for college students. In short, free textbooks. :read:

Thanks again! :D
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"Oh yes, but you seem to enjoy it so"
"Ah, that's just my nature. Sorry if it offends you."
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