From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sat Jun 21 2003 - 20:06:52 EDT

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    From: "Allen Haaheim" <>
    > Phillippe,
    > Sorry to reopen a (closed?) case. The below look like loose ends to me.

    I thought it was closed too. Well I can reply, but I will just give my opinion
    after reading translations to Japanese performed by other people, and
    hearing their comments.

    > >For Japanese people, they consider this sign as a separate vowel whose
    > >phonetic value depends on the phonetic value of the previous character
    > >(which may have a point or double-point diacritic, for the voice mark used
    > >to alter the consonnant value of the base character). This is proably why
    > >the transliteration of this character to Latin generally doubles the
    > >previous Latin vowel.
    > "Separate" doesn't seem right. In my understanding it's an "extender" (as
    > Andrew notes) of the final vowel sound of the previous kana (so mentioning
    > diacritics, which affect only the initial consonant, is irrelevant). To be
    > more exact, it doubles the length of the vowel final.

    The term "separate" comes from the fact that it can be used in some cases
    after some non-Hiragana and non-Katakana characters, for example after
    imported Latin-written words. It's difficult to imagine that this sound mark
    can be considered as an extender of a Latin letter, to which it does not
    apply really.

    > >However, this character is not strictly a diacritic, as there is some uses
    > >of the character (according to grammatical rules) after a punctuation sign
    > >used to separate it from an imported foreign word (most often a proper
    > >name), sometimes written with another script.

    I have no sample to give you immediately, but I saw it in translations to
    Japanese I gave to some Japanese native, which used the sound mark
    after imported names (that were not transliterated to Hiragana or Katakana).

    As I noted whever there should not be a space between the imported
    name and the rest of the Japanese text, the translator explained to me
    that this was a common use for imported names that were best written
    without being transliterated, such as trademarks or company names.

    Well I must admit that I am sometimes surprised about the way some
    language can alter the termination of a trademark or a physical person
    name according to somem common grammatical rules that are probably
    valid for names used in the corresponding countries, but look ugly for
    imported names, as this creates sometimes conflicts with distinct
    foreign trademarks or foreign people.

    I can't verify if they are correctly interpreting a national grammatical rule.
    Each time in that case, I try to suggest to use a less litteral translation
    that would be grammatically correct but that would respect, if possible
    the original name (which should be given at least once with its original
    unique and normally invariable orthograph).

    For the case of a prolonged sound mark after a Latin letter, I don't know
    how to classify this usage, but my translator persisted to say it was
    correct, and refused to insert a space before it (and he was probably
    right if it's effectively interpreted as an extender of the last vowel, even
    if it's a latin vowel...

    My only knowledge of Japanese is limited to perform some dictionnary
    checks to verify the content of a translation, and check its encoding,
    or allowing exchanges with translators. But I cannot read it "in the text"...

    If you have a better knowledge of Japanese than me, I won't try to convince
    you of anything, as my interpretation may simply use inaccurate terms
    for your point of view. But if you are not a Japanese native, your scholar
    studies of the Japanese language may have ignored some local usages
    that native Japanese writters (or translators) accept and use quite

    Only a Japanese native could reply to explain if that usage is just abusive
    and considered incorrect, or if it's common.

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