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01 April 2012 @ 09:41 pm
The Importance Of "U"  
Japanese isn't tonal, like Chinese is. However, it does differentiate between short and long vowels. Making sure to note (and pronounce) the lengthened vowels is critical. A case in point:

Shōjō is a type of Japanese monster (of Chinese origin).

Shoōjo is a young girl.

Shojo is a virgin.

It was rather amusing listening to someone talking about a virgin in a bottle. :)

(Yes, this does mean I'm finally caught up on Supernatural. Was highly amused by their "Shinto blessing" -- particularly since it starts out with an invocation to the Seven Gods of Good Fortune. Japanese religion is syncretic as all-out so it's not that much of a fax-paux to put Buddhist deities in a Shinto ritual -- though it did make me giggle. Particularly since Wikipedia notes sometimes Fukurokuju and Jurōjin are lumped together as one deity (no wonder I have so much trouble differentiating them), and the Shōjō is filled into the blank spot. Because nothing says good fortune like boozing it up!)