Sandpanther (sandpanther) wrote,

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!)

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