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Old April 15, 2015, 02:01 AM
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Nicolás Nicolás is offline
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I must admit that I don't really see any point in comparing two non-related languages like Japanese and Spanish. Of course, if it helps you in your learning process of one or both languages, that's good. Having studied both Japanese and Spanish, I just thought I would comment on your comparisons, as I don't agree with all of them.

First of all, on the surface the vowels in Japanese and Spanish might appear identical, but they are quite different phonetically. Both languages have the same vowel inventory (/i/, /e/, /a/, /u/, /o/), but the quality of the vowels differ, especially in the case of /a/ and /u/. The Japanese /a/ is pronounced [ä] and is thus further towards the front of the mouth than the Spanish counterpart. And the Japanese /u/ is also produced further in the front of the mouth and is more open, pronounced [ɯ]. A trained ear would note the distinction immediately.

None of the languages are tonal, but the languages do have very different systems of isochrony. Japanese is a mora-timed language (i.e. it has a pitch accent), while Spanish is a syllable-timed language. This results in subtle - but very distinctive and important - differences in pronunciation. You would be marked a foreigner in Japan, if you were to speak Japanese in a syllable-timed manner, and a native speaker of Spanish would notice straightaway that you have got an accent, if you speak Spanish in a more-timed manner.

And on the Japanese word パン (pan). Note that it is not pronounced like in Spanish. The vowel is nasal and the final -n is pronounced [ɴ], sounding somewhat like -ng in the English word ring. It is, like Capn Spanish noted, of Portuguese origin - păo, which also has a nasal vowel.

Last edited by Nicolás; April 15, 2015 at 06:03 AM.