キャッツ アイ

Nino83

Senior Member
Italian
Hello everybody.
Excuse me if this question can seem a little trivial.
There was an anime that was quite popular in Italy during the last '80 and the beginning of '90, called "occhi di gatto", "cat's eyes". I found that the original title is "キャッツ アイ" that should be the transliteration of the English "cat's eye", but I don't understand why it is not written "カッツ アイ" seeing that the English "ka"/"kæ" is commonly written "カ", like in "cameraman", カメラマン, or "come on" カモン.
Do you know why in this case "ka" is written and pronounced "kya"?
 
  • karlalou

    Banned
    母国語:日本語
    Good question.
    That is because 'cat' is pronounced [kæt], and 'come' is pronounced [kʌm].
    For camera, I guess the first Japanese translated it to Japanese was just looking at the alphabets and thought it's カメラ. The thing is that the rule didn't come first, or there's no rule at all. We mostly just follow what have already spread.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    But both "æ" and "ʌ" are normally translated as "a" in Japanese, for example ックナンバー "back number", バター "butter".
    The pronunciation "ya" for the English "æ" in キャッツ is a bit strange. Are there other examples of this pronunciation in other words of English origin?
     

    wind-sky-wind

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    To Japanese people, "kæ" sounds like "キャ."
    "Cat" is キャット, "cap" is キャップ, and sadly "can" is キャン.

    "Camera" and "Canada" are written as "カメラ" and "カナダ," but in English classes every student says "キャメラ and "キャナダ."

    With other consonants, Japanese people don't distinguish "æ" and "ʌ," but with "k" and "g" they do.
    "Gap" is ギャップ, for example.
     
    Last edited:

    karlalou

    Banned
    母国語:日本語
    But both "æ" and "ʌ" are normally translated as "a" in Japanese, for example ックナンバー "back number", バター "butter".
    The pronunciation "ya" for the English "æ" in キャッツ is a bit strange. Are there other examples of this pronunciation in other words of English origin?
    Right. We learn 'æ' is between 'a' and 'e', and consider it's a group of 'a'.
    There's no カタカナ between 'a' and 'e', so we have no choice but usually take it as 'ア'.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    "Camera" and "Canada" are written as "カメラ" and "カナダ," but in English classes every student says "キャメラ and "キャナダ."
    Interesting!
    Does this (diphthongization) happen only when "æ" is preceded by "k" or does it happen also before some other consonants?
     

    Flaminius

    hedomodo
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    "Camera" and "Canada" are written as "カメラ" and "カナダ," but in English classes every student says "キャメラ and "キャナダ."
    Both of them are historically attested. キャメラ is still used today by those who work in film and TV industry (albeit by older members). キャナダ is obsolete and was probably rare even when it was in use, but here is an instance of キヤナダ for Canada in a booklet (Naimushō Ēsēkyoku 1931:23 et passim)* published before the spelling reform. The script representation was meant to be equivalent to today's キャナダ.
    *内務省衞生局 『國立公園』 東京、内務省衞生局、1931 年。

    "Cat" is キャット, "cap" is キャップ, and sadly "can" is キャン.
    I wonder why the survival of キャン is sad but キャット and キャップ survived to avoid confusion with カット (< Eng. cut) and カップ (< Eng. cup).

    For some words such as カラメル/キャラメル, both transcriptions survived and developed separate meanings. カラメル is burnt sugar and キャラメル is caramel candies.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I wonder why the survival of キャン is sad but キャット and キャップ survived to avoid confusion with カット (< Eng. cut) and カップ (< Eng. cup).
    I think it's merely a matter of pronunciation, that happens only with "kæ" and "gæ".
    バットマン "batman", バター "butter".
     

    wind-sky-wind

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I mean, Japanese people say "キャン" about not just about the strong "can" like the noun "can", but also about the weak, or normal modal verb "can."
     

    Flaminius

    hedomodo
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    I think it's merely a matter of pronunciation, that happens only with "kæ" and "gæ".
    I agree. By survival I made a contrast between a group for キャット and キャップ and the group for キャメラ and キャナダ. The latter apparently is in the process of going out of use while the former is likely to stay. Whatever the force may be working to eliminate <キャ> or <ギャ> from loan words, the former group is protected, due to possible confusion with homophones.
    バットマン "batman", バター "butter".
    As バター is pronounced with /ʌ/, there is no chance it transcribed as *<ビャター>.

    I mean, Japanese people say "キャン" about not just about the strong "can" like the noun "can", but also about the weak, or normal modal verb "can."
    The auxiliary verb has both the strong and weak pronunciations. The strong pronunciation entered Japanese possibly to avoid collision with カン (can, like a "can of beer").
     
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