"Di" and "Fa" in Katakana?

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by glitterturtle7, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. glitterturtle7

    glitterturtle7 New Member

    Missouri USA
    English- American
    I have a question about the phonetic translation of American names, mainly starting with "Di" and "Fa".
    I have looked on all the Katakana charts I can find for the sound "Di" and they all seem to want to give me this: which is Dji,
    and then there's this on some sites:
    (which is Chi.)
    Then I found this:
    ディ but it's prononunced like "de" (or in American English, "day").
    So my question is, which one is correct?! I'm getting so confused. My fiance's first name starts with "Di" sound and his last name starts with "Fa" sound. Which is also a tough one to find... When we get married I would like to be able to write my last name in Japanese

  2. Kasumi Tsuyuiri

    Kasumi Tsuyuiri Member

    [di] and [fa] is written ディ and ファ, respectively.

    Those special Katakana writings occur because there is neither [di] nor [f] in native Japanese. Hiragana ぢ and its corresponding Katakana ヂ can be romanized (phonemically) di and were once read [di], but due to palatalization, realization of /di/ shifted to [dʑi]. Similarly, Japanese [f] was debuccalized in a sound change which is known today as Shin'on Taika (唇音退化, lit. degeneration of labial); but please note that Shin'on Taika had minimal impact on /fu/.

    Japanese people wanted to distinguish those sounds because of the overwhelming number of English loans in Modern Japanese; thus they made a convention where a standard-sized kana and a one pair up to indicate the syllable with the former's onset and the latter's rime. For example, 'tea' is written ティー (te + a small i + lengthening mark), where ティ indicates [ti] (onset from te and rime from i), as in Ho-kago Tea Time (放課後ティータイム)―a fictional girl band in the famous manga/anime series K-ON!.
  3. glitterturtle7

    glitterturtle7 New Member

    Missouri USA
    English- American
    Thank you very much Tsuyuiri, that helps a lot. :)
    I was thinking the correct phonetic translation for di was ディ but I had to be sure. Perfectionist that I am haha
    I had fa right so that's good to know.
    Again, I appreciate it!

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