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  5. "えんぴつ"

"えんぴつ"

Translation:a pencil

June 6, 2017

109 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NattKullav1

I heard "eMpitsu", not "eNpitsu", is that correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SkandarSan

Whenever ん is before 'm', 'b', or 'p', it sounds like 'm'. If it comes before a 'k' or 'g' it's a bit more nasal, like a 'ng'. In the rest of the cases it's a regular 'n' sound. Other words you may have heard are がんばって and かんぱい which both follow the rule and make ん sound like 'm'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/meanders-us

This explains why senpai is so commonly misspelled as sempai.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zigerions

But tempura is spelled tempura


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/meanders-us

The problem arises from the fact that the sound being made does not truly exist in English. A person could spell it in roma-ji as tenpura and be correct. We just became used to spelling it as tempura in English and so that is what looks natural when reading the word.

It's the same with Chinese and English - trying to match the sound from a syllable/pictorial (syllabary) writing set to a character of an alphabet is going to cause... certain issues.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melina.Arins

Exactly. In the case of , the pronunciation is /ɴ/, which is a uvular nasal consonant (non-existing in English). It is distinct from the consonants /n/ (which is an alveolar nasal) and /m/ (which is a bilabial nasal), having its point of articulation quite far from theirs. Apparently, though, its pronunciation may be realized differently in some contexts, as described in an article on Wikipedia:
> Japanese phonology - Moraic nasal

For a little more info, see also the Wikipedia articles:  > Uvular nasal consonant ɴ
> International Phonetic Alphabet - IPA


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nicksahler

I believe it is the other way around. "tempura" was actually imported from Portuguese / Latin during trade - from "tempora". There's no vowel-less "m" in Japanese, so "n" pronounced as "m" had to suffice.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vortarulo

@NocturneDubois: Japanese doesn't have stress like English does. It has a pitch accent system. According to Wiktionary, it is pronounced /tèńpúrá/, which means that the te- is pronounced in a low tone, and -n.pu.ra in a higher tone.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chibineko45

Yeah. 天麩羅 is "tenpura", not "tempura". I guess it doesn't really matter how it's spelled since people generally understand it either way. Also, do you know how to stress the vowels in tenpura? I cannot figure it out on my own.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

Under the old system of Hepburn romanization, the ん was written as "m" when followed by b, m, and p, but in modified Hepburn this was changed to "n". That's why words like "tempura" which have been on menus for years sometimes maintain the old spelling.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/akoakini

Probably at the time it was introduced to the world, of course the outside world didnt know about the changing sound, when they heard tenpura, they wrote it in a way they knew that it would match how it sounded as it was said by the native people. and it just passed on from time to time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HakonSoreide

Sempai is not a misspelling, but a more correct way of writing it in the Latin alphabet, and indeed at least one system of writing Japanese writes the m's where it is pronounced.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zigerions

I actually hear her say enpitsu tho? Since it's a 'p' following, shouldn't it be pronounced empitsu?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chibineko45

Yes, it is pronounced empitsu. That's how she's pronouncing it, I think.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NellaLaBella

I hear the "n" and its spelled with an "n" in romaji in every Japanese lesson I've ever had in 7+ yrs so I'm not going to complicate life by introducibg placebos into the mix lol. ん is most commonly used to make "n" sounds anyway. The Japanese have no issue pronouncing "m" especially in the beginning of a word. Like in "ima" which means "now" we never confuse it for a Japanese person saying "ina" like the word "inai" which means "not in" or "not". Words that start with "en" are very clear. Like えんよ "enyo" which is another way to say "yeah."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lestari_NS

How about "w"? I heard "Konbanwa" always sounds like "Kombangwa"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SkandarSan

It’s because of the “n” in konban. ん is a nasal sound.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshHerber3

Well that's a relief, "enpitsu" is just way too complicated to pronounce.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/luckyS473114

But if i pronounce it as n with everything. Will it consider wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bi11ie

Yes, sometimes "n" is pronounced as "m" when a consonant follows. It just sounds better, flows more natturally, like, it's physically easier / more natural to say eMpitsu than it is to say eNpitsu


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melina.Arins

That does happen in many languages. In Japanese the character ん is normally pronounced /ɴ/, which is a uvular nasal consonant. It is distinct from the consonants /n/ (which is an alveolar nasal) and /m/ (which is a bilabial nasal), having its point of articulation quite far from theirs. Apparently, though, its pronunciation may be realized differently in some contexts, as described in an article on Wikipedia:
Japanese phonology - Moraic nasal


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cymno

How is it different from the "ng" sound?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sirrkitt

Nasal assimilation. It happens pretty frequently. The "n" noise, which is the nasal, gets modified by the proceding "p" sound. The basic difference (generally) between the "m" sound and the "n" sound is mouth shape and tongue placement, and since the "p" sound has the same mouth shape as "m", the "n" sound will assimilate into an "m" sound in many languages.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalt213

Similar to the "tempura" situation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ClassiDuo

Phonemically, it is n Allophonically, it is m


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FabianRive816549

Yes, the n near hi hiragana makes the hi into pi and the n to m this also shows up in other languages like arabic i think.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/plxviophiile

yes that's right!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Day400189

you are correct. your welcome


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Navyashree12

Wht you heard is correct..it is EMPITSU..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceAndWar208

鉛:lead (=なまり)

筆:brush(=ふで)

Seriously, try typing なまり and ふで in particular order in Google Translate (EN>JP) and see for yourself.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BiggRedEight

gotta love on'yomi readings. 鉛: lead (=えん) 筆: brush (りつ) then they make it easier to actually say by using ぴつ instead of りつ.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

You've got a typo, 筆 is ひつ (hitsu).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceAndWar208

You should use a Japanese IME of course


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TadhgODalaigh

With my pencil I'm going to draw an EMPTY ZOO.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TDJp4

That make it easier Thank you


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AniinhaNeiva

鉛筆 = enpitsu


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceAndWar208

鉛筆 = えんぴつ would be more correct in Japanese context


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aradhel

So it's common to use both this and the katakana version of pen/pencil in regular conversation? I feel like I've heard them both used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brian6499

I think you use katakana for pen and hiragana for pencil, usually


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aki-kun

Pencil is usually written in kanji as 鉛筆(えんぴつ). Pen is written in katakana as ペン.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dias.rr

Is "pencils" also correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FrostDirt

In a sense, yes


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Donppa

I wrote "pen" and was incorrect, but it showed "pencils" as the correct answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Agodererste

Made the same mistake. Pen is the general term and the thing with the ball tip. A pencil is the graphite one ,i think.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Equilibrio8

Yup. We call the graphite part of the pencil the lead, hence the kanji term in the above threads: lead brush (or lead writing tool). Maybe it used to be made from actual lead? A pen uses ink.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Horror_Sans

A way to remember it: it just sounds like "en (a) pencil"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mirismiri

Why 'a pencil' is not accepted as translation for this word? Is there a difference if I use the englosh word with or wothout 'a' ??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nimajita

Japanese does not, in fact, have articles like this. "a pencil" might refer to "one pencil", and counting things is hard in Japanese - maybe it's not accepted due to this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceAndWar208

So according to my research, this literally means lead(鉛)+ brush(筆). So a brush made (partially) of lead. Thought it might help with memorization.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceAndWar208

Oh and btw

鉛:えん/なまり 筆:(ひ/ぴ)つ/ふで

The second ones are the native Japanese words i.e. how they are read when alone


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/deveshkuma745312

Why does they used 'e' sound instead of 'pe' in pencil... Am I on right planet?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

The fact that えんぴつ (enpitsu) and "pencil" sound similar is just a coincidence. えんぴつ isn't a transliteration of the word "pencil"; it's actually what is called a calque, or a word-for-word translation. When you write えんぴつ in kanji, it becomes 鉛筆. 鉛 means "lead" and 筆 means "writing brush", making 鉛筆 a word-for-word translation of the English "lead pencil".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/royalt213

So, I would write this as "enpitsu"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aki-kun

Technically both "empitsu" and "enpitsu" should be right as romanizations of the word, depending on which rules you follow. However, I haven't really seen someone transliterate it as "empitsu". For learning purposes both have their merits and demerits. "Empitsu" is closer to the pronounciation, while "enpitsu" is more like how it's written in hiragana. Then again, in my opinion, you shouldn't rely on romaji too much when learning Japanese since it's counter-productive for learning to write/read (in) kana and kanji.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chibineko45

Although it's pronounced like it has an m, I think that it's supposed to be written with an n.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tribbletron

Accept my pencil emoji. :P


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/starfally

I put in "pencil" and it said I had a typo and it should be "pencils". If it doesn't have a counter, it could be either, correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cobitome

I forgot if this was a cognate or not


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Grey_3

More of a false cognate, I'd say.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bi11ie

I have no idea what you guys are talking about


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelRGB

Cognates are words that stem from the same root word, so they sound similar and may have the same meanings because they evolved from one word. False cognates are words that coincidentally sound similar, but actually mean different things. They are also called "false friends" since they might make you believe that they have the same meaning since they sound alike, yet can mean completely different things.

Hope thats helps!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cristina174248

Exactly! Like the word "pantsu" SEEMS to mean "pants", when it actually means panties! This, like many other false cognates, can cause super embarrassing situations!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelRGB

Yikes, thanks for the heads up.

Can you imagine a guy traveling abroad in Japan trying to ask hotel staff or a sales clerk for some "pantsu," only to get some strange looks or a slap in the face? >.>


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

パンツ (pantsu) actually can mean pants/trousers in modern usage.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

Funnily enough though those two words actually are related! The word パンツ (pantsu) derives from the English word pants, it just comes from the British meaning and not the American one.

The word for the American meaning of pants, ズボン (zubon), also comes from the French word jupon, meaning "underskirt".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SLY.Fet

My visit to the comments section was worth it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachyonashley123

This is a funny example since i guess it's only a false friend in certain dialects of English? In British English 'pants' means underpants (not necessarily women's) so that would make it closer to the most common meaning in Japanese.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Falcon198016

It means, undergarments (so also underwear)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vortarulo

Correction. A false cognate is a word that sounds similar to another word and also has a similar meaning but is not etymologically related. For example, Japanese arigatou and Portuguese obrigado* sound similar enough and also mean the same, but they're not related to each other. They're false cognates.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tachyonashley123

What Cristina is describing is usually called a false friend, hence the mix-up.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HighProof

Did i miss why the "t" sound is added? If i were to spell phoenetically i would have written "e n pi u". Is the "t" added as a liason? If so whats the rule?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/0Nightshade

I think you might be confusing う (u) with つ (tsu). This is えんぴつ so it's read enpitsu/empitsu.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PastelLeam

Idk about you guys, but to me, it sounds just like "pencil" sort of, so I just remember all words that sound like what they mean that way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mistapic9

Not related but why does the audio sometimes doesn't work


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LaValeSoy

Is it enpitu or enpitsu?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

With Kunrei-shiki Romaji, which is used in Japan, つ is written as "tu". With Hepburn Romaji, which is used by English-speakers, つ is written as "tsu". The pronunciation is closer to "tsu".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrea203979

鉛筆

えんぴつ

Kanjis are so pretty


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SarahKunz4

if I translate it as "pencil" instead of "a pencil" I get it wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brian362385

It's telling me there is a typo for not saying "a pencil" and just saying "pencil." Very crazy.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Silvermoon285272

i also empitsu, i thought that was correct


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DinosaurRRRRGRRR

Why do i hear tempo- ..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VideoGamin6

Isn't enpitsu a mechanical pencil?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nxL3
  • 1186

シャープペンシル (sharp pencil / syah-pu-pe-n-shi-ru) or シャーペン(syah-pe-n) is for a mechanical pencil. "sharp" is the maker that produced mechanical pencils at first time in Japan.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/I_Not_Fox

I typed pencil, it said i was wrong and said the answer was pencil.
(ノ¬0¬)ノ


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xxMizmiFloofxx

You might have accidentally input a typo without realising?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/QuentinHea

鉛筆 kanji


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/low_class_insult

The "ぴつ" part of it kinda sounds like pincil


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/weshuiz13

it kinda sounds like inktsu as a ink filled pen that's how i remember


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xXxCorgiCw

So what does ° over a symbol mean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

It turns the "h" sound to a "p" sound.

は - ha

ば - ba

ぱ - pa

So in this case ひ (hi) becomes ぴ (pi).

It's explained in the Tips and Notes for Hiragana 4.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ieey_

I remeber it like this, 'enpitsu' = 'a pencil'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmicusVoiceOvers

enpitsu -> en pitsu -> an pintsu -> a pintsul -> a pencul -> a pencil


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZartashtAh1

i can remember words just cant remember what alphabhet is for what sound


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Timelives5

I heard "A pencil " japnese way


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StellaFairy

I can not understand the pronunciation for I didn't memorize hiragana yet, can you help me?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Izyyyy

Honestly, the best thing would just be to work on memorising hiragana. By going back and practising the previous levels and by practising writing them, you could memorise them within a week and it would make it much easier to learn new words


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/misona70

Regardless of the pronunciation, I imagine one walking with a pencil in each armpit...empits-armpits...to remember this word!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/3K4ylie

ぴぽぴぽぴぽぴ :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Culbe2matt_YT

Why is pen not seen a pencil


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xxMizmiFloofxx

Pens have ink and pencils have lead or graphite. The word for pen is ペン and as seen above the word for pencil is えんぴつ (or 鉛筆 if you want to use the kanji)

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